How to Create a Smooth and Delightful Client Onboarding Process  

Client onboarding process
June 19, 2023
Table of Contents

Allow us to quote the proverb ‘well begun is half done’. 

Having a sound and seamless client onboarding process sets both you – the coach – as well as the client up for success throughout the coaching journey. 

If you’re new to coaching, let’s start with the basics: 

What is client onboarding all about? 

Simply put, client onboarding is the way to induct or introduce new clients to a coaching business. The process of onboarding new clients covers important areas of the relationship ahead, like discussing client problems and deciding on how to solve them. A great onboarding experience drives client loyalty, retention and satisfaction. Some of the steps in the coaching onboarding process are an ice-breaker session, sharing a welcome kit, setting milestones, deciding financials, planning for sessions, and so on.  

Let’s talk about what some of the steps that a client onboarding process entail: 

1. Arrange a discovery call 

This one-on-one conversation with your prospective client is the first step towards converting them into paying clients. It’s an ice-breaking session that helps you learn what exactly your prospective client is looking for and if it’s a match with what you have to offer. 

To understand what your prospects want, what their challenges are, etc. and to showcase your offerings, it’s important to ask them a few basic yet crucial questions: 

  • How did they come to know about you? 
  • What do they want to achieve? 
  • What are the roadblocks they are facing? 

Your discovery call should also clarify the details of your coaching program such as duration, fees, etc. 

2. Follow up with an email or a call 

If your discovery call ends on a positive note, you must follow that up with an email or a call, usually within 24 hours from the discovery call. This nudge helps you stay on top of your client’s mind at the decision-making stage and also helps you learn whether your prospective client and you are on the same page. 

A follow-up email in the client onboarding process should include a thank you note for sparing time for the discovery call. Use this opportunity to express that you are looking forward to working with him/ her as a client. Also, give them all the contract and payment details in case they would like to hire you as a coach. 

The idea is that after the follow-up email, the prospect will want to move forward with you as a coach and will be ready to sign a coaching contract. 

With coaching management software like Simply.Coach, you can manage the entire contracting process within the platform— even the follow-up email comes with readily available templates for this purpose. Plus, you can create contract templates, customize the existing ones, and share it when required. It also allows both the client and the coach to digitally sign the contract during the coaching onboarding stage. 

3. Send a welcome email 

Once you are through with the contract and your prospects make the initial payment, they are officially your clients. The first thing that you should immediately do is shoot out a welcome email. Extending a warm welcome to them and making them feel at home is key in any client onboarding process. Simply.Coach offers integration with MailChimp. Hence, you can save your time by using the client onboarding email template offered. A brief welcome kit along with the mail also does wonders – it may include the contract signed by both the parties, outlines for the sessions for the first month, contact details, social media pages, your coaching values and mission, new client checklist, etc. 

With Simply.Coach’s journey feature, you can share a welcome kit with your client. It consists of a welcome message, add resource option, and your showcase page for your client’s reference. 

In this digital world, coaching management platforms are a coach’s best ally. 

Read our blog post to know why you should invest in coaching management software! 

4. Clarify your billing/ payment preferences 

Communicating your payment preference at the time of coaching onboarding helps avoid future confusion regarding payments. Choose the billing model that you think is most suitable. You can choose to get paid for the entire program before the first session starts. That reduces the number of no-shows or cancelled sessions and ensures that you get paid for the program. You may also let your client pay you after every session. Although this model may be a hit with most clients, you may run the risk of not getting your fee on time. 

Alternatively, you may opt for a billing model that’s somewhere in between—your clients may pay you for a fixed number of sessions at a time (say 4, 6, or 8) instead of paying for the entire program or after every session. This way you can ensure seamless payment without having to burn a hole in your client’s pocket. 

Once you zero in on a payment model, it’s best to communicate your preference to your clients before the sessions start. This helps offer the client a clear picture of the billing procedure right at the beginning of the client onboarding process. Also, now is the right time to share your cancellation and refund policies. This helps create and portray a good culture of billing hygiene among your clients and they, in turn, will trust you with their money. 

Pro tip: It’s a coaching best practice to offer the first session for free. This assures your clients that your primary aim is to help them, and that you aren’t simply hankering for money. 

5. Coaching sessions intimation 

Once both the parties agree upon a particular billing cycle, you need to zero in on the dates and the time of the sessions. After carefully discussing your coaching schedule and sessions with your client, book your calendar with the sessions and share them with the client so that those dates and times are blocked for your interaction. Calendar scheduling also allows for your client to reschedule or cancel or accept an invitation. Planning sessions makes for an organized, systematic and disciplined way to coach clients and also for your clients to get the best out of the engagement. 

Client management platforms such as Simply.Coach allow you to automate session scheduling. The platform integrates your calendar and video conferencing accounts. Hence, your clients can book sessions on their own based on your shown availability with automatic time zone conversion. In fact, your prospective clients can even book the discovery session all by themselves. 

6. Create a journey and share the required information with the client beforehand 

With experience, most coaches have a typical coaching journey they follow for clients, while customizing the nitty gritty based on the client’s requirements. With coaching management software, you can create a digitized framework of your typical coaching journey and then replicate it across clients, thus saving you time. This allows you to run the session outline by your clients, discuss the agenda for each session, highlight important dates and sessions and set nudges if required, and talk about a potential progress chart and expected milestones during the coaching onboarding process. Of course, each journey must be customized to each client’s needs, though the framework may stay the same. 

With Simply.Coach’s Journey feature, your clients get clarity and understanding of the steps and actions they are expected to take in their journey towards the goal. 

Onboarding new clients isn’t a cakewalk. However, with the advent of comprehensive coaching management platforms like Simply.Coach, the client onboarding process has refined itself.  

As you automate the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes tasks in the client induction process — right from arranging the discovery calls to creating and sharing contracts, scheduling sessions, building effective client journeys, setting action nudges, and more — you offer clients an enhanced, smooth and delightful coaching onboarding experience, which sets the tone for the rest of the coaching program. 

Sources: Expertbox, Coachmetrix, Selfleadershipglobal 


1. How do I onboard a new coaching client? 

You can onboard a new coaching client with the help of a few simple steps, beginning with an impactful discovery call, followed by a follow-up email. Once your prospect signs up for your services, both the parties should share all the necessary information like client expectation, goals, journey, milestones, actions and homework to be done, etc. Establish a consistent communication with your client and help create a smooth onboarding experience. 

2. What is the onboarding process for coaching? 

Client onboarding is the way to introduce new clients to a coaching business. The steps involved in coaching client onboarding are: 

  • Arrange a discovery call 
  • Follow-up email 
  • Offer a welcome kit 
  • Share billing information 
  • Coaching session intimation 
  • Share the journey and the necessary content resources with your client 

About Simply.Coach

Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.  

About the author
Content Specialist  @Simply.Coach

Jayashree Mukherjee is a content specialist by day and a content junkie (on OTT) by night. Passionate about traveling, street food and overturning the underuse of em dashes — she would have been a globe-trotter if she hadn’t been so lazy.

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