Working with practice clients when starting out

Right away after we finish our pre-course and  start our official classes, I encourage my students to line up some practice clients/athletes.  Lately, I have been asking my email followers if they would like to work with one of my students on a pro bono (free) basis for practice for the student as part of my training program.  I ask for and send pro bono clients to my students as a win-win for everyone and I don’t benefit from it personally. Just putting people together who might not otherwise get help.

Unfortunately, pro bono clients are sometimes the most difficult clients you will ever work with. Not all, but some, and new practitioners need to be aware of this to protect their confidence which is all important when beginning to work with people.

Here’s the deal… new practitioners are scared to death to work with people in the beginning of their practice. I used to be like that too when I started so I know how that feels.
In my training I try to do everything I can for my students to get them over the hump of going from training to actually working with people. It’s a huge canyon we have to cross and I have to build up and protect their confidence all along the way.  In the video below, that’s my intention.

In doing this for a long time, what OFTEN happens is that pro bono clients don’t show up for their appointments, don’t answer their emails, resist the work thinking they know it all, and generally do not get the same results because they don’t value the work as much as paying clients and therefore, they are less likely to get their outcomes.  They don’t make any significant changes and they certainly don’t come out of your work together praising you. The practice client announces this “didn’t work for him/her.”

This type of thing highly discourages my students and makes them think that they aren’t good enough to do the work and it destroys their confidence.

Maybe it seems like I’m over the top about it in the video below but I have to take a strong stance when teaching my students here how to protect their confidence.

In my training, I inoculate my students from this destruction of confidence by helping them set up THEIR outcome from working with practice clients and to EXPECT that a practice client may not be a good client.

The exception to this is kid practice clients. They don’t pay for their sessions anyway and so they are often a very good practice client if that is your market.

Bottom line…people don’t value what they don’t pay for.  You actually get better results from clients who pay than those who don’t. So, if you are new to this work and worried about doing good work for your adult clients, make sure they PAY you something or adjust your expectations.

Do your absolute very best for your pro bono client, for sure. I am not saying anything here to the contrary.

Here’s a clip of me teaching in a class this concept and what to get out of practice clients including a powerful way to get integration or at least get clients to take responsibility for their change.