You are 20 minutes into a free chat with a prospective new client and things are going well. She’s stuck with something – a chronic physical issue, struggling to grow her business, or a stubborn parenting pattern – that you work with as a spiritual entrepreneur.

Her heart has opened and she’s trusting you with the details of what’s really going on. You feel a nice connection growing and get the sense that she’s courageous, willing and committed.  The kind of client that you enjoy most.  The conversation shifts to the details of your spiritual business – like pricing, scheduling, etc.

And then she asks one of the most charged questions in the helping world: “How many sessions will it take?”

A Surprising Kind of Inauthenticity

Several years ago, I heard Bill Baren share the observation that many healing professionals aren’t honest with our prospective clients about how long change takes.  This conversation really got my attention.  At the time, I offered 3 coaching options in my business – all individual sessions.  The longest was a 10 session package that usually took place over 5 months.   Yet, my honest answer was it would take most spiritual entrepreneurs 18-24 months to grow their business to their desired levels.

So my clients would make great progress towards their goals.  But at the end of what they signed up for, they often weren’t at their goals.  Because I hadn’t fully educated them about the change process.  All due to my fear about their reactions.  Not exactly living my integrity … 🙁

I saw myself in that mirror Bill was holding up.  (Thank you Bill!)

An Exercise to Access Your Deep Wisdom

Over the past few years, I’ve explored this dynamic deeply – first for myself and then with many clients.  I’ve used EFT and Business Energetics to clear my fears about being more authentic about the number of sessions change will take.  As a result, I’m able to be more helpful to my clients.

Over this time, I developed this simple yet powerful exercise:

  1. Give yourself the gift of a few mindful breaths.  This allows you to relax and get centered.
  2. Create your Wisdom Council.  Think of 5 people who know you and your business well.  If you’ve been in business awhile, I’d suggest an all star panel of your favorite clients.  When your new, you might consider adding a few mentors and trusted colleagues.
  3. Observe your current practices.  In your mind’s eye, imagine you are watching a video with your Wisdom Council.  This video is you speaking with a prospective client. Notice the behaviors and explore the emotions that come up for you when the conversation turns to “how many sessions?”.
  4. Share honestly with your Council.  Talk to your Council about what you really believe it takes for your ideal client to get the results she is looking for.  Remember, they know you well – they feel when you’re not speaking from your deepest truth.
  5. Weave your authenticity into your business.  Now that you’ve been straight with your Council about the journey, play with aligned ways to talk about it in your business.  For instance, I found that it was likely an 18-24 month journey for my ideal client to the business she wanted.  So I now share that timeframe and also tell her that at each step of the way she’ll enjoy more money, ease and FUN.  🙂

Increasing my ability to stay aligned around “How many sessions will it take?” has had a hugely positive impact in my business.  My average client has gone from working in my business from 4-6 months to 18-24 months.  And she’s much, much happier about her results.

What’s been your experience with this question?  Do you have a tip or suggestion about how to handle “How many sessions will it take?”  I’d love to hear what’s worked for you (or where you get stuck) in the form of a comment below!