Policy, with personality
Someone asked me recently WHY I make a point to share my company policies and WHY my company policy statement has so much “personality.”
I sense that a lot of us are accustomed to dry, corporate-sounding company policy statements, void of any personality, creativity, or expression beyond the basics. That’s generally considered ‘professional.’
I could simply state “payment before services” and let that be it, but that’s not how I do it.
So, why DO I share my policies? And why are they the way they ARE?
In case you too are curious, here are my reasons:
First and foremost, making the decision to hire me and bring my coaching support into your life is an empowering step, in what will be a series of empowering steps and decisions made throughout our work together.
For this reason, sharing my company policies is integral to your process, and mine. When booking a free Assessment Call to explore the possibility of us working together, you’ll be asked to acknowledge having read and understood my company policies in advance of scheduling your call.
This is to honor both of our time, and to prevent any misunderstandings later.
Private coaching is a relationship and like any good relationship, open and honest communication is key. Sharing my company policies is just one way that I show up for the relationship – transparent about how I work, what I believe, value, prioritize, and expect.
Of course, such policies also support the sustainability of my business.
Some coaches accommodate and come up with payment plans in an effort to make things easier for a client, and that’s great. I respect that completely, and I used to do that too, offering a variety of custom payment plans for clients.
That said, here’s my retrospective reframe on having done that: As I see it now, what I did then was not just coach my clients, I also financed my client’s decision to hire me.
There are two really important reasons I don’t do it that way anymore:
(1) When I finance your decision, it creates a level of relational enmeshment that I don’t think supports either one of us very well. When I am not only your coach, but in essence, also your banker, it blurs the lines and the focus of our connection. I want you to be able to come to our coaching, fully focused on our work together. I want you to be able to choose this engagement and investment, independent of me. The last thing I want is for us to be in our coaching sessions, and for you to be worrying about how you’re going to make your next payment to me. I want you to feel totally safe to relax, show up, focus only on what will make the biggest difference for you, and simply enjoy the process of coaching.
(2) It was an administrative burden. Sometimes payment plan agreements went smoothly. Most did. But sometimes, they didn’t. When people didn’t pay on time, per our contract, late fees were applied. This, along with resetting their account in order for the overdue payment to process required manual updates and screen-time each time a scheduled payment didn’t go through, as well as several back and forth emails to ensure clear communication.
As a small business owner, it is difficult to budget outgoing expenses and investments when you’re not sure if or when you’ll receive client payments due.
In a few instances, I ended up sending unpaid accounts to a collection agency. This involved paperwork and several phone calls with the agency representative. And even in the event that payment was successfully collected, a large portion of that money went to the collection agency’s commission. A well-meaning business advisor told me that collections was “just part of having a business.” I defy that! It was a hassle and a loss in many ways, costing me and my team time, money, and energy. The administrative management details were draining, and that was further compounded by the emotional toll of there being a breach in a client relationship.
Ultimately, I came to realize that I was doing the very thing I coach people NOT to do. Accommodating others at your own expense is unsustainable.
So I stopped.
And I updated my company policies accordingly.
My company, my style, my rules.
As far as I’m concerned, there is no rule that states that your company policies can’t have personality. In fact, that’s what I call a brule.
Especially for a personal brand, personality in communications is important!
At Tara Sage Inc, I am the “person” in the personal, in the brand. 😉 And the work I do with clients is obviously personal. I learn my client’s personal psychology as I coach them. As I get to know you, you also get to know me. That’s how relationships work.
This begins immediately, with everything that I share, be it my website, newsletters, blog, or social media – personality and all.
My company policies are no exception. Wanna read my full policy statement? Click here.