When it comes to obtaining their desired transformation, prospective clients are looking for the best value for their investment. The good news is that clients are willing to pay for results, even on high-ticket coaching offers. So how can you demonstrate to a potential client that your coaching is worth the money and time? One way is through a free coaching discovery call. 

Discovery calls can be a great first opportunity to reassure clients that you’re the right person to help them. But these introductory calls can also be nerve-wracking. Even seasoned coaches can find themselves second-guessing their approach:

  • What should be the tone of the conversation? 
  • Which questions hit the mark? 
  • How do I strike a balance between being a great listener and being a proactive guide? 
  • How salesy should I be? 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to conduct a free coaching discovery call that provides a new prospect with the most value. To write your own discovery call script, download the printable worksheet below. It’s part of Coach Factory’s growing library of coaching resources. Access is totally free by way of your free VIP membership

What Is the Discovery Phase in Coaching?

A discovery call is an introductory conversation and often the first formal interaction between a coach and a prospective client. It serves as an exploratory session that allows both parties to understand one another, assess needs, and determine compatibility. 

Coaches usually don’t charge the client for a discovery call. Much like the free samples by the refrigerator cases at Costco, a discovery call is a no-cost, no-strings-attached taste of the delicious services you have to offer.

At its core, discovery calls achieve several key objectives. For the coach, it offers insights into the prospective client’s challenges, goals, and expectations. This knowledge allows the coach to gauge whether they can effectively assist the client in their journey and helps in tailoring the coaching approach to suit the client’s needs. The call gives the potential client a glimpse into the coach’s methodology, values, and personality, empowering them to make an informed decision.

Coaching Discovery Call Questions

A successful discovery call relies on a blend of structure, genuine human connection, and intuitive questioning. So striking the right balance between information sharing and active listening is essential. Guide your dialogue to achieve three goals: gather history, determine client needs, and seek alignment.

1. History: Have you worked with a coach before? If so, was that experience?

After the introductions, it’s best to start getting to know your client. Understanding a client’s history can offer invaluable context. This question helps a coach gain insight into a client’s past interactions, expectations, and any reservations they might have.

2. Client Needs: What challenges are you currently facing, and why is it so important for you to overcome them?

As you get to know your client, transition into understanding why they need a coach and their motivation for seeking help. This broad question invites the client to share more, which welcomes deeper discussions about their struggles, aspirations, and passions.

3. Alignment: What are your expectations of a coach?

Asking this question helps you determine whether you can support a potential client. It allows you to gauge whether your services, methods, and philosophy align with their expectations. If you decide you’re not the best fit, come prepared with referrals or additional resources to offer the prospective client so the call still provides value. 

a coach reads his customized script on a coaching discovery call

How to Deliver a Successful Discovery Call

In a discovery call, you’re not just introducing your services but starting to build a foundation of trust and mutual alignment which you will further build upon during an intake session and subsequent coaching calls. 

While the ultimate goal of a discovery call is to bring in new clients, your focus is showing the prospective client that you’re authentic, well-prepared, and competent. 

Here are a few tips for ensuring you have a seamless and impactful discovery call. 

1. Choose a platform you’re comfortable with

The medium you choose for communication can be just as impactful as the message itself. With so many platforms available — from video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Meet to good old-fashioned phone calls — it’s essential to opt for a method that’s not just popular, but also one you’re comfortable with. Familiarity ensures you can navigate any unexpected issues smoothly so you can keep the focus on the conversation rather than technical difficulties. Remember, with discovery calls, a flawless tech experience can be the silent key to making a lasting impression.

2. Create a professional space

The environment where you conduct your call speaks volumes. Your backdrop — a quiet room with an organized setting — serves as wordless proof of your mental clarity and professionalism. A cluttered or noisy environment can be distracting and may inadvertently convey confusion or lack of preparation.

Beyond the optics, a distraction-free zone ensures you can give your potential clients the undivided attention they deserve. Every detail, from the lighting to the absence of background noise, makes the person on the other end feel valued and respected.

3. Do your homework

Knowledge isn’t just power; it’s a testament to your dedication. Before diving into a discovery call, taking the time to research your potential client can make a significant difference. 

Whether glancing at their social media profiles, scanning their website, or reviewing any pre-session questionnaire, this effort equips you with context. With this insight, your questions are more personalized, your responses are more attuned to their needs, and your overall approach is more empathetic. Coming to the discovery call with some background information communicates to the client that they are a person you’re genuinely interested in. 

4. Set a clear agenda 

It’s important to set the stage before diving deep into the client’s needs. Laying out a clear agenda shows you’ve thoughtfully planned the session. This choice highlights your professionalism and consideration for the client’s time. Set expectations by providing a brief overview of the topics you aim to cover. This clarity alleviates potential apprehensions and allows the client to engage fully. 

5. Make introductions

Starting a discovery call with a brief introduction is like extending a welcoming hand. Sharing a glimpse of your journey, background, and coaching philosophy bridges the virtual gap to make the interaction more personal. It’s not just about credentials but about giving a reassuring sense of who you are and how you can guide them. 

This transparency paves the way for trust, as clients get a clearer picture of the person behind the coach and the unique methodology they bring to the table. It’s the first step in encouraging a meaningful connection and setting the tone for a collaborative relationship.

6. Explain your services and coaching structure

Do outline what you can provide this potential client. Explain the differences between your services, what each service includes, and any special conditions that may be relevant to the client’s choice (like minimum duration or maximum frequency). Don’t be embarrassed to mention prices or outline terms of payment. If you feel especially awkward discussing money, you can always create a price sheet to share during the call instead of verbally saying it. 

State all of this information in a matter-of-fact tone that implies the potential of working together without asking the potential client to make any immediate commitments.

a smiling coach takes notes during a discover call with a potential client

7. Provide value

Although this is a free call for your client, don’t be afraid to provide real value during the discovery call. That is, share an insightful tip, briefly explain a method that has worked for many past clients, or give away a useful handout. Being generous with a not-yet client demonstrates your genuine motivation to help people and confirms that you have the tools and experience to help the client reach their goals. If you’re too stingy with details because you want the client to first book a paying session, the client may feel the relationship is too transactional and look elsewhere for a coach.

8. Keep the pressure off 

The coaching discovery call must focus on understanding and connection rather than making a sale. By emphasizing a no-pressure environment, you empower the client to reflect, decide, and approach the potential partnership at their own pace. Be sure to end the call by proposing clear next steps, whether a follow-up email or another session, and thanking the prospective client.

9. Be respectful of a potential client’s time

Remember that this introductory call isn’t an exhaustive session, so your discovery call should be 25-35 minutes long. Begin on time, stick to the outlined agenda, and ensure discussions remain focused and relevant. A brief yet productive conversation shows clients you value their time just as much as they should value yours.

Coaching Discovery Call Script and Template: Free Worksheet

All Coach Factory VIP members get free access to a coaching discovery call worksheet that guides you through the process of writing your own personalized script that you can use as a template for these calls. 

The coaching discovery call isn’t just about selling a service although that’s your hoped for outcome! Instead, it’s the first step in building bridges of understanding, trust, and mutual alignment. Each aspect of the call, from choosing the right platform to asking insightful questions, plays a crucial role in creating a solid first impression.

Not every discovery call will result in booking a new client. And that’s okay! In fact, it’s excellent because that’s another goal of the discovery call — to help clients (and you) avoid a bad coaching fit.

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Written by The Coach Factory Team

We're a team of coaching enthusiasts who hire and work with coaches. Members of our team run businesses in the coaching industry or provide services that support coaches, and several of us are coaches ourselves.

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