Crafting your transformative program (Pillar 4)


We’re in the home stretch now. Once you’ve partnered with the soul of your business, connected with the heart of your people, and created the body of your work, now and only now is it time to craft your truly transformative program. This is the fourth and final pillar in the essential foundation your business needs to thrive. You need to have something clear and compelling to offer your people!

Seriously, don’t skip over any of the first three essential pillars and try to design a program out of thin air and a bit of imagination – unless you have a lot of spare time and money to throw willy-nilly at various marketing efforts.

What can happen with that approach is you can pour a ton of your energy into designing a program that’s primarily what you want to offer, crafted from your perspective and not from the perspective of your ideal clients.

And then you go looking for someone who hopefully wants to do your program just as you’ve already created it – instead of designing a deeply transformative program that resides in the sweet spot where what you have to offer lines up with what your people want, need, and are willing to pay for.

money-basket.jpgOr the perfectionist in you can spend forever trying to fine-tune your program and never actually get it out there in the hands and hearts of the people who desperately need your help. Either way, this approach is a sure-fire recipe for tossing money in the trash while exhausting you in the process.

Instead, once you’ve taken the invisible magic you make happen and structured it into your body of work, it’s very easy to pour it into all kinds of different products and programs to serve the people in your niche at a variety of levels, degrees of access to you, and price points.

(If you’re just getting started with a first program, it’s usually best to create a program you can deliver one-on-one, simply because it’s the easiest way to begin – it’s easier to create, enroll, deliver, and refine in action. Later, if you want to work with groups, you can confidently adapt your tested private program to a group context.)

Yet the program design process involves more than just grabbing a bit of this and that from your fleshed-out body of work and hoping it flies as a program. It also involves more than merely saying you’ll offer one content call, one coaching call, and then something else each month and thinking that makes a program.

hands-sun.jpgThis is an approach to program design I see a lot and it drive me nuts. It’s an important part of designing a program, although it’s totally insufficient by itself, since all it does is convey the details of how you’ll parse out and deliver your program.

It says absolutely nothing about what the program will actually include, nor how it will synergistically flow together to optimize transformation. And this is what most entrepreneurs find rather stymieing. Why? Because creating a truly transformative program that facilitates deep, wide, and enduring change is something of an art.

Just because you have great expertise and awesome coaching skills doesn’t mean you know how to design fabulous programs. Program design is an art that’s based on some solid foundational principles. Fortunately, it can be learned.

I personally spent seven years learning this art as part of a Ph.D. program in Transformative Learning and Change, way before transformation was a word used to describe relatively simple and straightforward change. So I know there are some underlying principles worth being aware of when it comes to designing transformative curriculum. (Just to be clear, you can surely learn it and become skillful in waaay less than 7 years!)

I’ve been teaching these principles to my clients and have been hearing comments like “This is REALLY incredibly valuable”. “What a fabulous context for designing a program”. And “I’ve never encountered any of this before, no wonder I’ve struggled creating my programs”.

And just to be clear, knowing these underlying principles is essential whether you’re creating your first program or adding new programs to an already existing suites of offers. It’s also essential whether you want to design a structured, curriculum-based program or you prefer to craft a more customized program that draws on your expertise and is tailored to the unique needs of different clients.

… and taste what’s possible for YOU with a well-crafted, deeply transformative program that’s an easy way for your people to start (or continue) working with you.

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