3 Signs You Fell for the “Underpromise and Overdeliver” Myth in Your Coaching Business

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Highlights: Did you fall for the common business myth of underpromising and overdelivering? Here are three warning signs and what you can do instead.
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Marketing and sales gurus, established coaches, and other business experts chant the same mantra:

Overdeliver, overdeliver, overdeliver.

You need to exceed expectations—to overdeliver—when you work with your clients.

But for Ajit Nawalkha, the co-founder of Mindvalley Coach, he’s not one to accept advice just because it’s common or popular.

It’s good to evaluate and analyze everything you hear and read based on your personal experiences and observations. This way, you don’t get caught up in short-lived trends or ideas that may harm more than help your business.

Instead of wondering how to underpromise and overdeliver, take the cost of it into account first.

Based on Ajit’s own experiences working with countless coaches over hundreds of hours, here’s what he advises…

What Does “Underpromise and Overdeliver” Mean?

The phrase “underpromise and overdeliver” basically means promising someone less but delivering more. It’s the idea of setting modest expectations and then pleasantly surprising others by going above and beyond what you initially committed to.

It’s akin to saying, “I’ll do my best,” and then surpassing expectations by aiming for exceptional results.

Overdelivering is great—but only up to a point.

If you don’t do it right, you could end up creating massive problems that could destroy your entire coaching practice. 

Here are three signs that tell you you’re overdoing over-delivery—and what you should do instead.

3 Signs The “Underpromise and Overdeliver” Mantra Is Damaging Your Coaching Business

Sign 1: Time boundaries mean nothing to you

Your coaching sessions are powerful and results-driven. You don’t end a coaching session until you’ve answered every question that your clients ask.

Even if it means going over the session time by 15, 20, 60 minutes, or more.

Do you recognize yourself here? If you said yes, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and reevaluate what’s really going on.

So what are the risks of underpromising and overdelivering here?

When you allow a coaching session to go way beyond the designated time, you’re showing your client that you have no boundaries.

Healthy boundaries are crucial if you want to build a successful, sustainable coaching practice. Over-stretching yourself because of weak boundaries will cause you to feel overworked, overwhelmed, and under-appreciated.

You’re likely to feel deep resentment toward your clients, and you might even end up believing that coaching is not for you. Avoid this by protecting your boundaries as a coach from the start.

If you don’t know who is the person that you want to work with, you’ll end up with a lot of clients who may be able to give you the fees, but will not give you the joy of coaching with them. — @ajitna Share on X

Highlight what you will and will not do (no client calls after hours or on weekends, for example) in your client contract and when you first speak to your clients on a discovery call. 

Doing this will create clarity and help you to uphold boundaries if your client steps over the line.

Sign 2: You deliver amazing results but your prices are ridiculously low

Some coaches figure that if they overdeliver by charging less for top-notch services, clients will be impressed and keep coming back for more sessions. They hope that more clients will be attracted to their low price point, and this will create business success.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Success is not measured by the quantity of clients that you work with but by the quality of the work you do.

If you’re spending just about every waking hour working with clients to make ends meet, then you’re headed straight toward “Burnout City.” If you’re exhausted all the time, you will not be able to help your clients achieve the results they’re looking for, which will damage your reputation as a coach.

When you charge a ridiculously low price, you are also demonstrating to your clients that you don’t value your own services, and this means they’re likely to do the same. 

When you undercharge, your clients will take you for granted, will be less inclined to work with the strategies, tips, and tools that you share with them, and may even be happy to skip sessions with no prior notice.

This is not the kind of coaching practice that you want, and it’s certainly not the message that you want to give your clients. 

Evaluate your price points with care. Do a little background research on your competitors, and make sure you are pricing competitively and in line with the true value of your services.

A coach frustrated with his business results

Sign 3: You consistently do your clients’ work for them

Imagine this scenario…

A business coach comes up with a list of strategies that his client needs to implement to move forward in their business.

One of these strategies is to come up with a list of ideas around creating products or programs that the client can sell to create a great passive income stream.

The coach tells the client to create this list so they can discuss it during a follow-up coaching session.

The client fails to do this. So the coach comes up with ideas for the client during the follow-up in an attempt to “overdeliver.”

In this all too common scenario, the coach does the client’s work, and the client ends up with a great list of program ideas without having to do any of the creative thinking or research.

Does this feel familiar?

If you do the work for your clients, it doesn’t mean you go the extra mile. It means that you’re teaching them to depend on you.

You’re demonstrating that they don’t have the capability or the creativity to do what it takes to create success in their own lives. And without even meaning to, you’ll end up disempowering your clients.

No matter how tempting it is, never do the work for your clients in the name of “overdelivering.” Instead, hold your clients accountable for the work they must do so they can create the results that they want in their lives.

Impress Your Clients Without Overstretching Yourself

If your goal is to overdeliver and exceed your clients’ expectations, pick just one thing and be very specific. For instance, if you’re a business coach, share five marketing strategies instead of three, or offer a surprise bonus along with your programs or packages.

When it’s not done right, overdelivering can sink you into the depths of burnout and put your entire business in jeopardy. 

When it’s done right, overdelivering will create a mind-blowing reputation that will skyrocket your coaching practice.

Choose wisely.

Join our free Masterclass Become a Mindvalley Certified Business Coach and discover how you can create future-proof wealth, freedom, and expansion in your business with high-paying coaching clients.

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Annamaria Nagy

Annamaria Nagy

Annamaria is a freelance writer for Health + Wellness and Transformational Education brands. Formerly, she was the writers lead and the head of SEO at Mindvalley. She works with coaches and mission-driven brands to amplify their impact with strategic, value-driven copywriting.
Written by

Annamaria Nagy

Annamaria is a freelance writer for Health + Wellness and Transformational Education brands. Formerly, she was the writers lead and the head of SEO at Mindvalley. She works with coaches and mission-driven brands to amplify their impact with strategic, value-driven copywriting.
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Ajit Nawalkha is the co-founder of Mindvalley Coach (formerly known as Evercoach by Mindvalley) and a world-leading business coach. Ajit’s passion is to make the world a better place and empower entrepreneurs to be the change the world needs.

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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.