The Why, What and How of Pilot Program Workflows

When you’re creating a coaching program or an educational program, there is SO MUCH that needs to go into the finished product that you don’t even realise. It’s like thinking you are putting together a 50-piece jigsaw and realising it’s actually a 5000-piece jigsaw.

In this episode, I’m going to help you sort out the pieces of your program jigsaw and map out the basic roadmap or workflow of your pilot program so you can build it quickly and efficiently.

In this episode, we’ll cover

* What pilot programs?
* What are workflows, and why create them?
* What is it that you are mapping out?

Why pilot programs

I did a complete episode on the benefits of pilot programs a while ago. But to recap, in my experience of over 3500 coaching hours, I have had the best results in programs that have started with a pilot version.

Now, I firmly believe that you should always run a pilot program so you can develop and test a draft version of a program with real clients before you launch it so you can feel more confident, and professional and give clients exactly what they want.

The starting point for any program is to map out a workflow that helps you to develop a professional program outline that captures all the key things you need to do, in a way that maximises your clients’ experience and results.

In this episode, I’ll briefly map out the Why, What and How of pilot program workflows to help you capture the key elements and make the build-out a little easier.

What are workflows, and why create them?

Workflows are essentially planning tools that help you think through and map out the individual tasks you need to do to build your pilot program from both YOUR perspective AND considering the needs and wants of the clients you will serve.

Workflows help you build your program in a way that is very time efficient – aiming to capture all the important steps and do them in a logical order, so you know exactly what to do and how to do it.

For example, building a program isn’t just about working out what you are going to do in a session and what content you might need to create.

It’s also looking at those things from the client’s perspective – like how to make your client feel excited and comfortable when they attend the session. Consider also the format and delivery style of content in your program.

For example, some social media Guru might have told you that you need to send three emails each week with a long story to engage your reader. How is your ideal client going to feel if they hate getting lengthy emails? The answer is simply, turned off.

Or, what if you want to build out some fancy expansive platform to share coaching resources with your clients, but they are virtually IT illiterate and hate being online?

As you can see, workflows are definitely about creating your own step-by-step roadmap for building your program, but more importantly they’re about making sure that your client has an exceptional service experience with your business.

After all, it’s exceptional customer service that creates raving fans, transformational results, and plenty of referrals.

In summary, workflows are all about good planning and customer service. They ensure you don’t miss anything in the build, and to co-create the program and build it in exactly the right way for your niche clients to have the best experience and results.

What is it that you are mapping out?

Since you want your clients to have a great experience working with you (UX = user experience), you want to break your program into chunks and ensure that the customer experience in each area is easy, seamless, and enjoyable.

There are three main areas to map out with workflows:

  1. Key steps in the promotion-to-sign-up phase
  2. Key steps in the onboarding phase (payment, welcome, engagement)
  3. Key steps in how the program will be run and what needs to be delivered, and when.

Along the way, you can liaise with a niche focus group to get their opinions at each step of the way. Here’s how that could work.

Once you’ve mapped a workflow for the areas above, test each one out yourself, as if you were a customer.

What was the experience like to sign up, be welcomed, pay, receive the info etc.?

How did you feel as you did it?

What could be different/improved?

Refine the process if needed, then, ask a couple of focus group members to talk through it or walk through it with you to see if you’re on the same page.

No need to ask the WHOLE focus group to do all three aspects – just a couple for each is enough.

How do you create workflows?

The workflows themselves can be as simple, visual or detailed as you like – YOU decide.

Some people (e.g. visual learners) like to use post-it notes.

They write one step on each post-it note, then rearrange them on a mirror, wall or window until it seems like all of the steps (for signing up, onboarding or working through the program) are in a logical order, easy to undertake without any frustration, tech issues or time wasting.

Alternatively, they may like to draw pictures.

Some people (auditory or interactive learners) prefer to talk through things.

Asking clients for their opinions might be the best way for you to map things out – or to talk through it aloud on your own.

Some people (visual / detail learners) prefer to write answers and/or use spreadsheets.

Working through a series of prompt questions might be helpful in identifying all the considerations.

Having a detailed, step-by-step project plan in a spreadsheet might help you to capture all the steps and schedule/allocate time to each task.

Remember, they can be as simple or detailed as you like. 

Some people are happy to go with the flow and build things on the fly as they go, so might prefer to start with little detail and just some main ideas.

Other people feel like they need a detailed, step-by-step list of tasks in order to do it properly and feel confident enough to launch.


Pilot programs (and eventually, full programs) contain a lot of moving parts.

Workflows are great tools to help you capture all the steps and put them in the right order for three critical areas: sign-up, onboarding and program delivery.

As you create workflows, it’s important to get client opinions, test them yourself as if you were the client, and even get clients to talk through or walk through the ideas with you. That way you build more than just a great program – you build a program that gives your niche the best possible experience in working with you.

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