One of the questions that comes up in my coaching practice from time-to-time is: What is the difference between a Mission Statement, a Value Statement, and a Customer Commitment Statement. I thought it would be helpful to outline the differences and similarities below as a support to all of you wonderful healers in the world.
Most of us have heard of a business mission statement, usually defined as, "a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual" (Wikipedia). A mission statement provides "the framework or context within which the company's strategies are formulated."
A mission statement is different than a business values statement and/or a customer commitment statement in two important ways:
1. A mission statement is a very short paragraph, no more than 2-3 sentences long that conveys who you are and who your business is in your own voice.
2. Your mission statement needs to succinctly outline what business you are in, your philosophy, and the personality of your brand very quickly and clearly. It should capture the essence of who you are.
For example, my mission statement for my Counselor's Coach business is as follows,
"As a coach to other therapists my aim is to provide skilled and trustworthy coaching leadership delivered with skill, integrity, focus, authenticity, warmth and professionalism, and have some creative fun along the way supporting each clinician's spirit and practice goals."
Within this short paragraph I communicate clearly who I am, the spirit of my coaching, and what my mission is as a coach to other therapists. This statement gives the reader a clear sense right out of the gate if I am the appropriate coach for them.
A value statement is a set of principles that outlines the core values within the business or practice, no matter how large or small. Think of your value statements as an internal compass that guides the actions of your practice or organization, a statement that guides decision-making.
What most business owners are not aware of is the importance of having a value statement (even if they are the only employee of their practice). A practice value statement differs from a practice customer commitment statement, and both differ from a mission statement. For this section, let's look at the key components of a value statement.
Values are created for the organization by the founder (s) and help guide the internal practices of the organization. The founders and the employees within that system or company abide by these values. Good to remember that the value statements are focused on behaviors and attitudes, such as fairness, flexibility, ingenuity, boundaries, respect, hard work and so forth.
A professional value statement is the cornerstone for every successful business. Having solid and clearly defined values (again even if you are a one woman or man show) that every person within the business agrees to stick with (including 1099 and/or W2 employees such as a virtual assistant, an office manager, a website designer, etc.) will set a company or individual far apart from the rest of the herd.
So what are the elements of a value statement? Given that these are the principals that guide all of the companies and employees actions you will want to include:
- what your practice and business stand for;
- what values the employees and founders are dedicated to;
- how the values of your business benefit your consumer.
Answering these questions with authenticity and meaning is challenging but important work. Think of this as the north star for your practice or business.
Your value statement will be longer than your mission statement, usually 2-3 paragraphs.
So, once again using my business coaching practice as a guide, my values statement is as follows,
"As a coach to clinicians around the world, I strive to support each client with the highest level of ethics and integrity that draws from my 25 years of respected business ownership. With nearly a decade of experience as a trusted licensed therapist and founder of a profitable fee for service private practice, and seven years of coaching experience with therapists, I am dedicated to providing my coaching clients with an organized and innovative process, which allows for focus and creativity. I team up with each client as both a leader and journey companion walking along side their practice goals.
My values include: providing trustworthy support and quality guidance. A willingness to refer coaching clients to other business supports if I am not able to meet their needs. To provide fair, consistent, and affordable fees to every single coaching client no matter their race, orientation, religion, or social status. To make available quality products and services that benefit the consumer's practice and business goals. I value in myself and my clients: integrity, fairness, transparency and professionalism, as well as innovation, hard work, creativity, the willingness to learn and grown, and work life balance.
Finally, I have an uncompromising commitment to treat each person with respect as an individual, and I am devoted to providing unbiased and unwavering confidentiality, good will and good boundaries when discussing the client's business goals, their fears, their concerns, as well as their unique product ideas and services. Business ethics and a solid coaching reputation is of the utmost importance to who I am as a professional in the world."
In outlining my values, I let my client (the consumer of my products or services) clearly see who I am and what the guiding values are behind my company and work ethic. In other words, what my company (me) stands for. Again, this will give that consumer a good idea of what I value in order to make an informed choice if I am the right coaching fit for them.
Every company and individual business owner has their own value system. For example, some companies and individuals value multi tasking, high client turn over, group think, making a lot of money, pyramids, affiliate relationships, a formula model, and so forth.
Other companies, such as mine, embrace a different set of values than those. The important thing is to clearly express your own values so that people are not let down if they work with you and then realize that what they were expecting is not what is being delivered.
Customer Commitment Statement
A customer commitment statement is a statement that is designed for the customer. It stems from the values statement, but is more about how your customer will benefit from your services or products.
Think of your intake and consent forms as part of your customer commitment. Your website and blogs are other ways to reiterate your customer commitment statement. You should be outlining your practice policies - what you are committed to - within various sections of your intake form packet as well. Note: If you are need of a complete intake form packet and prefer not to reinvent the wheel, you may find that here.
You would want to include in your customer commitment statement the following:
- Honest, easy to follow information about the products and services you offer;
- Fees for any services and products you offer;
- That you operate within your scope of practice or specialization;
- What your clinical modalities are;
- What your cancellation policy is;
- That you will refer out if you are not a suitable fit for the client;
- Answer all questions patiently and openly before providing a treatment or service;
- Operate confidentially and meet the standard of care as mandated by your board;
- Hold good boundaries of respect, safety and professionalism;
- Ensure that your communication is prompt;
- Respond to documentation and consult requests;
All of your customer commitment statements should be consistent across all platforms (i.e. practice website, therapist websites, marketing, social media). My counseling website addresses most of my customer commitments, as does my intake form packet. My coaching forms address my coaching customer commitments as does this website.
You can also summarize a customer commitment statement very simply. For for my coaching practice my simple CC statement is as follows,
"I am committed to providing my coaching clients with the highest possible service, delivered with integrity, ingenuity, focus, respect and professionalism."
That's a Wrap!
So there you have it: The essentials to create your mission statement, your value statement and your customer commitment statement. Building at least one of these statements into your business foundation is a wise cornerstone to support ethical business practices.
I hope this information helps support the good work you are doing in the world!
Do you need materials and resources to support your practice? You can find those here.
Or do you need focused coaching support? If so you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If would you like to say hello and introduce yourself, I welcome this in the comment section below.
Kindly and in support,