How do you
coach the client who is frustrating you?
coaches are human. Sometimes we get frustrated by/with
our clients. We probably shouldn't be, but it happens.
Here are some ideas as to why it happens, and what you can
do about it.
Instances that get coaches
frustrated with their clients, what you should know about
each one, and how to handle them.
1. The client
is making very slow, if any, progress.
Many clients won't be as quick to learn and implement what
they are learning from you, so they'll seem slow, relative
to you. Remember, it took YOU time to absorb and learn
key principles and strategies; give them this time. If in
doubt, ask them how they feel about their progress/pace.
Don't assume they think they are going too slow. It might
just be your stuff. Love and enjoy your clients,
challenge them and do your best for them. That's ALL you
can do; the rest is up to them. (Important note: Your
clients may be making slow progress because you haven't
yet mastered the skills of coaching, or your misunderstand
the client's situations/problem/dynamic. Ongoing and
advanced coach training is key to offering top notch
coaching to clients. In my view, all things being equal,
the better the coaching, the faster the client
progresses. And the better the coach training, the better
the coaching. Okay, I'm now off my soapbox.)
2. The client
isn't hearing a lot of what you're saying.
Well, what else is new! Clients are busy people with
their own to do lists, problems, goals and needs; you
can't expect them to always be all there during a coaching
session. Be patient. In my early days of coaching, I
assumed that the client 'needed' to know what I had to
say. Not. What I learned to do was to first find out
what the client wants to know or wants to know from me at
any given time. You can ask directly, or you can
introduce YOUR observation, idea, strategy, solution or
whatever and see how interested the client is. Also,
remember, that clients sometimes need so hear the same
thing said 3 different ways (and 3 times) before they can
hear it. Remember, some of the stuff you're sharing with
them or introducing them to are radical 180 degree shifts
for them. Be patient. And give the client what they need
from you at any given moment during the coaching. If the
client is ignoring or only hearing part of what you are
sharing, either back off or find out why they aren't
hearing the whole enchilada.
3. The client keeps diverting and distracting.
Your more intelligent or free spirit/creative clients are
masters at this. They'' keep you enthralled or engaged by
their stories, ideas, problems or whatever. Meanwhile,
what they specifically hired you help them achieve gets
missed and then you wonder why they let you go 3 months
later (when they seemed so happy with your service!). The
fact is, you got snookered. The trick is to keep your eye
on the goals they hired you to accomplish. And
remember, many clients are actually afraid of reaching
their goals, so they'll find ways to not reach them.
Don't buy into this. Keep your focus, even if the client
tries to divert you.
4. The client
doesn't do what they said they'd do.
Well, that's why they are clients! Seriously, this
happens a lot. It can be frustrating to the coach because
you believed your client. First step for you is to stop
believing your clients until they've proven that they are
the type of person to keep their word. (Coaches tend to
blindly believe the promises that clients make to them.
What I have learned to do is first do an internal check
before accepting their promise. If you take a moment, you
can usually tell how serious they are. And, if the client
doesn't keep their word with me, I generally don't let
them promise anything again to me. Not worth the parental
push and pull if you know what I mean. And hey, there are
many other ways to add value as a coach other than
'holding clients accountable" which is pretty remedial
coaching anyway and not something that most advanced
coaches are willing to devolve about in order to provide
5. The client
misses calls, is flakey about being on time.
Sorry, but if you're getting upset by this, that's your
doing, not the client's. Why? Because it all comes down
to having policies about this sort of thing and making
sure that your clients are fully aware of any consequences
if they are late or miss a call. And, do make exceptions,
but don't make a habit of it. A certain segment of the
client population is flakey about time and a another
segment is incredibly busy with competing priorities. And
another segment, the largest segment, just needs to be
aware of the consequences to them if they miss a call or
6. The client does the opposite of what they said
This happens a lot. I don't worry about it. At least
they did something! Remember, once clients get off the
phone with you, they are back in their own environment and
that environment is pulling them in the 'old' direction.
If you feel the client needs some extra structure to keep
them focused in their new direction, install that
structure. Or get the client so inspired that they drive
themselves in the new direction, overcoming the old
7. The client
complains a lot.
Some people are just
complainers by nature. I ask them if they know they are
complaining a lot about things, life, relationships,
situations, themselves, me, the coaching, etc. Most have
NO idea how negative they are. Funny, but fitting. They
are usually grateful to you for pointing this out. This
one shift can change their life. And it sure makes your
life a lot easier.
8. The client is demanding too much of your
Some clients need/want your personal energy, not just your
intelligence, wisdom or expertise. The moment you pick up
the phone when this type of client calls in you can feel
whoooosh of energy flow from you to them. I used to think
this was a bad thing, but then I realized that it wasn't a
problem for me because what was depleting me wasn't the
fact that they were 'taking' my energy, but that I was
feeling responsible for their success. (Needy clients
seem to have a way of making your feeling that way.) I
found when I put the responsibility on them for their own
success, that I could enjoy the coaching sessions with
them. I was happy for them to have my energy. I hope
this doesn't sound too weird to you, but it's the best way
I can describe the dynamic.
9. The client
points the finger at your when results aren't happening.
Sometimes, this is the client's doing (because they aren't
doing the work required to get the success they want).
Sometimes it's the coach's doing because you either
haven't educated your client on this point and your fairly
narrow professional role. And sometimes, it's the coach's
doing because the client isn't getting the expertise they
had been expecting. Which is why I spend a little time
before accepting a client to make REASONABLY SURE that I
truly help them. In fact, I usually share my
approach/strategy relative to their goal, problem or
opportunity. That way, they can audition me before hiring
me. Not just a sample session, but rather a preview.
Really helpful to ensure a match and this also educates
the client on their role/responsibility.
client pays late or skips out.
The source of the problem here is the coach, not the
client. IF you're not willing to put 100% of your clients
on an automated, recurring credit card or checking account
debit, you're going to have a hassle with collection.
Sure, clients should pay on time, but 20% won't, and 5%
won't pay at all. Thus, automated credit card billing.
Simple, elegant solution that also increase client
retention by at least 25%.
As most coaches
come to realize at some point in their development, any
reaction/frustration you're having relative to client is
100% about you and virtually never about the client. The
problem/frustration is occurring because you didn't set up
the client properly, your policies aren't clear/enforced,
you haven' automated the management of your practice,
you've taken on the wrong client, you are getting
setup/snookered due to your ignorance, or the coaching you
are providing isn't at the level or the flavor that your
clients most wants and needs.
The very good news is that it's all solvable!
I hope this was
by coachville.com. written by thomas j. leonard. all