Ep 116 – Why Losing Potential Coaching Clients Is a Gift

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Show Notes

This episode is inspired by the wisdom of hindsight. Don’t we all love hindsight!

As a highly experienced coach, I can say without hesitation that not every coach will be the best client for me. And not every client will be the best client for you either.

In fact, some clients could end up being difficult to work with. Episode #98 was about this. In that case you and the client may suffer each time you have a session. And that’s sad because here you are intending to do good yet harm could be done.

I assure you, it’s not because there’s anything wrong with that client or that there’s anything wrong with you. It comes down to how well the client aligns with you and you align with the client.

Differences in Pace, Style and Values

When communication style, pace and guiding values align there’s a harmonious coaching relationship.

Let’s take pace. Have you ever had a client who talks so fast you can’t understand them? Or maybe it’s you who is the fast talker and your client is struggling to keep up with you. Pace in speech and processing is very personal.

There can be differences about the way our minds work. Differences in learning style, in work style too. Some client’s will have very different values than you and that could be challenging.

It’s true that part of our job as coaches is to learn our client’s ways and meet them with respect and agility in our approach. Sometimes that’s just not possible.

One of the preferences that I have with my clients is that we value each other as human beings. I’ve had clients where I felt like their slave. Obviously, that didn’t last.

But I’ve also had clients who are warm and connective, which brings us both so much joy. Now I ask for this kind of connection when I begin a client relationship. I don’t just want to help a coach build their coaching business from the ground up. I want us to enjoy the journey and each other.

5 Ways Fit Helps You and Your Coaching Clients

Fit between a client and coach makes the difference in whether:

  1. You end a session drained or energized
  2. Your coaching lands with the person
  3. The client makes real measurable progress
  4. You receive testimonials and referrals
  5. The client comes back for more

If you’re just getting started as a coach, there’s a strong desire to enroll anyone! You may be feeling “I’ll take anyone!” After all, at first client flow can be a slow trickle. I remember that. And I totally get that need to experience yourself coaching and earning as fast as you can.

As you gain experience though you might find yourself turning down a potential client before you’ve ever coached them. I have many times. I know that might seem hard to imagine.

Can You Fire a Coaching Client?

You may even need to end a coaching relationship at some point in time. I’ve had to let clients go. Each time, I’ve reflected and realized that there were warning signs that the fit wasn’t right when I met them in a Discovery Call.

Having a Discovery Call not a sample coaching session is a highly effective way to assess fit because you can ask questions to understand pace, style and values

It’s worth it to build up your intuition and pay attention to what’s important to you in the co-creative relationship.

Nearly every time I’ve let a potential client or existing client go, they have felt the lack of fit too on reflection. I take my part of the responsibility and emphasize that I’m not a good fit for them rather than the other way around.

But there have been a couple of times where a potential client insisted I work with them even though I knew for certain we weren’t a good fit. I’ve had to kindly say to them that for the sake of my integrity I know that it’s not right for me to work with them. Where possible I’ve referred those individuals to someone else. And I’ve found they are grateful that I spoke up.

Ideal Clients for Every Coach

Back in 2006 when I launched Prosperous Coach and became known as the Coaching Niche Strategist I had a vision for the field of coaching that every coach would become highly specialized, not only in their unique audience and niche but also in the parameters of the work they do with a client.

The idea is that all coaches become excellent referral partners for each other. So instead of taking on a client that is not a fit for you or your niche, you’ll refer them to a coach who has that specialty and style. I still hold this vision.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead of tens of thousands of coaches all in the same few niches you would stand out and quickly become known for your narrow specialty? You’d become a subject matter expert.

I’ll talk about finding the niche within your niche in an episode soon. Have you ever thought that someone else could be a better coach for a client?

There’s a maturity in that mindset. And there’s a bonus too. Because you’ll stop suffering if a potential client does not hire you. You’ll find peace in the idea that it’s simply about fit. And that will allow you to attract clients who are ideal for you.