Working with coaching clients is a huge privilege and responsibility. If managed well, it can be a relationship of mutual trust and respect — a healthy container for transformation.

But human beings are complex, each with their own trauma, triggers, wants and needs. Put two people together and it can get uncomfortable.

Managing the coach/client relationship is one of those trial by fire things. But you know me, I want to uncover this stuff that could trip you up!

The first thing to understand is that when you charge highly for coaching, clients are more committed and engaged in their own transformation and success. On the other hand, when clients pay little for your services, they are generally more difficult to serve and it can get edgy.

So do yourself a favor and charge more. Check out episode 251 where I coach a coach past her fears of charging more.

For now, let’s look at indications that something is off in the coaching relationship so you can repair it.

Find Your Integrity in Coaching

It may seem right now that you should coach anyone who wants to hire you. And I get that. Coaching is the only way to stretch into and find your way in your coaching craft.

The longer I’m in service of others, the more I see the importance of fit. I do many things to make sure I attract the right clients for me and that I & my program are a good fit for them. Even then, there are some surprises.

As soon as you can, take fit seriously in your coaching relationships. The two best ways to help you attract the right clients for you are:

  1. Create a well thought out customer journey that nurtures your audience and incrementally increases their trust in you. Make sure your content show cases your philosophy, personality and approach. Be you! That way, those that are right for you will hire you and those that are not will hopefully find another resource. Check out Episode 236 about creating a customer journey.

When it comes to managing your clients the name of the game is find your integrity. Charging enough for you to earn well is part of integrity.

Integrity in coaching requires continuous awareness on your part about what drives you in coaching and your feelings about yourself and your clients in a professional coaching relationship.

5 Signals Your Coaching Relationship Needs Help

Have you noticed any of these things when you coach clients?

  1. You feel drained.

These are interrelated.

Each one of these indicates a breach in your integrity. It’s a red flag for you about YOU and it may be damaging your coaching relationship or reducing the effectiveness of the coaching.

This is an opportunity to self reflect. Sometimes you can make an adjustment within the session to get back into your integrity. Other times you’ll need to examine what’s amiss in your coaching relationship outside of sessions and perhaps with the help of your coach.

Please know there’s nothing wrong with you if your integrity needs work. Integrity is a work in progress for all human beings. Check out Episode 141 called 5 Questions to Test Your Coaching Business Integrity.

You can only control your side of the coach-client relationship. You can’t control your client’s behavior. But, if you adjust, your client may also adjust.

My Wrong-Headed Motivations in Coaching

Feeling drained, resentful or inauthentic in coaching go together and could be an indication that you are over-delivering and under charging, which are also related to coaching from performance or, what I call, savior mode (the desire to fix or save others.)

I remember a long time ago working with a client where after each session I felt like I’d been beat up. I was sure it was about my client’s behavior. It was not! It was all about me — my wrong-headed motivations, my lack of integrity, me giving away my power.

After much reflection with my own coach, I realized that I had poor boundaries with this person.

Have you ever done any of those things with coaching clients?

I started preparing for sessions by checking in with myself, fortifying my boundaries by getting crystal clear on my responsibilities and hers in the co-creative relationship. I also started doing an energy cleansing after sessions, acknowledging what was mine and what was not mine, disconnecting energetically.

That changed everything in our coaching relationship and my client made more progress. I became a better coach and a better person. I felt less triggered, more grounded and more certain of my value without over-delivering.

What about you? How can you fortify your integrity to have better, more healthy coaching relationships?