This episode is part of the series called Manage Your Coaching Clients, which you can find at prosperouscoach.com/manage.
I clearly remember a moment in the first few years of my coaching business where I was sharing with my mentor coach some feelings I was having about a client.
Then she asked me a powerful question:
Do you want more for your clients than they want for themselves?
That woke me up! I began to examine my motivations and set healthier boundaries for myself with clients.
Have you ever sensed that you might want too much for your clients?
Most new coaches fall into this trap on some level.
The trick is to let go of your desire to effect change ON your clients. In other words, don’t try to fix them or heal them.
Build up within yourself the belief that your client alone drives their desire and ability to change and grow. They have to want it!
2 More Powerful Questions
You can never know the path of another person.
If you try to anticipate and course correct for your client’s potential mistakes, are you keeping them from valuable experiences that may bring success more quickly?
Or, if you jump in to solve their problems and salve their hurts too vigorously, are you diminishing your clients personal power and inflating yours?
You can only answer this if you stay aware during your sessions and regularly examine your own motivations for what you say and do with your clients.
The real beauty of coaching is the co-creative relationship. Both coach and client focus collaboratively to draw out and utilize the client’s wisdom toward high payoff actions.
You, as a coach must trust that your client is creative, resourceful and whole. In other words they are fully capable of taking care of themselves.
But know this … you don’t have to hold back a well-placed and well-worded challenge to your client to shift their mindset or take a more powerful action. That’s excellent coaching! After you do that, let go of attachment.
In fact, I think that having a coaching business and working with clients is a never ending life lesson in letting go of your attachment. It’s a key to happiness!
3 Symptoms and Causes to Watch with Coaching Clients
Let’s explore the symptoms, causes and side effects when we want too much for our coaching clients.
Symptom #1: Over-delivering
Cause: You’re to find solutions for every issue raised, rather than focusing on one coachable moment that will move the client toward a perspective shift and the takeaway stated in their agenda.
Side effect: The client is overwhelmed.
They are overwhelmed by your desire to help them beyond their current level of commitment to help themselves. How are big problems solved? One small integrate-able step at a time. Support your clients to make leaps in their perspective and to make more progress on their own between sessions.
Symptom #2: You feel drained after a session
Cause: You have stepped outside of the co-creative role and pushed your energy onto the client in an effort to correct, fix or “save the client from themselves.”
Side effect: The client progresses slowly and you lose confidence.
At its best, coaching energizes both the client and the coach. Focus on listening closely for the client’s wisdom, using intuitive responses and questions to invite powerful shifts. Take it easy!
Symptom #3: You do the client’s work for them
Cause: You abandoned the co-creative role to influence the client from a consultative, teacher or parental role.
Side effect: The client is disempowered. You overwork for your fee.
A caveat here … I’m a trained coach and as I’ve gained expertise I’ve shifted my business to a more consultative approach. I mentor my clients and advise them on coaching niche development and all things coaching business related. I use coaching skills continuously with clients but I no longer characterize my sessions as coaching sessions because I do teach and guide during them.
If your business model and your offers deliver consulting on a specific expertise, teaching or training and you’re up front about that when you enroll a client, then you’ve covered the practical side of this. You’ve made a business decision.
But there’s still what goes on in your mind as you utilize coaching skills.
An excellent way to teach in your coaching business is through products, training programs public speaking and other forms of content — such as blogs, podcast episodes and videos —all designed for your target audience.
If your intention is to coach then as much as you can use powerful questions to draw out what your client thinks first. Provide short cuts and resources only after you’ve thoroughly drawn out and endorsed their own ideas. Never do their work for them just because you can.
In all of these cases, what’s being unknowingly sacrificed is the co-creative relationship — the very thing that makes coaching so powerful for clients!
In the Next Episode: What If Your Coaching Clients Has Strong Emotions During a Session?