Don’t Be THAT Client

The greatest thing about being a life coach is getting to work with so many different clients regarding many different things in life. But every so often, there is a client that for lack of better term is just uncoachable… don’t be THAT client!

Just as there are bad life coaches, there are sometimes clients that are difficult to impossible to work with as well. The worst characteristic of the uncoachable client is typically that everything is the “coach’s fault” which is usually not the case. It’s that kind of blame that is indicative that you are working with “one of those” kinds of clients.

Here are some of the behaviors and attitudes that guarantee you are more than a challenge as a client… Don’t be THAT client.

  1. The Resistant Client: I once had a short-term contract with a client who wanted to lose weight and there is a reason it was short term. In our initial meeting, she stated her goals with her main goal to lose weight… Awesome! But during our discussion it became obvious that it wasn’t going to work. I asked if she could go to a gym or even had a treadmill at home to walk on… She had both but going to the gym or even carving out time to workout at home would be impossible. I asked about diet, and what her trigger foods were, and what are the worst things in her diet to get rid of? Like me, she had a weakness for sodas. I explained to her the impact of soda’s and how much of a caloric impact they have especially on our waistlines. Her response was that she would more or less DIE without her morning Big Gulp full of Mountain Dew from 7-11. More resistance… We set her up with a great food and exercise tracking application that after a week she failed to use or log into even once. More resistance, but this time it was just in the passive mode. This coaching relationship only lasted a month.
  2. The Impatient Client: I am a coach, not a miracle worker. If what we are working on is along the lines of repairing a self-created negative situation, the chances are that everything will not magically fix itself overnight just because you hired a coach. It probably took a great amount of time for you to gain the weight, get that far into debt, corrode your relationships, or just make your life generally unmanageable. The chances are it is going to take even more time to get out of those situations and in most cases, at least twice the time of what it took to screw it all up. Definitely don’t be that client…
  3. The Passive Client: I have had initial consults with potential clients that I can tell from the get-go are a no-go. These are the potential clients, who sometimes become clients if I did not catch it early enough who just wants someone to tell them what to do, how to do it, etc. The passive client generally doesn’t want to do any of the work or figure out things on their own, they just want advice and that is all they want, all the time. I am a coach, not a parent, and it is not my job to tell you what to do every minute of every single day that we are working together. I did just interview a potential client last week and that is EXACTLY what she wanted. Her issues were lack of self-confidence and motivation mostly and while I can help a client to find it on their own, I just can’t snap my fingers and tell a client to instantly be motivated… I can inspire to a degree but a client has to motivate his or herself on their own.
  4. The Victim Client: Also known as, the client with a zero sense of accountability and refuses to take any responsibility for anything, ever. This is one of the worst “bad client” types to work with and ultimately leaves you drained after each session. The victim client for the most part – because there are exceptions sometimes – will never get anywhere or make any progress or have any successes whether you work with them or not. Their situations are screwed up and it’s everybody else’s fault, and when strategies and goals are in place to make their lives better they will always have an excuse for their lack of follow through. As you can bet, that is going to be someone else’s fault as well.

There are many ways a client can short-circuit the coaching/client relationship and make progress downright challenging if not impossible. If you are a coach, and you are reading this then you know exactly what I mean. If you are a client, or potential client, and you see any of your behaviors listed above and you recognize it, here is an opportunity for you to make adjustments to help ensure greater successes for yourself regardless of if you are working with a coach or not.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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