What To Do When Your Coaching Client Isn’t Getting Results
When you care about a client’s success and they aren’t getting the intended results they hired you to help them get, it’s easy to harshly judge yourself, your program, or your client. There are several reasons for why a client may not be getting great results and with a few tweaks or setting boundaries they may be able to bounce back in a great way. Other times it may be necessary to dismiss your client from your program. Below are some questions to ask to help you figure out why your client isn’t getting results and what to do next:
Is this client the BEST fit for your program?
Real talk, would you have taken on this client if you didn’t need the money/exposure/approval by taking them? If this client was an ‘okay’ fit but didn’t make you feel excited to have them there was probably something you saw very early that told you they weren’t a great fit for coaching.
Looking at your answer above what about your client made them a great client for you and/or what were red flags you saw early on?
Be honest. This question will help you know what to ask in future strategy sessions with potential clients so you weed out people who don’t resonate. This will also help you get clear with what behavior you’re still continuing to see that could be affecting your client’s results.
What results did your client intend to get by working with you? Is that what you help people do?
If there’s a fundamental disconnect with what your program is and what they need they probably won’t get results they want. For example a clients may come to you wanting help with a website but as you talk to them you realize they really need help with attracting leads to their business. In a situation like this you have to be honest with expectations and set boundaries the moment you realize you’re on different pages. This may mean getting uncomfortable and letting a client go because they’re not right for you and vice versa. Being in this situation also means that you may not have been clear with those expectations when you originally agreed to work with the client.
What had your client done to get these results prior to working with you? Based on their past experience is it realistic for your clients to get the results they desire in your program?
If you’re a business coach and you’re working with a client who is brand new to business with no current clients or expertise it may take them longer to achieve greater success than a person who has been in a business for a while. Or not. It depends on the circumstances of the individuals. The key here is not to compare your client’s results to other clients–the results they get may be perfect for where they are at right now.
What results have they gotten so far? How does this relate to the results they want?
Again, depending on where your client started from what may seem like a ‘small’ win may actually be the secret sauce to setting the foundation they need to getting what they want. I got into the habit of showing my clients their progress, taking time to celebrate every win and why it was a win–many times people don’t realize how far they’ve come.
Are you doing your very best when you coach them?
To do my very best coaching work I had to break the mold of seeing clients once a week for an hour; I may meet with the same client several times a week–I charge accordingly for my clients to have that access. The reason I changed my coaching model was because I felt in my core that I had to change my delivery to give my best. Are you operating with your clients in the highest and best way for you? Or do you feel constrained by the systems you put in place? It could be as simple as changing your style to the way you truly want to work that will ultimately help your client. Conversely if you’re doing everything you can do, you’re doing everything you can do.
Are your other clients getting their intended results?
It’s not realistic to expect that 100% of your clients will get results but a high percentage of them should be. If the majority of people you work with aren’t getting intended results the truth may be you’re not working in the way that’s best for you or you’re not working with the right kind of client. If you only the one client and they aren’t getting results, don’t assume what you’re doing is wrong. Looking at all of these questions will help you get clarity on what’s happening. If the majority of your clients are getting results, hooray!
Is your client doing everything they can do for their success?
A mistake I see coaches make is taking responsibility for their clients. It is not your job as a coach to make your client successful. It’s your job to show them the path to success to the best of your ability. They have to do the actual work. If your client isn’t following through on action steps or not fully engaged with you during your sessions, they are making the choice to stay where they’re at. That’s not on you. If this is happening you have to be honest with them and direct about how their actions are affecting their progress. This doesn’t mean to shame them–your goal is to help them be as successful as they can be. Also know that many people need different types of help to be successful. For example, I had marketing coaches, energy healing coaches, and writing coaches all at the same time. It is unrealistic for your client to expect you to be the be all, end all of success, they may need to get help and assistance with other people in the areas that are not your genius. If they are not taking care of themselves in these other areas it may affect what you are helping them with.
Does your client respect you and your process?
Clients that constantly question your methods rather than following them or clients that flat out disrespect you will only drag down your vibe and that affects every other client in your program because you’re constantly drained. This includes clients who gaslight their coaches–by this I mean clients who actually DO get results and then say things to their coach like “I’m not sure this success is really because of you.” Boo. I’ve only had one client who was disrespectful–I fired them. When I did it was like an invisible weight had been lifted–the rest of my clients started seeing more success!
Are you creating an atmosphere of success for your clients? Or are you validating/enabling their bad behavior?
I remember I took one client who told me flat out they didn’t have a lot of time to meet so instead of meeting with them consistently every week we met every now and then over a long drawn out period of time instead of what should have been 90 days. Of course they didn’t get the greatest results ever but that was because I validated their excuse for why they couldn’t show up for themselves. Since then I set clear boundaries and expectations with all my clients telling them what they have to do to succeed in my program, if they don’t have time they can’t come in. What do your clients need to do to be successful? How have you communicated that to them? What are the consequences if they don’t follow the rules?
Real talk: Are you tying your clients success (or lack thereof) to your self worth?
If so, stop it! When you are emotionally attached to the results your clients are getting you are setting yourself up for disappointment and codependent relationships. I’m not saying to not feel anything for your clients or their success. I am saying what you should feel good about is the process–the process of you showing up consistently and holding the space of success for your clients. What they choose to do in that space is no reflection of you, good or bad.
Looking at all of your answers to the above questions you may see where things are going awry or where your clients actually are getting results but you (or they) aren’t recognizing it. The best way to help your clients get great results is to choose the right clients to begin with. Of course even your best client can have setbacks, especially if they’re experiencing a crisis in their personal or business life. Some clients may be going through something intense and not communicating that with you. This is why it’s important to have honest conversations with your clients about their progress and how they feel about their progress as they move through your program.
I trust that this helps to be the best coach or mentor you can be. Please let me know your thoughts/comments/concerns below and thanks for reading!
If you need help creating the right reality for you or your business schedule a time to talk with me. While working with me, my clients have doubled their income, gone from nearly shutting down their business to expanding their business across states, or have attracted partnerships with companies that turned their businesses into luxury brands. What made them so special? They had the audacity to believe in their success no matter what their ‘reality’ looked like at the time we started working together. I’m here for you when you’re ready to do the same.