A Common Coaching Mistake that Frustrates and Annoys Your Clients

By: Stephanie Tuesday March 8, 2016 comments Tags: Mindset, Customer Service, Customer retention


As a client of multiple coaches, I've noticed that many coaches make a common mistake that may seem helpful to them, but can be very off-putting to the client.

It's a classic slip-up that anyone can make, whether or not they're a coach. But if you make it, not only will your clients feel frustrated and misunderstood, but they'll also feel like their time is being wasted.

That mistake is assuming that you know what your client is talking about, and giving a lengthy lesson, solution or explanation that the client already knows, or that doesn't actually fit the client's real problem.

Remember, the time you spend with your client is valuable, and so is your rapport with them.

"‹It's important that they feel heard and understood, and that your teaching is targeted to their real problem.

What can you do to avoid this mistake?

"‹Here are two ways to avoid going on a spiel that doesn't meet your client's needs:

1. Get confirmation before you give guidance.

When you think your client has a limiting belief, tell them, "What I'm hearing is, part of you believes that (the limiting belief), even if part of you knows it isn't true. Am I understanding you correctly?"

That script can be tailored to match what they expressed - for example, if they seem to wholeheartedly believe it's true, you can skip the part about them knowing it isn't.

The important part is that you confirm that they have the belief you're addressing, before you address it.

Similarly, if it sounds like they have a bad habit, you could say, "What I'm understanding is, you're doing (habit)/not doing (thing they need to do in order to create change). Is that right?"

Or, if it seems like a circumstance is holding them back, tell them what your understanding of the circumstance is, and get their confirmation before you tell them how to overcome it.

The bottom line is: never give an extended lesson before you're sure you understand the real meaning behind your client's words.

2. Avoid talking too long without checking in with your client.

Once you've been talking for a minute or so, check to see if your message is resonating with your client.

You can ask questions like,

"Is this hitting home?"
"Is this helpful to you so far?"
"Does this sound like what you've been experiencing?"
"Does this sound right?"
"Do you have any questions about what I've said so far?"

When you involve them in the process, you help them to feel valued, seen and understood.

Asking them questions, and creating a dialogue as opposed to a lecture, also helps them to stay engaged, so they don't slip into passive listening mode. This keeps their minds active, so they learn more and get more value from the expertise you're sharing.

Have you ever slipped into "lecture mode" while working with your clients?

Do you have any tips or sample questions that your fellow readers can use to make sure they understand their clients?

"‹I look forward to reading your comments.

About the Author: Stephanie

Stephanie is a writer and coaching program design specialist. She helps coaches to create and sell life-changing coaching programs, so they can help more people, make more money, and have more time freedom.