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How Entrepreneurs Can Prepare Their Mindset For The Toughest Clients

A tough client makes your job particularly difficult and often exhausting. To be able to continue doing what you do best, you will need to factor in extra time out here to calm your thoughts

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When working as a coach, it is inevitable you will come across the odd client who will test your patience to its limits. Whether a problematic client who you struggle to connect with, one who fails to fulfill their agreement or promises, or one who oversteps the boundaries, all coaches experience those more robust of clients.

It is easy to question your integrity, and indeed your sanity, when you meet such difficult clients, but the last thing you need here as a coach is to become overwhelmed and distracted from the job at hand. By developing an awareness during such trying times that this stage is a perfectly normal process, you will find yourself better equipped to respond to such incidents.

If you want to ensure you are prepared for dealing with potential tough clients in the future, here are some ways to help you develop a stronger mindset.

Remember What Your Role as a Coach Is

A client may well challenge you, and this is merely a small but natural part of the overall coaching process. More than often, it is a sign you are doing your job well and eliciting a response from your client. Ultimately, your client came to you because something was not working. Try keeping a visual reminder of this reason, this will work to remind you why you got into this role in the first place, as well as telling your client why they ended up here. Change is difficult for us all, it is not in our human makeup to take it willingly, and coaching will bring this to fore, meaning many emotions are to be expected over the period you work with each client. A regular reminder here may be all that is needed as encouragement that you are both working towards the same common goal.

Always Remain Firm but Fair

As a coach, you know when and where to offer compassion to your clients, albeit in a professional capacity. However, some of the more demanding clients tend to come with additional emotional baggage, more personal rather than professional. All human beings allow their emotions and feelings to surface over a working day. Your job as a coach is to listen to their concerns but not yield to them as such, instead step outside of the box and offer a professional view, rather than get emotionally involved. You have been trained for this, and it is what you are good at.

You can have compassion for their situation, but if you remain firm but fair here, you encourage your client to follow your lead and work towards the agreement you made at the very beginning of your association.

Highlight Your own Boundaries and Ensure They Are Respected

As a coach, though you may be able to help and guide others, you are also your own business. Therefore, your clients are effectively your customers and should honor your requests to be paid on time as well as respect your need to stick to the allocated times and sessions that you plan.

Some clients tend to push the boundaries and demand more from you, often encroaching on your time, while some are bad payers. However, though you became a coach to empower other people, you cannot do this effectively if you have no free time of your own - or if you cannot pay your bills!

Be clear with your client at the very beginning of your relationship, what you expect from them in return. Highlight guidelines set in place before you begin your coaching. If a client looks like breaching those boundaries, act swiftly giving them a gentle reminder to get them back on track.

Take Time out to Reorganize Your Thoughts

Finally, take regular time out to reflect on your working relationships, especially when finding yourself associating with difficult clients. As a coach, it is easy to spend your time and energy working on improving other people’s lives, but often at the expense of your health and well-being.  

A tough client makes your job particularly difficult and often exhausting. To be able to continue doing what you do best, you will need to factor in extra time out here to calm your thoughts.

Coaching will have its good days and its bad ones. Yet, should you find yourself continually struggling with a specific client, you will need to ask yourself if this challenge is the best use of both yours and their time.

Coaching is a two-way process and to be successful; your client needs to be on-board. If you do not see them putting in this necessary commitment, you may have to rethink this association, re-directing your time and energy to those clients who do value your skills and knowledge instead.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Mindfulness coaching holistic health life coach

Neeta Bhushan

An emotional intelligence advocate, Bhushan is founder of the Global GRIT Institute

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