No matter how hard you try to avoid it…
Sooner or later, you’re going to end up working with a tough client.
When this happens – and it will – you’ll want to do anything and everything to escape.
Maybe you’ll consider backing out of the agreement…
Maybe you’ll want to pretend you’re down with a mysterious illness…
Anything to get out of it.
These are incredibly bad ideas.
When you allow yourself to stay open and in the space of having a learning experience, tough clients can teach you more than any coaching certification program ever could.
I’ve had my share of difficult clients and I’ll say they definitely made me a better coach.
Here are 4 game-changing techniques I personally use – and teach - that will help you see your tough client as a blessing.
Not a curse.
Reason #1: They’ll motivate you to do this…
Tough clients ask tough questions… Questions no one else does.
They’ll want to know why. They’ll ask about your methods. They’ll ask for more insights and understanding.
They’ll push you way outside your comfort zone…
But they’ll also motivate you to dig deep to answer those questions.
Tough clients will motivate you to bring your whole self to the table every single time.
They’ll hold you to a high standard so you’re always striving to come up the perfect coaching tools and techniques for each situation.
There’s simply no opportunity to be complacent or laid back.
I won’t lie. This is going to feel like you’re trapped in an oven with the temperature turned all the way up.
It’s a high-pressure situation.
But when you learn to survive this type of client relationship, your growth as a coach will skyrocket.
You’ll learn to navigate tricky coaching territory and you’ll supercharge your confidence as a coach…
And that’s priceless.
Reason #2: They’ll “force” you to do this…
You’re inspired to serve others. You’re generous with your time and your guidance.
This is your greatest trait as a coach – and also your worst one.
When you’re focused on helping other people, it’s easy to forget your own needs.
I’ve known coaches who set aside basic essentials – eating, sleeping and even going to the bathroom – because they want to be there for their clients…
All. The. Time.
Tough clients can cure you of this negative habit.
With their tendency to put their needs first, a tough client is likely to push you beyond your capacity to work.
They’re the ones who are likely to call you at all hours, message you on weekends and expect you to drop everything to talk to them.
If you want to stay sane, you’ll have to establish clear boundaries.
And stick to them.
Knowing how to set healthy boundaries is a non-negotiable skill for coaches…
And tough clients can get you to learn how to do it quickly and do it right.
Reason #3: They’ll compel you to do this…
Tough clients don’t hold back.
They’ll tell you when they feel you failed to hit the mark. They’ll share when they’re unhappy with what you say to them. They’ll openly criticize and judge your coaching methods and your style.
This sounds like a nightmare but there’s something good that can come from it…
I’ve found that when I look hard enough, I can usually find some wisdom and truth hidden in negative feedback.
It’s helped me hone my skills and take my coaching to the next level and beyond.
A tough client who shares difficult feedback is giving you the opportunity to improve and raise your performance as a coach.
Another benefit? You learn to become mentally strong.
Trust me on this one…
After working with a tough client or two, you’ll never fear criticism again.
Reason #4: They’ll move you to do this…
Here’s something I’ve found to be true more often than not…
Many tough clients have a hard shell that protects a soft center.
Tough clients are usually in a lot of emotional pain. This could come from a current experience – such as a difficult divorce – or past pain.
Some have been struggling with trauma, fear or anxiety for years. Even decades.
They’ve learned to present a tough exterior to the world because they’re afraid to be vulnerable and open themselves up to being hurt again.
Whether you’re a life coach, business coach or health coach, you are likely to be one of the only people they can speak to with honesty and without fear of judgment.
So, practice compassion and find ways to help them move past their inner struggles so they can achieve their goals with your guidance and support.
This is the kind of challenge that will take you from just being good …
To becoming world-class.
So, the next time you find yourself facing a tough client, resist the urge to escape.
Instead, look at it as an amazing opportunity to become a great coach.
Because it is.