Last Wednesday I was able to tune into a free Coach Approach webinar given by Chad Hall and Brian Miller. The topic was "What to do with challenging clients." It started at 11:30 am edt and was supposed to end at 12:15. Things went a little long and it was over around 12:35 instead. I was listening to it at work, and fortunately I didn't have a customer come in the entire time.
Chad and Brian presented 7 "problem areas" a coach can have with clients. They are...
1. NON-STOP TALKING.
Apparently it is a big issue with clients who just chatter on and on - and they usually jump from one thing to another. They suggest really stressing during the contracting stage what is expected during the sessions. They also said it might help to give them a number, or pinpoint, for answers. For example, "Give me 3 reasons for that." That way they will know when to stop talking. It was also suggested to use a 'prep form' and to try to provide as much structure as possible with these people.
2. STONE SILENT.
This is the opposite of #1. Some clients don't want to talk much. It was suggested that up to 50% are simply introverts, and they may just take a little more time or digging. They will need space to think and someone to really listen to them. Brian suggested matching their silence. Others may lack confidence and need a lot of encouragement and simple steps. Some - especially if someone else is paying - may just not be interested. Need to simply address the issue with them or their sponsor perhaps.
3. ACTING LIKE EEYORE.
Some people simply don't think anything will help and that all hope is lost. Most of these will be non-paying clients (someone else is footing their bill). These people need to be invited to 'suspend belief' for a time. Help them think creatively, and use fantasy, hope-filled, possibility scenarios.
4. MISSING APPOINTMENTS.
There are those people who simply tend to forget appointments, or constantly need reminded. Again, they suggest you stress the importance/expectations up front during contracting. They also suggest sending a prep form the day before as a reminder. And if a client continues to miss without notification, they may need to be charged for missing in order to 'get it.' It should at least be in the contract.
5. ONLY VENTING.
These are people who just want someone to complain to. Venting can be valuable... in limited quantities. So they suggest setting a structure to limit it. For example, give them 5 minutes to vent, then say you're going to look into what can be done about it.
6. TREAT YOU LIKE GOOGLE.
If someone says they want coaching, but really just want to ask YOU questions, they need to have it re-explained to them that they have this relationship backwards. Again, go over this up front, be gentle, but also firm. Also, focus on coaching the client rather than the issue.
7. IT'S EVERYONE ELSE.
Some people tend to think everyone else is the problem, but not them. Or that it's all the "other" person. The truth is, someone can't receive coaching for someone else. If they only want coaching to address other people's needs, it may be that coaching is not what they need. You need to emphasize the need to focus on them and what they can do. This is where some direct communication may come into play.
Overall it was a helpful session. I was glad I got to tune in and listen to it. I didn't actually register until the day before because I didn't think I would get to hear it since I was at work. It helps that it was during the middle of the week. I hope to take advantage of more of these quarterly free webinars.