(OTP#74) Tough Clients — When to Troubleshoot or Let Them Go

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The Episode: Tough Clients — When to Troubleshoot or Let Them Go

Some clients are naturally easier to work with, while others may not be a good a fit. There comes a point where no amount of troubleshooting and communication can get people on the same page in a way that is beneficial to both parties, and this point is what we discuss in today’s conversation. As a trainer or coach, you have an undeniable responsibility to set things out; expectations, boundaries, and important information. But even if this is done correctly, you and your client might find yourselves facing interpersonal challenges that cannot be overcome. It is in these situations that going separate ways may become advisable.

In This Episode

  • The difficulty of ‘firing’ a client
  • Conducting the conversations around these difficulties and letting a client go
  • Taking responsibility for an unsatisfactory situation with a client
  • Unforeseen circumstances and deal-breakers
  • A healthy place for a coach in a person’s self-care and support structure
  • Signs that an arrangement has to change or end
  • Doing what you can before looking to end work with someone
  • A proactive approach to expectations and important information


“For me that was the hard line I was not willing to pass, so I fired her.” — Carolina Belmares


Anxiety Over Clients and Ending a Relationship

Chances are that you have or will experience a client stepping over a boundary of yours. This can take the form of refusing to do the necessary work or can be something more imposing that makes you feel unsafe or taken advantage of. These are legitimate issues that should be addressed, and taking note of the warning signs is step one.

How to Have the Necessary Conversations

It is vital that when issues arise, we as coaches facilitate healthy and progressive conversations.  If the issues extend beyond our skill set, this is a good time to refer someone more appropriate, but the bottom line is you need to protect yourself and your mental health, while also considering the needs of the other person involved. There are different approaches to these troubled waters, and these will be determined by you, the client, and the nature of the issue.

The Responsibility of the Coach

Certain problems can arise from mistakes that you may have made, or areas that you overlooked. If things do not work out between a coach and a client, that is completely fine, but we need to remind ourselves of our role. Honesty and full disclosure from both sides can really aid the entire process and make any trouble more navigable. The more you are able to separate the facts from your feelings and maintain a clear picture, the easier it will be to find the right solution.


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