August 17, 2023

Arghs - you client thinks you made a mistake!

As a coach, your goal is to partner with your clients towards personal growth and success. However, no one is immune to making mistakes, and it's possible that a client might perceive an error on your part. While these situations can be uncomfortable, they also offer valuable opportunities for growth and learning – both for you as a coach and for your client. In this blog post, I'll discuss some effective steps to take if your coaching client thinks you've made a mistake.

1. Stay Calm and Open-Minded:

When a client brings up their concerns or believes you've made a mistake, it's important to remain calm and open-minded. Avoid becoming defensive or dismissive of their feelings. Instead, create a safe space where they can express their thoughts and emotions freely.

2. Active Listening:

Listening is a key component of effective coaching. Give your client your full attention and actively listen to their perspective. This shows them that you respect their feelings and are genuinely interested in understanding their point of view.

3. Validate Their Feelings:

Acknowledging your client's emotions is crucial. Let them know that their feelings are valid and that you appreciate their willingness to communicate their concerns. This validation can help defuse tension and build trust.

4. Seek Clarification:

After your client has expressed their concerns, ask clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand the situation from their perspective. This step helps avoid misunderstandings and allows you to address their concerns more effectively.

5. Reflect on the Situation:

Take some time to reflect on the situation and try to view it from the client’s perspective. This is not about beating yourself up but to see what you can learn. Self-awareness is key to growth, and sometimes, clients can provide valuable insights that help you refine your coaching approach.

6. Apologize if Necessary:

If you genuinely believe you've made a mistake, don't hesitate to apologize. Taking responsibility for your actions can demonstrate humility and strengthen your client-coach relationship. You can always say that you are sorry for the effect of what you said or did even if you did not intend it. Make sure that you do this in a validating way: “O, I am so sorry how this landed with you! I really did not mean it that way but I see I hurt your feelings. Again, I apologize!”

7. Offer Solutions:

Based on your reflection and understanding of the situation, offer potential solutions to address your client's concerns. Collaboratively discuss different approaches that can help rectify the situation and align with their coaching goals.

8. Reiterate Your Commitment:

Assure your client of your commitment to their growth and success. Reiterate your dedication to helping them achieve their goals and let them know that their satisfaction is of utmost importance to you.

9. Learn and Adapt:

Every situation, even the challenging ones, offers an opportunity for learning and growth. Use the experience as a chance to improve your coaching skills. Consider how you can prevent similar misunderstandings in the future and adjust your approach accordingly.

10. Follow Up:

After addressing the concerns, make sure to follow up with your client. Check in on their progress and see if the changes you've implemented have had a positive impact. This demonstrates your ongoing commitment to their development.

In conclusion, encountering a situation where your coaching client thinks you've made a mistake can be uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be detrimental. By approaching these situations with empathy, open-mindedness, and a willingness to learn, you can turn challenges into opportunities for growth – both for yourself and for your client. Remember, the way you handle adversity can showcase your professionalism and dedication as a coach.

If you would like to talk about these and other coaching conundrums or get information on our courses or just hang out with a bunch of likeminded people, why don't you join one of our free coaching meetups and exchanges?

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