12. Do you ever turn away potential clients?

Sometimes. If I sense in our first session that I am not an ideal fit for you, I will say so and direct you to a potentially better resource.

When this happens, it is usually for one of the following reasons:

  • You are in a state of overwhelm, grief, or trauma recovery, without the available energy or mental clarity to commit to coaching. This happens to all of us at times. For clients in this situation, I typically recommend alternatives to coaching that are more effective and less expensive. Coaching requires a certain degree of available energy and existing stability. It’s good to attend to and cultivate your energy and stability before committing to a new growth path.
  • Your primary goal at this point is to be fully seen, understood, and heard. I offer all my clients an empathetic and supportive environment. This in fact is a key ingredient of effective coaching. However, if this is a new experience for you, then spending some time here, perhaps quite some time, can be a necessary step before you become restless, then eager, then committed to pursuing new goals. Coaching can be an effective place to do this work, but it’s expensive compared to other alternatives.
  • Your drive to succeed on someone else’s terms is overriding your own instincts: i.e., your goals are not your own. I can only help you achieve goals that you truly and deeply want to achieve for their own sake. We all, at times, get caught up in other people’s agendas, and I don’t judge clients who are in this situation. I just don’t have a high-value service to offer.
  • You are looking for advice. I am happy to share my subject matter expertise and specific recommendations in the context of our coaching relationship. But coaching requires that we focus first and foremost on what you think, not what I think. If instead of skill development, you’d prefer to receive advice in areas where I have subject matter expertise, I would be delighted to work with you as an advisor or consultant. In my first session with many clients, we often spend some time discovering which kind of relationship will be most fruitful for you now.
  • Your development exceeds my own in ways that would negatively affect the coaching relationship. We can all learn from anybody, but generally speaking no coach can reliably take you past his or her own level of expertise. Although I aim to offer a superlative service, I will let you know in our first session if any shortcomings in my own abilities as a coach would prevent me from me from providing you the value you deserve.

Posted in: Philosophical