As a transformational life coach, it’s important to have a relationship of trust with your clients, so that they feel safe and supported while working with you.
But there are times when it’s also important to have straight, direct, and to-the-point conversations with them from time to time, as needed.
These “tough love” conversations may not always feel comfortable for you to have, but they are often required in order to really serve your clients, and what they want to create for themselves and their lives by means of working with you. After training and certifying hundreds of heart-centered, transformational life coaches at Brave Thinking Institute, I’ve found that many coaches are afraid to have direct conversations with their clients.
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These coaches worry that “lasering in” and sharing an honest perception or concern will actually damage the relationship with the client.
Coaches who feel this way tend to put more attention on preserving the relationship, than on telling the truth.
If you truly want to make a difference in your life coaching clients’ lives, honesty is important
Remember, your clients hired you to help them transform their lives.
For this reason, it’s important to be honest and direct with them, rather than worrying that if you do, they may not like you anymore.
However, being straight and direct with your clients never means that you should be unkind to them.
You can communicate in such a way that, instead of you coming across blunt, uncaring or critical, you actually make your client feel more cared about and connected to you, because you’re willing to help them to see something they may not be able to see on their own.
Here are a few examples of times when you may need to have a “tough love” conversation with a client
Let’s say you’ve noticed that a client has cancelled an appointment with you at the last minute, three times in a row.
Or perhaps a client has been talking for six weeks about a particular action they mean to take, but yet every time they come and see you, they have an excuse for why they didn’t follow through with that action.
Or you can see that your client continues to follow a disempowering pattern of behavior in their life that is creating more and more distance between them, and what they would truly love to be, do, have or create in their life.
In each of these situations, it’s important that you share with your client what, from your perspective, is holding them back from transforming their dreams into reality.
Here’s a “tough love” conversation formula for you to try:
One of the things that you can say is,
“I noticed something that I would like to share with you. It may or may not even be accurate, it’s just what I’m seeing. Is this a good time for us to have a conversation about this?”
By asking this question, you’re seeking to gain permission to share an observation you have with them.
Remember, it’s very difficult to see the whole picture when you’re the one in the frame, so your client will usually highly value your outside perspective.
Once you’ve gained permission to have that conversation, you can continue:
“I’ve noticed a pattern here. For the last few weeks, you’ve said you’re going to take a particular action to move closer toward your dreams, but something got in the way one week, and then something else got in the way the next week, and then something got in the way the third week – and so that action still hasn’t been taken.”
“I’d like to take a closer look at whatever it is that’s getting in your way. Let’s go dig under that, and find out what’s going on that you’re allowing things to get in your way. I want to help you overcome that, because the things you really want are on the other side of that obstacle. What are your thoughts on this?”
Next, give your client an opportunity to respond and share their thoughts and feedback.
Authentic, “tough love” conversations are not easy to have, but with each one, you demonstrate your commitment to serve your client’s highest good.
By means of this, you build a closer and more trusting relationship with your client, which helps them move closer toward their dreams.
And now, here’s a question for you…
What’s an example of a tough love conversation you’ve had with a client?
How did the conversation go, and what were the results in your client’s life?
Go ahead and share your experience with me in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!