A coaching student recently asked me a question I’ve heard many times over the past 15 years:
What do you do when clients disappear?
This coach had a new client who enrolled, showed up for the first session and then canceled subsequent sessions, finally disappearing all together.
And by the way, this can happen for internal corporate coaches as well as independent coaches.
When you experience clients disappearing, especially in the early years of your coaching practice, it can trigger self questioning, including:
1) Did you do something wrong? AKA – How effective is your coaching….really?
2) How do you know if you’re using the “right” coaching approach for a particular client in a particular situation?
3) Is coaching really a viable income generator?
4) Can YOU really make it as a coach?
This self questioning can lead to a downward spiral in your trusting yourself as a coach, which will compromise your attraction in the market.
How does the Disappearing Client Phenomenon show up? There are several possibilities.
I’m not talking here about clients who are ready to graduate from their work with you and who go through a conscious completion process.
No, this is about the ones who are there……and then they aren’t.
This includes prospective clients who enthusiastically say, after doing an initial consult with you, they want to hire you and get started, and then – they are never seen or heard from again.
Or the new client shows up for one, two, three sessions and then – misses sessions, and does not return emails or phone messages.
Also, there’s the longer term client who seems to disconnect from you and your work together. Either they just sort of fade away or everything else in the world becomes more important than keeping a coaching session appointment.
All of these can rock your confidence in yourself and your coaching, which in turn can unplug you from your passion. But take heart – If you learn how to recognize the patterns in the underlying causes for the Disappearing Client Phenomenon, you can shift this for yourself.
Stay tuned for part 2 where we look at those underlying causes for Disappearing Clients.
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Thanks for writing this. I’m just starting in Marketing consultation, and I had an enthusiastic prospect agree to a consultation, then never follow through with the agreed upon prepayment. After trying to reach them about rescheduling, I got no response. I did start to question myself and my methods, then I reminded myself it’s not necessarily anything I did wrong.
I have been the disappearing client before myself, so I know there are myriad reasons for this. It feels good to get confirmation from another coach, though.
Michelle, so glad to know the article was useful. Yes – you are SO not the only one to experience this with prospective clients.