Recently, a seasoned coach shared his concerns over a client who was not achieving the progress the client said he wanted.

The key word there:

What the client said he wanted.


Coaches know – sometimes clients can say one thing and in truth, desire something else.

So what are you to do, as a dedicated coach who wants to deliver value AND remain in integrity for accepting your clients’ money?

First, make your client right for being where they are, even (especially!) if they are really stuck.

Remember: Your client is not wrong just because s/he does not exhibit specifically expected signs of progress.

If this concept of making the client right seems evasive to you, work with your mentor coach to determine how to shift yourself so you can see the perfection and opportunity in where the client is, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

Next: Check it out. Use the non-movement as a springboard for discovery.

Be very aware of your own frustration or of any tendency to take on responsibility for your client’s apparent non-movement. This can set you up to make yourself and your client wrong. When this happens, you may start pushing your client rather than catalyzing awareness and growth – which is one of the ways the coach’s agenda can sneak in the back door.

Pay attention to your ability to remain curious, and also – notice where your curiosity tends to go first. Review the following questions to see how they might support you and your client with remaining in (productive) discovery.

-What is the truth about what you really want?

– What are you telling yourself about where you are as compared to where you think you should be?

– Are your actions aligned with your objectives, and are you consistently in action toward what you want? If not, then what/where is the disconnect between actions and words?

– What is perfect about where you are now?

– Is this a time of integration? ( a time when previous growth is being internalized)

– How are your emotions impacting what you are experiencing ?

– What ‘s the truth about what you are plugged into? (Is your time/energy/focus engaged in what you say you want to create, or is it plugged into something else?)

– How realistic are your expectations?

– What steps have you taken or shifts have you made, for which you CAN give yourself credit?

– Are you counting your internal change as movement?

One of the first things you’ll notice about these questions: They don’t push the client to a solution. Instead, they invite the client to self discover, to change his/her relationship with the situation in which they find themselves.They invite your client to learn and grow.

When you don’t push, you open up a space within which your client’s creativity is more accessible.

When you can remain in open-hearted curiosity, you are far less likely to get caught in the trap of pushing for solution or resolution, even when that’s what your client has said s/he wants. This will allow you to be present for the deeper and more valuable exploration with your clients.

Said another way: When your clients seem stuck in the mud, you will be far less likely to jump into the mud with them!

If you want to boost your skills and comfort in turning client frustration in to productive discovery, join me on my free monthly community calls.

To your coaching success!