What to do when you don′t click with your client

What to do when you don′t click with your client

20 April 2016

I like this song lyric, and it is a question that often comes up in our coaching classes. Do we have to love our clients?

This is of course a deeply philosophical question. But it′s an important question, because coaches don’t always feel that the people we coach are people they are naturally drawn to, or like.

Professionalism says that we need to be able to manage and overcome any feelings about our clients that might get in the way of connecting with them. I would go further and make a distinction between liking someone and loving someone. We don’t always like the things people say or do, or what they wear, or their perfume or aftershave. But we can look past our dislikes and see the human being behind them.

One quick method that works well when I have found myself working with a person who is challenging my preferences is to see them in my mind as the baby they once were. I find babies fascinating and wondrous, and evoking your client as a baby quickly in the imagination shifts your internal space. Often it will defuse whatever you dislike about their adult personas.

We can then have a position as a coach where we understand there are some aspects of people that we don’t like, but we can love them for their humanness. Find your own way to work with this. Not everyone likes babies of course, but that′s ok. We all have ways of connecting ourselves with human love in our minds. Finding that out for ourselves, and then using it positively when working with our clients, is useful to both them and us. They will feel the change in your attitude and feeling towards them, which will help them, in turn, to connect with you.