3 Telltale Signs That You’re Dealing With A Nightmare Client

One of the things I like best about coaching is that I get to meet all kinds of people. My work as a coach allows me to connect and help amazing people from around the world.

People who are dedicated to making their lives better. People who are willing and committed to achieving their goals and making their dreams come true. People who understand that real change — the kind of change that can transform the world — happens one person at a time.

I meet incredible people like this every day. I call them my dream clients.

If you’re a practicing coach, you know what I’m talking about. These are the clients who show up, do the work and keep doing it until they get where they want to go. They’re eager to take the actions, ideas and strategies that you share with them and make things happen.

They make me proud to be a coach.

But there’s a dark side to this because not every client is a dream client. On the other side of the dream client scenario, you’ll find the nightmare client.

There are 2 things you need to keep in mind when it comes to clients like this. The first is that every coach will (sooner or later) encounter a nightmare client. The second is to remember that the true secret to dealing with a nightmare client lies in your ability to spot one as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there are a few telltale signs that will help you identify a nightmare client from the get go.

Telltale Sign #1: Can’t stop complaining

This is the client who can’t stop complaining about the coach he had before you. He’ll go on and on talking about everything the coach did wrong. How he tried his best but never received the support he deserved. How his coach was lazy or overpriced or just no good.

Beware of a client who does this the minute he meets you. While everything he says about his previous coach may be true, it’s a strong sign that you’re dealing with someone who loves to blame others and dwell on failings rather than find solutions.

A client like this is less likely to put in the work that it takes to succeed and far more likely to spend time trying to find what’s wrong with you and your coaching style.

Telltale Sign #2: Busy beyond belief

This is the client who is ALWAYS busy. She’s too busy to attend to the initial get- to-know-you session that you scheduled with her. She’s too busy to follow through on the strategies that you give her.

Clients like this usually give themselves away long before they actually sign up for sessions. They’re the ones who take forever to answer your calls or reply your emails…because they’re just too busy. Understand that when you work with a client like this, you’re unlikely to get them to the place they want to go.

A client who has an extremely stretched schedule will not be able to do the work that it takes to shift her life and both of you will end up disappointed.

Telltale Sign #3: Nonstop messaging, emailing, calling…

This is the client who feels like it’s okay to connect with you at all hours of the day and night, including weekends and national holidays. He calls, messages, emails and leave voice notes about everything that he’s going through or that he perceives to be a problem.

He doesn’t have a clue about boundaries and he probably feels that as his coach, you shouldn’t have any boundaries at all. A client like this will drain your energy.

No good coach will allow this kind of nonstop communication. If you do, you are encouraging the client to depend on you and your expertise instead of learning how to cope using the strategies and techniques that you share during a session.

If you notice any of these signs in soon-to-be or new clients, it’s time to seriously reconsider working with them. Because if you don’t, you and your client are likely to part ways on less than favourable terms.

The two of you would have spent, time, money and energy that you’ll never see again. You’ll both be dejected, disappointed and miserable. So do the brave thing and learn to say no when you should.

All good coaches do.

It’s the ripple effect of making you own life better and of achieving your highest potential that creates the positive changes that can affect hundreds, thousands and maybe millions of people someday.

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