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Updated: May 11, 2021


There are many reasons why clients may not move forward with the goals that they have established for themselves. Our job as their coach is to identify the blocks that prevent them from continuing to move forward. The following common mistakes happen to all coaches at one time or another. Professional coaches must constantly be on the lookout for some of these unproductive behaviors.

1. Interrupting the client with a desire to assist or save time.

Most clients need time and a safe space to talk about particular issues they may be experiencing. Some coaches feel that it is not necessary or beneficial for their clients to talk at length about a particular issue or problem that they have in their lives. Allowing your client to "empty out their feelings" is important and coaches should allow them to speak without interruption from the coach. The process of emptying out their feelings may allow the problem to lose its power over them. Clients sometimes have few people in their lives that they can really talk to. Be one of those people.

2. Not using the 80-20 rule

Coaches sometimes do too much talking. The client has the answers. It is the job of the coach to guide their clients to find their own answers.

Listen 80% of the time, talk 20% of the time.

A coach's job is to listen to their clients without judgment or an agenda. If a coach begins to judge the client, then they have lost their objectivity. A judgment or an agenda on the coach's part will undermine the trust that they have established and destroy the safe space they have created for their clients to share their true feelings. Giving advice when in fact your client just needs to be heard is a common problem with inexperienced coaches.

3. Fear that you will fail as a professional coach.

Beginning your practice as a professional coach can be scary.

  • How do I get clients?

  • Will I know enough to be able to help them?

  • Will I get enough clients to make enough money?

  • What does it take to set up a practice?

These are all common fears that a new life coach may have. Our Institute recognizes these fears and helps you overcome them in a variety of ways. We provide a complete system of ongoing support after the class is over to help you to:

  • Set up and market your practice.

  • Overcome the "first client jitters".

  • Be able to bounce off your ideas with other more experienced coaches through friendships established at the class with your fellow students and instructors.

... And much more.

4. Not "Managing the Fixer" in You

Coaches may feel that they have perfectly logical and realistic answers for their clients so they will give them advice by telling them what they think is best. We may think we have the answers, but the answers must come from the client, not the coach. Change is hard for everyone, but the changes will not be long-lasting or will not "stick" if they are not initiated by the client.

5. Not Putting Yourself in Your Client's World

Seeing your clients lives from their perspective is the best way you can help them. Forcing your clients to adopt your life approach, principles, or beliefs is not effective.

Remember - you must take your own shoes off before you can walk in someone else's.

6. Not Watching or Listening for Subtle Clues

Not hearing or watching for small clues that clients always give the coach about what is most important to them and the changes they really want to make, can prevent positive change from occurring. Effective listening will help the coach determine what feelings are really behind their client's words. Don't be led down rabbit holes because you can't see the real problem, opportunity, or situation.

7. Not Knowing the Right Questions to Ask

Asking the right questions is one reason why coach training is so important. Asking appropriate questions at the right time is key to guiding your client to success. Coaches are guides and collaborators in helping their clients achieve their goals. If the clients want advice, they can talk to their best friend, co-worker, or their mother; they don't need you!

Becoming a Life Coach is a rewarding and fulfilling career. With the right training and proper techniques, you can effectively lead your clients to accomplish the goals they've been striving for.

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