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Are You Coaching a Reject?

Are your clients feeling dejection from rejection?

A woman sitting at a table rejected by her peers
This woman is rejected by her peers, probably because she's the only one without a life coach.

Rejection hurts. When we experience it, it feels personal because it requires someone else to perform an act (intentional or not) and we feel like we’ve been sized up and found lacking.


But we at CLCI Live will never reject you! Join us as Jerome LeDuff Jr (MCLC), Anthony Lopez (MCPC), Jen Long (MCPC), and Lisa Finck (PCC) discuss methods to handle rejection in our personal lives and the coaching space.

What differentiates rejection from failure?

Rejection and failure both feel bad. But where failure results from a lack of success, rejection results from judgment. When we feel rejected, we feel like we’ve been appraised and our personhood has been dismissed. Failure also has the connotation that you can try again, but rejection carries the weight of finality unless we’re explicitly given a chance to try again. Because it is so personal, rejection feels like we are the failure.


However, rejection doesn’t have to be taken personally; there is nothing that necessitates that viewpoint. Lots of rejections occur objectively, without personal judgment involved. To give an example:


Consider a hiring manager who is looking for applicants for a job position that requires specific qualifications. To discourage others from applying without meeting those qualifications, the job posted would automatically reject applicants that didn’t meet the requirements. This is one example where a rejection is made objectively, without judgment or personal feelings attached.


Would the rejected applicant be justified in feeling wronged by this? Most would say no. So why should you feel wronged about every rejection?


Dealing with Rejection

A person at a desk with their head down and thumb up
Sometimes you just do the best you can to cope.

When dealing with rejection, it’s helpful to take a step back and consider the reasons for it without bringing your personal feelings into it. Having a full knowledge of yourself and your responses to rejection can help you prepare for when it inevitably comes. You can accept the rejection and release the negative energy. Looking at rejection through an objective lens helps ease the hurt caused by it.


As coaches, we provide a safe space and the objective perspective, so clients can explore feelings like rejection. Through coaching, we can help clients reframe their rejection and see it for what it really is. Once the client generates their new perspective, they can work on what they can do that rejection. Namely, how do they move forward with their goals?


When We Reject Ourselves

We don’t always need others to reject us. We can also “pre” reject ourselves (preject?), preventing us from moving forward with a goal out of fear of rejection. When we reject ourselves, we stop trying. We anticipate a rejection and try to save ourselves from the hurt it will cause first. Our own feelings interrupt our chances for success.


Here is the best question to ask if you are a coach and you see your client rejecting themselves or their goals/desires:


“How does that serve you?”

Many clients will concede and say that "it doesn't serve them" or that it's actually against their interests to reject themselves. DO NOT BUY THAT FOR A SECOND. Every pre-rejection serves a purpose, otherwise the client wouldn't have done it in the first place. Have your client spell out exactly how the pre-rejection serves them at that moment. The answer will give your client a deeper insight into the problem and its possible underlying solutions.


Coaching Through Rejection

Many clients will come in wanting to make leaps and bounds toward their goals but—having been rejected in prior leaps—are afraid to move forward due to these experiences. This is a reasonable fear as we can lose time and resources from failed attempts. But when we don’t take the final leap, we will never get anything that flies.


Coaches can also explore when risks have succeeded and when they’ve failed as a tool to analyze the difference between the two. The reality is that every situation is unique and that past examples of rejection/failure are NOT indicative of the future.


It can also be powerful for clients to realize that they will experience rejection no matter what they do. They either reject themselves or open themselves up to rejection from others. Either way, they’re still experiencing rejection, just one of them has the opportunity to turn into acceptance.


Rejection in the Coaching Space?


It's possible that when you challenge your client's beliefs or thoughts, they take it as a rejection; however, coaches who use the tools discussed in CLCI's Coaching 101 class to challenge client beliefs do so while ensuring they feel safe and supported.


If a client feels rejected by their coach, it is often an underlying sign that they are looking for the coach’s approval. As coaches, we aren’t here to give approval. If they’re looking for advice, remind the client that we’re not here to give advice but to help them find what works best for them. Ask them what makes the coach’s advice better than the client’s. We are all individual people and advice comes from our personal experiences. The things that work for ourselves aren’t one size fits all and are not guaranteed to work for another person.


To a certain degree, coaches can also reject clients. This typically occurs during the intake phase. It could also be done through marketing by using words that will filter out clients that are not going to be helped by the specific coach. Don’t be afraid to reject clients early on so you’re not wasting anyone’s resources.


When rejecting the client relationship, reframe it as education. It’s not a personal attack on the person, we just want them to know that we don’t think they’ll benefit from our specific kind of coaching. If possible, make recommendations to other coaches or other providers if needed.


In conclusion, don’t be afraid of rejection. Use it to your advantage. You can be the best thing ever but still not appeal to everyone. And remember, Certified Life Coach Institute will never reject you!

 

Thank you,


Jerome LeDuff Jr (MCLC), Anthony Lopez (MCPC), Jen Long (MCPC), and Lisa Finck (PCC)!


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