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No Pain No Gain: How Coaches Guide Clients Through Discomfort

Use discomfort as motivation to reach your goals

Running track that says "No Pain, No Gain"
How about "Know Pain, Know Gain"? Pretty clever huh?

Pain is no stranger to us; we all experience it in some form or another in our lives. But what if instead of being a source of suffering and discomfort, we used it as a motivation to propel ourselves forward?

Join us as Brooke Adair Walters (ACC), Jerome LeDuff Jr (MCLC), Anthony Lopez (MCPC), Mike James (ACC) and Kyle Rodriguez (MCPC) as we explore how pain can be used as a tool to push us out of our comfort zone and into something new. We'll discuss how to recognize and address pain in the coaching space, how to motivate our clients through it, and how to use it to market to our niche. Let's turn pain into gain!

Time to Grow UP!

Gone are the days of scraped knees and wanting mom and dad to make us feel better. We tend to learn as an adult that pain is lingering, pain is emotional, pain is inhibiting.

The fact is that many of us become well acquainted with all sorts of pain in our lives and relieving pain becomes our prime motivator for change.

The Gain

So you’re in pain. How do you fix it?

Pain is an indicator. It’s a symptom of another problem. It is meant to bring our awareness to that problem. In the coaching space, when we identify a pain point, we lean into that, so our client can start to identify solutions After noticing that the pain exists and identifying the cause, the client can then address it.

This is often difficult for new coaches because we want to provide solutions immediately. But it's not our job to fix pain. It’s not our goal to solve all suffering our client experiences. They set the goals for the coaching contract, we can only offer a reanalysis as we move forward in the coaching process.

Pain is also subjective. Take a runner for example, running is a painful activity for most people. It demands so much from our bodies. Runners often adapt to the pain and learn to move through it. In our live, Anthony had a client who experienced pain in the mornings that was interfering with her running schedule. He asked if she wanted to address the pain and develop a solution to minimize it but she chose to run through it. Instead, she wanted to work on accepting the pain as part of her experience. Anthony could have pushed the point but instead allowed his client to guide the session and decide her own goals.

Now, most clients don’t come into the coaching space fully self-aware of how to reach all of their goals. If that were the case, they probably wouldn’t need coaching. When clients are feeling pain, we can call it out to them and leave space for the client to analyze whether this is something they want to work on for themselves.

As coaches, we also have the opportunity to observe our clients as they talk and notice when they’re experiencing pain. Body language, tone of voice, facial expressions all help us identify painful points in a client’s session. This is an indicator that we can share this change with our client, allowing them to share more about their pain. It may be an opportunity to open doors for our client.

How do we know to bring awareness to the client?

Coach bringing awareness to clients in a group session

Our clients can become so used to their experience that they don’t notice pain is attached to it. If we’re noticing it and bring awareness to it and the client decides not to delve into it, that’s not a failed interaction. We’ve respected their boundaries and made sure that we understood our client in that moment.

If it’s a tougher pain point and the client is triggered, we now know that that’s a sore spot and not to dig deeper. That is the job of a mental health professional, not the coach.

It may be tempting to try to bring the pain point up again in the future. This is a mistake as it makes coaching about us and not the client. We’re trying to solve our curiosity, not help the client in these moments. It’s our job to meet the client where they’re at and join the world they’ve created without bringing our judgements and hopes into it.

Lean Into the Uncomfy

Woman on the bed in the fetal position
I'd be uncomfortable too on a bed with dead plants all over it

I have a friend who adamantly avoids anything that she deems “uncomfy.” She wants to stay in her comfort zone because it feels safe there. She knows what to expect and leaving the comfort zone is scary. And yes, sometimes we find painful experiences outside our comfort zones. But leaving the comfort zone is also where we find new things, encounter new experiences, and experience new joys.

There are moments where coaching is uncomfy. Coaching is often outside the comfort zone for the client. Our clients are good at maintaining their status quo and to change that is uncomfortable. It’s our job to work with clients and identify how to get comfortable being uncomfortable and move forward to wards their goals.

Motivated Through the Pain

Ultimately, the discomfort caused by pain makes pain a great motivator. Most people begin to seek coaching services due to a pain point that pushes them to want to change or address it.

This is why we always address pain points in the marketing day of our Coaching 101 class. The best way coaches can target their niche is by identifying the pain points their ideal clients are experiencing and marketing towards those.

Pain is frequently the cause that pushes clients into leaving their comfort zone and it’s our responsibility to guide them through the process. Instead of the quick fix that won’t help our client achieve their goals, we focus on long term solutions that will provide lasting results and encourage clients by celebrating the achievement of micro goals. When clients say, “I can’t do that,” we ask them, “What is a step that you can achieve?”

We don’t let pain stop our clients from achieving their goals but instead allow it to motivate them. That is the benefit of pain and how coaches turn it into gain.


Thank you,

Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr, Anthony Lopez, Mike James, and Kyle Rodriguez!

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1 Comment

A good post, I definitely agree with what the author wrote, without all these obstacles that come our way in life, we would not be able to become stronger, especially here, in our time when competition is growing exponentially and when you need to break through all these difficulties. But I am sure that those who pass these tests become one level higher than others, and it cannot be otherwise. That is why I am very happy that coaching helps people to overcome their clamps and overcome problems on their life path.

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