In this episode Michelle tackles some real life coaching situations that have come up with our community members. From clients that don’t do the work to how to handle cancellations/rescheduling…she’s here to share 13 years of experience and make your life easier. And don’t forget this upcoming free training, “Know Exactly What To Write & Attract More Clients” at http://HealthCoachPower.com/writing
Real Life Coaching Situations, Handled
As health coaches, we’re in the business of working with people. And working with people can lead to some wild, confusing, and frustrating situations that you didn’t learn how to handle in school. I’m here to share literally 13 plus years of experience and make your lives a little bit easier.
The disappearing act
How do you react to clients who don’t keep you updated with how they’re doing? They just disappear until your next call. This is actually my favorite kind of client. You know why? Because coaching only lasts so long and I’m not trying to build codependent relationships with my health coaching clients! Check-ins are good for some, but if they’re off doing their thing, they’re making progress, they come back and we have our next session. It can be powerful.
There’s nothing good or bad about updates; some people need them and some people don’t. Some clients will do it automatically anytime they want, every single day. And other clients won’t do it at all. But if you have a client that you think could benefit from it, why not reach out to them and set up a time to check in. With my clients, I might offer to do this as a touchpoint of accountability. Then I’m the one to initiate that check in. I let them come up with the process, the day, the time and whether they want to be held accountable to write back to me. Let the client tell you what they need in order to get the most out of your work together.
No work and no results
Sometimes it seems like a client just isn’t putting in the work – and they’re not seeing results, either. If that’s the case, I would think about the sessions a little bit differently. If someone says they’re going to do XYZ and then they don’t do XYZ, you as a coach can think, well, is XYZ too large? Do we need to break that down? Is XYZ something that they don’t actually care about? What might be a better action plan?
Have that conversation. Call out the elephant in the room. It’s only going to build trust between you and your client and help you get over that hump together.
The non-stop talker
What about a client who talks the whole time, so you’re not able to ask questions to get them thinking? In my health coaching practice I work with a type of woman who is highly stressed out. Often she gets on the phone with me and she gets going, and it’s like she’s never going to stop.
I see that as her nervous system in overdrive. Good information! Sometimes I let her just blow off some verbal steam for a minute or two. Then, I like to (lovingly) call my clients out on it. This is not pointing the finger at them like they’re doing something wrong! Let’s say the person’s name is Pam. I’ll just say, “Pam.” And sometimes they keep talking right over me. So then I just do it again, “Pam,” until she pauses because she heard her name. Then, “I’m noticing how quickly you’re talking. You haven’t taken a breath since we got on the phone.” And that brings her self awareness and she’ll usually laugh and that’s when she breathes. And then you both laugh and you both breathe and it feels much better.
Just bringing awareness to the patterns that you see is a powerful tool in your coaching sessions. Try it out.
Do you have clients constantly canceling or rescheduling? Are you scheduling sessions too much? Too little? Just right? Only you and your clients are going to know what’s working.
Consider what type of person you’re working with. If you’re working with a person with a very busy schedule, an hour every week is a lot. But if you’re working with someone who is a stay-at-home mom or they’re recently retired or whatever it is, then they might have that hour a week and it could be great for them.
Time is not the same for everyone. It’s kind of like money – some people think they don’t have enough. Others have the same amount of time, but it’s plenty for them. So is it working for you and your clients? That’s all you need to know.
That said, most health coaches I know (myself included) meet with our clients every other week because between holidays, special events, and just things happening in people’s lives, that’s what works. You may still get a lot of rescheduling going on.
The way that I set things up with my clients is that they have X number of sessions to use within a certain time period, rather than a specific schedule. This is a more flexible, customizable structure. I usually allow grace, so if they have one or two sessions remaining, we might roll over the time limit by a week or two, that’s no big deal. But if you have a client who really just cancels on you and reschedules every time, you are completely within your rights to stick to the package expiration date. It helps to draw boundaries.
I also have a 24 hour rescheduling policy. If they cancel or try to reschedule 30 minutes before the meeting, that’s a missed meeting. Again, it helps to draw boundaries.
What does your client need?
It can be frustrating when our clients behave in ways that don’t make sense to us! Usually, the answer goes back to figuring out what needs aren’t being met. Do they need help with accountability? Do they need more meaningful goals? Do they need a more flexible scheduling option? Once you can see the why behind the situation, you can use it as an opportunity to build your relationship with your client. This will make your coaching even more powerful.
Well hello there, health coaches. I am Michelle Leotta and today we're going to be tackling some real-life coaching situations coming up among all of our community members from clients that, you know, don't know how to handle, rescheduling themselves, making cancellations, causing all sorts of issues like that, uh, to clients that don't do the work and they don't show up, you know,
And we can talk about it also, if you haven't already signed up for next week's free training. What are you waiting for? It's called, "Know exactly what to write and attract more clients." And I'll be teaching all the copywriting tips and tricks that you guys are always asking. For many of you in my audience, you are consistently saying, how can I make this easier? How can I be more effective when I sit down to write emails or write my social media post, or I gotta write my website? Ugh. And it's such a bear. You are tired of staring at a blank screen. I know. So I want you to join us. It is completely free at healthcoachpower.com/writing. I'm gonna say that again, just in case anyone missed it. It's healthcoachpower.com/writing, and we'll be getting started next week. So I'm here to take your questions live again. If you are live with me, that is the beauty of a live broadcast. Tell me in the chat, what are you dealing with? What kind of weird stuff are your clients pulling?
Are they confusing? You are they doing things that you never thought that they would. Here is something that Monica brought up inside of our Facebook group. Let's talk about it. Monica said, I was wondering how to react to clients who do not put in the work, or keep me updated with how they're doing. And they just disappear until our next call. Have you had clients like that? I'm kind of seeing two different things here. So, I wanna talk about them separately. Monica one is the idea of a client who just kind of disappears and does their own thing and they don't check in and you have no contact with them until the next call. I like to call this my favorite kind of client. You know why? Because coaching only lasts so long and I'm not trying to build codependent relationships with my health coaching clients. You know what I mean? I mean, check-ins are good and all, but if they're off, they're doing their thing. They're making progress. They come back, we have our next session. It's powerful. I mean, there's nothing inherently wrong with not having the updates in between. Some people need 'em some people don't. So, Hey, that's cool.
But the other part of what you wrote here is when clients are not putting in the work, which I'm reading, I'm, I'm assuming that means that they're also not seeing results. So if that's the case, I would use the sessions a little bit differently. I would definitely talk about that. If it's just someone who says they're going to do X, Y, Z, and then they don't do X, Y, Z. I mean, you, as a coach can think, well, is X, Y, Z too large. Do we need to break that down? Is X, Y, Z, something that they don't actually care about, but I suggested they do. And maybe that's why it's not happening. There's so many reasons why your client may not be doing the things that they set out to do have that conversation, you know, just air out the dirty laundry, call up elephant in the room. There's nothing wrong with that at all. And it's only going to build trust between you and your client and help you get over that hump together.
So one of the things you might also talk about is would it be useful for me to check in with you because some clients are gonna do it automatically. They're gonna say, oh, I know I can check in with Michelle. Anytime I want, let me do that every single day. Like I said, other clients won't do it at all. But if you have a client that you think could benefit from it, why not reach out to them and you know, and set up a time, Hey, I'm going to ping you every Wednesday. And you know, you can get back to me if you want, you don't have to, but I'm going to do that as a touchpoint of accountability for you. I use Voxer with my clients. That's my favorite way to provide that. One-on-one like check in support between sessions. So that's what I do for some of my clients.
We agree on a day and I put it in my calendar. And then I'm the one to initiate that check in. And then we just have an agreement as to how that's going to work. I let them come up with the process the day, the time do they want to be held accountable to write back to me? They do. They just wanna get the check in for me. And that's enough for their busy schedule. Let the client tell you what they need in order to get the most out of your work together. So I hope that's helpful, Monica. Um, and I would love to hear in the chat again, what client situations are coming up for you guys, whether you're working with paying clients or practice clients, go ahead and put that in the chat. Now I'm sure I'll have time to get to a few of those before we wrap up today.
I have another one here that is from Tanisha and Tanisha says, I have a client who likes to talk the whole time. We have a session. So I'm not able to ask questions to get the client thinking. Sounds like this client just has diarrhea of the mouth. I've had clients like that. She says I'm barely able to provide recommendations for the client to do. Any advice on how I should handle sessions like these? So Tanisha, I don't know about you, but I know I don't know about all you guys, but I work with a lot of women that are highly stressed out in my health coaching practice. So, when a woman gets on the phone and she's, and it's like, she's never gonna stop. I, I see that as, okay. Her nervous system is in overdrive right now. Got it. Good information. And sometimes I let her just blow off some of that verbal steam that she needs to for a minute or two. I like to again, call my clients out on it.
This is not in a mean way. This is not like pointing the finger at them, like they're doing something wrong, but I'll say whatever their name is. Let's say the person's name is Pam. I'll say Pam. And sometimes they keep talking right over me. So then you just do it again. Pam, until they pause, 'cause they've heard their name
If I notice again that they're talking incessantly, Pam, know that thing, we talked about a few minutes ago, it's happening again? How are you feeling? Do you notice it? Right? So just bringing awareness to the problem or bringing awareness to the patterns that you see is a really powerful tool in your coaching sessions. Try it out. Tamisha. I'd love to hear how it works.
I have... That does remind me of a client that I had one time and she spoke so quickly during our first one or two sessions. And then, um, later on, after we'd been working together for several months, I noticed she calmed down, right? No, no joke. We like it was like a very obvious thing that was gonna happen from my perspective, when somebody stops eating so much sugars and drinking so much, caffeine also just feels more safe in our coaching space.
The cadence of our conversation slowed down and I brought that to her attention too. I said, you know what? I hear you pausing to take a breath every now and then you didn't use to do that.
Okay. Here is another one from Jenny. Jenny says, how often are you all meeting with clients? My current program is set up three hours a month at 60 minute sessions each. So basically we meet for one hour a week and the fourth week is a cushion. If we need to reschedule one of the three sessions, I was told that many people would object to that time commitment, especially clients working full time. So what has worked for you all Jenny? Who, who told you that? I'm always curious. Yeah. I was told that this was a good idea. I was told that this was a bad idea. I mean, I think really only you are going to know if this works for your clients. My first question is what type of person are you working with? Because if you're working with a person with a very busy schedule, a lot of demands on their time an hour, every week is a lot. It's, it's a lot. I would anticipate there being a lot of rescheduling in that case. But if you're working with someone who is a stay-at-home mom or they're recently retired or whatever it is, then they probably have that hour a week and it could be very powerful for them.
So, you know, time is not the same for everyone. It's kind of like money, you know, some people think they don't have enough. Some people have had the same amount of time, but it's plenty for them. So is it working for you? That's the only thing I would ask, is it working for you and your clients and that if it is then there's nothing wrong with that at all? I would say that most health coaches, I know, and for myself, we meet with our clients every other week because between holidays, special events, just things happening in people's lives, the unexpected things happening in people's lives. Even with every other week, you get a lot of rescheduling going on. So trying to get in a meeting every single week, that's challenging. It really is. Um, but again, depends who you're working with. Um, I really like this idea that you're building in that fourth week as a cushion.
I think you're gonna need it.
So it helps to, you know, draw boundaries around that kind of thing. Um, and I find that we have a lot more flexibility. If I say we have, you know, six number.... Let's say it's six, six sessions to use within a four month period. Then they could be used. However, the client needs them. If they're going through a hard time, then maybe we are gonna meet every week or even twice a week at some points. And then maybe we skip two or three weeks. It's, it's a bit more customizable that way. And I find, it just takes some of the pressure off having to like, oh, we gotta get those two sessions in this month.
And I have a question here from Jessica and Jessica's saying on your programs, what is your cancellation policy? If a client has paid for twice a month agreement, and for some reason they have to cancel one session for that month, do you reschedule in the same month if they can or push the session to next month? How do you handle that? So, Jessica, that very much falls in line with what I was just saying. I think like having the expectation that two sessions are always gonna happen in every calendar month is unrealistic and you're gonna always run into these issues. Like, what are you gonna do? Are you going to, like, it has to happen in that month or else it's skipped. They just don't get that session. You're gonna push it into the next month. But are you gonna allow, how many of those are you gonna allow to add up? Because eventually you could end up with, they have to use, you know, six sessions within one month.
So you just need to draw your boundaries around it. And like I said, I prefer to name the number of sessions over the entire period of time that we're gonna be working together and then try to get them on and every other week schedule. But there's room for variation within that. Um, in general, though, if this is what you have set up, I would be accommodating to a client who is showing respect honoring your time. If they have to reschedule, like I have a 24 hour rescheduling policy. If they try to reschedule, you know, 30 minutes before the meeting, that's a missed meeting. But if you have a client who really is respectful of your time, I tend to be very respectful of theirs. And I tend to make greater accommodations than someone who seems to be taking my time for granted. So, you know, you can use your judgment here.
There's no one way to do it, but you might be setting yourself up for problems. If you try to always have them do two sessions within the same month. Okay, we seem to be having quite a bit of problems over in Facebook land. I can see that as cutting out for a lot of people. If you guys are ever watching on Facebook and it does that, you know, blame Zuckerberg, what can I say? We always have recordings of these episodes in multiple places. You can find us on YouTube. You can find these episodes on apple podcasts. You can find it on Spotify. I really do like to interact with you while we are here live, but that being, uh, impossible every now and then, because of technical issues, don't worry. We always have you covered on lots and lots of different platforms.
So, before I sign off for today, I just wanna remind you one more time that we have our free training coming up next week. To help you with your writing skills. It's called know exactly what to write and attract more clients. This is going to be very fun, something a little different from what we normally do, but it's like one of these skills that if you can get this under these like tools in your tool belt, your writing tool belt, everything else you're gonna do with your marketing is going to come so much easier. And it's a topic that's near and dear to my heart because before I became a health coach, I worked in the big ad ad agencies. I worked in the creative department and we did all the ads. We wrote all the copy for all the big name brands out there. I'm gonna bring what I know to you from that experience. And also for writing in my own health coaching business through the years. So please join us. It's free at healthcoachpower.com/writing, and I will see you there and I will see you next week. Have a great one. Everybody take care.
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