As a corporate consultant working with industry leaders on their executive presence, I’ve had corporate clients reach out and ask me to “fix” one of their leaders. I’ve had to push back and let them know I don’t have a magic wand. Fixing people is not part of my consulting and coaching practice.
Yet, I think many business coaches and consultants fall into this trap. It’s a no-win proposition for you and your client when you get into the fix people game. Which is why I encourage my business coaching clients to help people fix themselves. How can you empower your clients to fix themselves?
Here are five strategies I’ve used to get transformative results for my clients:
1) Be clear about what you can and can’t do
Right from the beginning make it clear to the client, or corporate buyer, that you’re not in a position to fix their problem. Your role is to diagnose the problem, by helping them see what’s getting in the way of greater success. Then you will be at their side to educate, guide, and provide examples to help them overcome any obstacles. As they implement what they’re learning, you will offer candid and honest feedback and hold them accountable. This is all motivated by having their best interest at heart, but they have to be willing to do the actual work.
2) Make sure they take ownership of their choices
As a coach or consultant, you need to encourage your clients to take responsibility for their challenges. They have to stop blaming everyone else for their issues. When they start the blame game – call them on it. Trust me, you’ll hear it coming out loud and clear. If they are blaming others, the economy, or some other circumstances, you need to help them see their life today is made of up a series of choices they made over the years. Perhaps they took the easy path instead of the growth path?
Accepting and owning their challenges is the first step in overcoming them. They need to see how their decisions, choices, actions, or behavior created this problem. It’s easy to stay comfortable and keep doing what we’re already doing, but help them see that this approach doesn’t lead to transformational changes.
3) Do your own inner work
Anytime your clients are looking to overcome a challenge or setback it involves making uncomfortable and difficult changes. Are you willing to do the same? You need to do your own inner work before you can help your clients with transformational changes. For you, this might be changing how you work with clients, moving into working with higher-level clientele, or finally making that decision to let those lower-fee clients go.
Recently, I was talking with my business coaching client, Michelle Horne, about how she had to change her own inner game and work on her mindset issues before she could help her clients at a deeper level. I believe that’s why she has a flourishing evergreen private client business. Are you modeling deep inner work for your clients? This is part of the success formula for attracting motivated clients for a lifetime.
4) Commit to longer engagements
Stop offering one-stop a la carte services. Service offerings that are shortcuts end up shortchanging your client. The coaching process takes time. The first ninety days of working with a client is time you should spend diagnosing their challenges and getting to know them. The next ninety days, they should be practicing your methods and applying your advice, and as a result, start seeing big results. It’s the longer programs where you’ll see clients making long-term sustainable changes. Think of how you can expand your client work to help them transform their lives.
5) Make sure they’re all in
“Are you interested or committed?” This is a question I frequently ask prospects or new clients. If you are interested in doing something, it’s nice but once life gets in the way you go back to your old habits. That’s why statistics show that once people stop working with a coach or consultant, they often backslide to where they were before. But when you combine commitment with coaching the results can be astounding. 80% of people who hire a coach or consultant report an improvement in self-confidence which is why they getter better results than when they attempt changes on their own.
Find out during your initial Discovery Call, if this person is committed or just interested. If they’re not committed, then they’re not ready for coaching with you, because you work with people who are all in! When I work with clients who are committed to taking action to achieve their goals, it’s amazing the predictable success they start to achieve at higher levels than they ever thought possible.
Throughout the last year, I’ve helped many private and corporate leaders enhance their executive presence. Corporate buyers ask me later, “How were you able to do all that?” Now you know the answer! It’s not by fixing people, it’s by empowering people to fix themselves. When your clients see the results that are possible when they fully commit and act on your advice, they will become long-term clients and refer others as well!
Sarah’s Predictable Results Insights
- How can you better communicate your role to new coaching clients?
- What deep inner work should you focus on to be a role model for your clients?
- How can you shift away from a la carte services and into longer-term work that leads to transformative results?
If you need support from a private coach or a mastermind community to become a more insightful and transformative coach that consistently gets results, reach out to me at 1-800-267-3245 for a complimentary strategy session to see how we may be of service to you.