In today's blog post, I want to talk about how to deal with difficult situations as a coach or service provider but also how to set healthy boundaries so you both you and your clients can benefit.
This is something I have worked really hard on behind the scenes. Making sure I am nurturing myself to become a better coach, but also to help get my clients better results. Plus as you grow and scale it is not a matter of IF uncomfortable situations are going to happen, but when.
There are two situations that I see happen the most. #1) You are growing and scaling as a person and coach, service provider, etc., and some of your clients are not aligned with the new path that you are on.
And #2) Contract and Payments. As in the boundaries that need to be set as a provider of services.
Having Clients Aligned With Your Path
Let's take #1 first. You are growing and pivoting and excited about your next steps and some of your clients or future clients don't understand the path that you are on.
First and foremost, it's important to remember that negative clients and reactions (insert whatever the feedback may be) are not a reflection of your worth or abilities as a person. Which honestly could be this entire post and something that I personally have had to work really hard on. Someone's opinion of what you do is not a reflection of you as a person. Trust me, as a people pleaser this is HARD. You have to separate your worth and feelings from the situation. You know your value, your goals, and what your time is worth. In most cases, each party only sees a portion of the story. Be open and share why you are doing what you are doing, then move on.
Tips to Resolve Difficult Situations
Difficulties may arise due to various reasons, including miscommunication, unmet expectations, or external factors beyond your control. The key is to approach these situations with grace and professionalism. And most of the time, for me at least, it is a conversation. Because you don't know the other side, if you can slow down to listen to their opinion, feedback, or story, a simple personal conversation resolves it. There are a few tips that have helped with this over the years.
- My first tip is to actively listen and empathize with your client. Sometimes, clients just need to vent their frustrations or concerns. By demonstrating that you understand their perspective and genuinely care about finding a resolution, you can build rapport and foster a positive and more favorable environment for problem-solving.
- My next tip is to clearly define boundaries and expectations from the beginning. Establishing transparent communication channels and outlining project timelines, deliverables, and payment terms can help mitigate potential conflicts. When both parties are on the same page, it becomes easier to address any issues that arise and find mutually beneficial solutions.
This leads to the most popular situation #2: Contract and Payments.
Contracts and Payments
No matter what type of service you provide, you should always have boundaries in place from a contractual perspective. This could be as easy as a checkbox they have to check at the time of payment explaining terms and conditions (no refunds, 7-day return policy, etc.) OR a formal contract. It makes it SO much easier to have conversations when these are in place because this helps make it a very factual conversation.
You want to ensure that your contract includes a detailed scope of work. Clearly define the services or products you will provide, specifying what is included and any limitations. This helps manage client expectations and provides a reference point for both parties throughout the project.
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It's crucial to outline the project timeline and key milestones within the contract. Specify deadlines for deliverables and define the consequences or adjustments that may occur if deadlines are not met. By setting realistic and achievable timelines, you can manage client expectations and minimize misunderstandings.
And finally, pricing and payment terms are vital aspects of any contract.
Clearly state your pricing structure, including the cost of your services, payment methods, and any applicable late fees or penalties. Consider including provisions for partial or phased payments to ensure a steady cash flow and protect yourself from potential financial issues.
While I am not a lawyer, I can tell you over and over again that these three pieces are essential. As an example, inside my 1:1 programs, we have Voxer access. I am very clear that I check Voxer daily M-F, but if you need support over the weekend, plan ahead and ask during the week because I do not check it on the weekends. Inside our membership, we give refunds, but there is a process to follow which is very clearly outlined (and sent to you prior to each payment processing).
Why Everyone Benefits
This helps with client expectations, but also, just simply helps everyone plan. By setting clear expectations from the beginning, you can attract clients who align with your expertise and avoid potential misunderstandings.
If you are hosting calls, for example, it's important to set limits on the duration and frequency of coaching sessions. Define the standard session length and the number of sessions included in a coaching package. Establishing these boundaries ensures that both you and your clients have a clear understanding of the coaching commitment and prevents sessions from exceeding their intended scope.
Lastly, don't forget to set boundaries around self-care and our favorite, the mindset work.
Sometimes you have to put blinders on and lead as you see fit without the influence of others.
As a coach, it's essential to prioritize your own well-being to show up as your best self for your clients. Establish a designated time for self-care activities, rest, and personal commitments. This ensures that you have the energy and focus necessary to provide high-quality coaching sessions.
For me personally, I only do two 90-min client sessions per week. I also need time after each session to recharge. It's a lot of brain power for both of us and if I did 3-4 a day, I would be doing a disservice to my clients. High-energy sessions require intentional re-charging and motivational activities on my end. I want to show up as my best self and doing that requires personal work. Walking, reading, and that white space I talk so much about. This is and should be part of your business strategy. It makes you a better person which in turn makes you a better coach. Re-invest in yourself.
Remember, setting personal and professional boundaries as a coach is not only beneficial for you but also for your clients. It allows for a more focused, effective coaching experience and establishes a foundation of mutual respect and trust.
Difficult situations are well, difficult, but by having the right boundaries in place, you can navigate them much easier. I am curious, have you run into any of these recently? How did you navigate them?
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