Coaching to Avoid “NO” in Discovery Sessions?

What’s the most difficult part of enrolling new coaching clients?

For most coaches, it’s getting a “No”.

“No” means rejection.

“No” means no new coaching client.

“No” means stagnant coaching income.

But sometimes “No” is the best answer for your client.

Maybe coaching isn’t right for them…


…or ever!

What if you knew if “no” was the right answer for your client

…even before they do?

Would you feel differently about “no”…?

Imagine that you knew it was the “right thing” to say “no” to coaching FOR your client.

Imagine that YOU were the one leading that conversation.

Would you still feel the rejection that usually comes along with a “No”?

Even better…

What if you discovered your own fear of rejection

…was triggering your client’s tension or resistance?

What if you set your own validation aside

…instead, acting solely on behalf of your client?

What if you took responsibility for the ‘No’?

What if you took the “lead” with the ‘No’?

Here’s what would happen:

Your worries around a potential “no” would disappear.

…then you’d focus 100% on contributing to your client

…no matter what happened at the end of your discovery sessions.

And, if you focused 100% on contributing to your clients…

…you’d eventually get more client’s saying “yes” than you’ll ever need.

When Should You Say “no” to Your Prospective Client?

NO #1: When you want it more than your client does

Often you can see how much your coaching will help your potential client.

And because you want to help so much…

…you could easily end up ‘wanting to coach’ more than your client ‘wants the coaching’.

But coaching doesn’t always help… no matter how much you want it to help.

And coaching especially doesn’t help clients who don’t want coaching!

If you find yourself…

  • Tense…
  • anxious about the outcome…
  • pushing for the enrollment…

…it’s a sign that you’re attached to them enrolling in coaching.

If you’re that attached…

…you likely want it more than they do.

The problem with ‘wanting the coaching’ more than your client does?

Even if coaching is a good fit for your client, they will sense your attachment to the outcome

…which is ‘client repellent’.

Even if coaching is a good fit for your client, they will sense your attachment to the outcome…which is ‘client repellent’.”

Instead, develop a keen awareness of how much your prospective client wants the coaching, and don’t offer coaching to them if they don’t really want it.Even if YOU really want to coach them, tell them “I can’t offer you coaching because you’re not up for it at this time.”

No chart for prospective client

NO #2: When your potential client isn’t willing to do the work

Some potential clients will tell you…

  • “I don’t have the money.”
  • “I don’t have the time.”
  • “I need to wait until… ”

…when they’re really just not willing to do the work.

You’ve got to hold your client’s feet to the fire on this.


If your client can’t be honest about their lack of willingness to put in the work, then they can’t take coaching from you.

Assuming they get honest with you, the next step is getting your client to commit to change their ‘laziness’.


If your client doesn’t put in the work, then they’ll never get any results in coaching.

If your client doesn’t put in the work, then they’ll never get any results in coaching.”

If you can’t handle this with your client, don’t sign them up for your coaching. Just tell them “I wouldn’t coach you because you’re not willing to do the work.”

NO #3: When your potential client needs a therapist or psychiatrist

You may be able to work with clients who are already in therapy, but it’s beyond the scope of coaching to heal past issues and trauma.

You can support your client with referrals to therapy, but don’t try to substitute coaching for therapy.

NO #4: When you and your client are not a good fit

Everyone has a different definition of “good fit”, but here are a few examples:

If you don’t hold unconditional positive regard for your client because of their lifestyle, beliefs, goals, etc.

For instance, I was initially hesitant to help my client find a new bride after his previous wife hired a hitman to kill him, but I worked through my issues so I could be his coach.

If you don’t have the skills your client needs from you:

If your client needs help in a specific niche that you don’t have skills or experience to handle, support them to find someone who can help them.

If your client needs help in a specific niche that you don’t have skills or experience to handle, support them to find someone who can help them.”

Your potential client will respect your help, plus you’re avoiding a disappointing coaching experience for both you and your client.

NO #5: When your client has unrealistic expectations about what your coaching provides.

It may be tempting to egg a client on in their naive fantasy about a coaching “cure all”, but that sugar high quickly devolves into disappointment.

Bring your prospective client down to earth around what to expect from coaching or you’re better off showing them the door.

My ‘go to’ phrase to delusional prospects is “I guarantee nothing”.

BOTTOM LINE: Make sure they are clear about what you provide and what you expect from them so they’ll be successful.

(NOTE: If you want to learn how to start your own coaching business, then check out this webinar, called “How to Start Your Coaching Business in 30 Days  During the webinar, I’ll cover how to get your first paid clients fast and make it feel natural for you. Click HERE now to attend the webinar.)

When you’ve identified that a client isn’t a good fit…

…it frees you to work on other aspects of your coaching business.

Instead of ‘chasing’ a bad fit…

..which only makes you look desperate.

Know your value as a coach.

Be selective in your process.

As my mentor once said…

“It’s better to ride stallions than drag nags”

Look for clients who are ready now.

Look for clients who are willing to invest time and resources to achieve their dreams.

Don’t try to talk potential clients into something that isn’t a fit.

THAT is work.

THAT is a waste of time.


Use your time to reach out to more people.

Use your time to clarify who you can best serve.

Be a stand for having amazing clients…

…who will make progress…

…because it’s a good fit.

Helping as much as you can…

…or holding off on something that you know won’t work

…and having the integrity to know the difference

…will make an unforgettable impact on your potential client

…and you never know what will happen as a result.

Perhaps a “no” client today comes back to you when they’re ready for your coaching.

…and THAT’S when the miracles begin.

Colette “Own The No” Coiner

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