The 2 Coaching Client Blindspots

Last week I wrote about “The Art of War”...

… and how to overcome the enemy inside you.

But how do you help your clients overcome THEIR inner enemy?

Your coaching clients usually don’t say…

”I’m self sabotaging and it’s preventing me from achieving my goals.”

Instead, they’ll come to you with a laundry list of desires

“I want to make more money.”


“I want to lose weight.”

Why is your client hyper focused on their desires

…and not the deep-seated problem that prevents them from making progress?

  • They can’t see their problem (it’s too deep seated, or close to them).
  • They feel pride and joy imagining their future achievements (versus the disappointment and shame of facing their problems).
  • They hope to avoid dealing with their problem (that it’ll just ‘go away’ with time).
Uncoachable Client

So, around that ‘make more money’ desire, your client won’t talk about their overspending issue

… that will only get worse…

…even as they make more money.

In that ‘lose weight’ conversation, your client avoids bringing up their overeating issue

…often using food to self medicate…

…instead of dealing with difficult emotions.

And, if you’re brave enough to bring these problems up with your client, you’re likely to get:

  • Arguments / push back
  • Anger
  • Denial / Avoidance

…or worse, a client with a “helpless victim” mentality that won’t take coaching.

Doesn’t that describe the classic “uncoachable client”?

These clients barely see their true problems.

Their problems are like ghosts

…scary phantoms they can’t even see.

Getting your client to see the problem

Getting your client to powerfully face the problem (rather than obsessing over the goal)…

Getting your client to transform the problem

THAT’S the art of coaching.

A MASTER COACH can do that with all their clients…

…not just the ones who are ‘open’ to transformation…

…but even the ‘uncoachable’ clients.

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The key to that kind of masterful coaching?

Recognize your client’s “ghost” (their preventing problem / barrier)…

…and help them see the consequences that problem creates…

…BEFORE you help them create a plan.

…BEFORE you expect them to take action towards the goal.

…and BEFORE you expect a powerful client to emerge.

Until your client sees their “ghost” for what it is

…something that MUST TRANSFORM before they expect to reach their goal…

…you won’t be able to help them.

But, once your client sees, handles, and grows past the problem

…you’ll find them effortlessly achieving goals…

…without any “pushing” from you.

Ghost comparison

There are two types of clients that attempt to ‘skip’ their problems…

The Reactor / Distractor:

Reactor / Distractor clients are the over-eaters, over-drinkers, or TV bingers. They over-indulge in an area that keeps them from accomplishing what they want most.

Reactors blame their situation for their lack of progress.

Their emotions rule their world and they feel they have little control over their ability to make changes.

Distractors are always ‘too busy’ or ‘wear too many hats’ to pay attention to what’s really going on.

Watch for the ‘too busy’ excuse… it usually covers up lots of distractions that your client won’t be too comfortable with admitting.

Questions to ask Reactor / Distractor clients:

  • What did you do instead of working on the commitments you made during your last coaching session?
  • Do you really think you’ll ever achieve your goal if you continue to live in (reaction / distraction)?
  • What do you need to give up (or let go of) in order to make it possible for you to achieve your goal?
  • What do you think is really going on here?
  • If you were brutally honest with yourself, what would you admit is getting in your way?
  • What does all that (TV, Drinking, etc.) distract you from facing?
  • Who is in charge of your life? You, or your circumstances (or ‘other people’)?
  • If you don’t face this now, what will be the consequences in your future?

The Resistor:

Resistor clients are usually the uber-successful ones. The overachievers.

They use ‘willpower’ or the ‘white knuckle’ approach to achieve their goals.

Resistors are highly susceptible to burn out or workaholism.

They may have family or health struggles because of neglecting important parts of their lives.

They will push themselves until they can’t keep up the pace anymore, and then quit.

Look for a ‘rollercoaster’ pattern to identify a resistor… lots of big highs and low points.

If you try to force your opinion on a resistor… or tell them what to do… they will resist with all their might.

Questions to ask Resistor clients:

  • If you just keep pushing yourself in this way, what will you never deal with? What will never happen for you?
  • How unsustainable is your current lifestyle right now? What do you think the long-term consequences are?
  • What has to happen before you give yourself a break? How much is enough?
  • Imagine the world stopped for a week and it was impossible for you to get ahead or fall behind; what would you do with your free time?
  • What would you notice about yourself (or your life) if you stopped pushing so hard for a moment?

Once you’ve identified which category your client falls into…

…and once you’ve employed some of those questions…

…your client will be on their way to allowing the problem to exist

…possibly, for the first time in their life.

Once your client is open to seeing their problem

Once they allow their problem to exist…

Once they’re willing to:

  • admit the problem
  • talk about the problem
  • take responsibility for the problem

They’ll be open and ready to explore new strategies.

Only then are your clients ready to take action

Only then are they ready to transform.

The key to giving the most valuable coaching…

…is to support your client in recognizing those blindspots.

Until your client sees their “ghost” for what it is…something that MUST TRANSFORM before they expect to reach their goal…you won’t be able to help them.”

Telling your client what to do…

Or, offering insights before they reach this open space

…wastes session time…

…and will send your client in circles.

That’s when you’ll find that your coaching is less and less valuable to them.

In order to avoid that ‘sinking feeling’, help your clients move toward their goals…

…in a way that supports them.

Coach them not from where “you wish them to be…”

…but where they are.

First, ask questions to understand who you’re coaching…

…without judging.

Then (and only then) can you coach your client.

  • Coach a Resistor like a Resistor.
  • Coach a Reactor like a Reactor.

Empower your reactor clients to take responsibility

Empower your resistor clients to experience consequences before they happen…

Only then can you empower your client to act on a plan that works.

This precision approach opens up true success for your clients’ lives.

Because the art of coaching…

…is not in the telling

…it’s in the coaching.

The art of coaching…

…is in creating an opening

…for clients to step into…

…and turn their dreams into reality.

Colette “Ghost Catcher” Coiner

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