How to deal with a difficult coaching client

Charlotte Randall
Charlotte Randall

One of the things that tested my resolve the most during my training as a coach was learning that coaching sessions may not always leave you with an instant gratification of the influence your facilitation has had on the clients thinking.

I understand now that you may not receive the real-time positive feedback you are hoping for from your client, and that the expectation of this can leave you over-analysing your performance.

My first experience of this came when coaching a client who was extremely challenging in their behavior and mannerisms. I left every session drained, feeling like I was an inconvenience to them and not really sure how much I had really facilitated their thinking.

At this time I turned to my supervisor for support. We planned an observation of a session with the client and debriefed at length afterwards. Within the supervision environment I was able to speak frankly and accept feedback about my approach and discuss the best way forward.

Without a shadow of a doubt this supervision enabled me to maintain the professional coach/client relationship, reflect on my practice objectively and to ultimately stay the distance with this client to a beneficial end.

I still didn’t receive much gratification through verbal or body language communication from my client in subsequent sessions, but as a consequence of the support from my supervisor I was able to manage my own emotions better.

A little while after their final session I received a message from the client thanking me for everything I had done to challenge their thinking and develop their learning, and still receive intermittent communication of how they continue to put their learning into practice!

Charlotte Randall

Some of our Clients

Sign up to our newsletter

By signing up to our mailing list you agree to our privacy policy.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.