Don't get blamed for your client's failures.
Do this instead.
It’s a nightmare scenario.
You just got to the end of a coaching program with your client, and they say they haven’t made any progress.
They feel like a failure.
Or even worse, they say it’s your fault they’re not where they thought they’d be by now.
You start to doubt yourself… your coaching… your worth.
Did you really lead them to failure?
Does your coaching even work?
Hold yer horses… let’s talk about this!
Is it possible for a coach to teach content that is actually ineffective and doesn’t get results?
In my experience though, scenarios like this are more often the result of a lack of something else: tracking.
First off, you can’t track something that isn’t trackable.
Either before you take them on as a client, or no later than the first session, you should define a measurable goal together of what they’re working toward.
If you can’t measure the progress toward this goal, you’re setting both of you up for failure from the beginning.
If there’s no clear goal to work toward, the coaching will be disorganized, fragmented, and lack direction.
And because without measurement and tracking along the way, there’s no concrete record to refer to at the end of the program to prove they have, in fact, made progress.
“But Kirk, what if they’re absolutely set on a goal that isn’t trackable?”
Then make it trackable.
One time a client simply wanted to become “more charitable”.
“So how will you know when you’ve made it?”
They couldn’t answer the question.
So instead, we decided they would track acts of service.
So despite “charitability” not being directly trackable, we decided to measure the nearest action related to it.
I’ve yet to find a goal that can’t be turned into something measurable.
So that’s step one!
Step two is, well… to do the tracking!
Depending on how your coaching program is set up, you may have them report to you daily, or just weekly.
Bare minimum, you should be going over their progress toward their goal at least in every coaching session you have together.
This way, if they’re making progress, it’s being talked about and recorded in every video call or in-person meeting. The evidence of their progress will build up and be undeniable.
If they are not making progress, you will be able to directly address it, coach them through issues, and put plans in place to make real progress before your next session.
So think about it… if they were to call you out on the last session and say they’ve made no progress, you’d either:
Have recorded proof from every previous session to kindly show them and remind them of the progress they’ve made
Have recorded proof of addressing their lack of progress, and that you had made plans to overcome those issues
This really helps keep both of you safe and accountable for the progress you make together in the coaching relationship.
And sometimes, people just forget how far they’ve come and genuinely just need a reminder!
So to recap:
Set a clear, specific, measurable goal or outcome for the coaching program
Setup a tracking system that works for your client (including how often they report to you)
Go over their progress in every coaching session (and make sure it’s recorded)… and if they’re struggling, don’t ignore it. Go all in on overcoming wherever they’re stuck in making progress
Quote of the week:
When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.
Song of the week: