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How to call out your client's lame action steps

without offending them

Even clients with the best of intentions sometimes forget why they hired you in the first place.

My son once had a client who wanted to build better daily habits and become more disciplined.

Each day he’d have his client text him what his action step was for the day and then confirm with another text after it was completed.

One day, the text said “make a beard oil”.

Seriously. His goal for the day to improve discipline and his daily routine was to… make a beard oil.

So my son calls me and goes:

“Dad, he’s a great guy with so much potential. He’s been doing random action steps like this for a few days now. How do I tell him he’s getting distracted by things that are not going to significantly move him forward in life?”

Here’s more or less what I told him:

You need to remind your client what this is all about. Re-establish the goal.

Say, “I like to do spontaneous progress checks with my clients. This helps make sure that you’re on track to achieve your goal on the timeline you’re shooting for. You open to doing that real quick?”

Once they’ve agreed, ask the following questions:

  1. What’s the goal you set out to accomplish in this coaching program?

  2. Is that still your goal?

  3. If so, how close are you to reaching your goal? (e.g. 10% there, 50% there, 80% there)

  4. What would be your absolute BEST next step in reaching your goal that you could do TODAY?

  5. What’s keeping you from taking that action? How can we handle that obstacle so you can get it done?

Tough conversations like this are a key difference in being a coach versus a cheer-leader.

As a coach, you’re not just here to celebrate whatever your client feels like doing today.

They hired you to achieve an outcome, or at very least make serious progress toward it.

Are you really doing your job if you’re not willing to call them out when they get distracted?

All it takes is a friendly conversation like this and you and your client will be back on track in no time.

Quote of the week:

Sometimes the most important conversations are the most difficult to engage in.

Jeanne Phillips

Song of the week:

- Kirk

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