Let’s say you have a financial coaching client who has been working with you for only a month or two. It hasn’t been a super long relationship, but even after this short period of time, you can tell they’re simply not getting it. They’re not getting great results or maybe they’re not moving as fast as you would like. Perhaps it feels like you take two steps back for every step forward. When you talk to them, you say things like “You did what since we talked last? What do you mean you just bought a new car?” In short, it doesn’t seem like they’re listening at all to you.

I wish I could say that every time you work with someone they are going to immediately hang on every word you say and put into place every strategy you suggest. If you’ve been in coaching for any amount of time, you probably already know that isn’t the case.

In order for us to grow and become even better financial coaches, it’s really important that we have those clients that don’t catch on quickly. They can teach us more than our ideal clients.

If you have a client who’s not getting it, I want you to do two things:

Don’t internalize their issues and assume you are a bad coach.

Model how to work through hurdles by working with them and creating new strategies.  

A Frustrating Client Does Not Make You a Bad Financial Coach

The most harmful thing you can do when you have a client who doesn’t get it is to assume you’re doing it all wrong. It may very well be the case that you’ve worked with dozens of other clients using the same system you’re using now, and they all got it just fine. So if this one client isn’t getting it, don’t think your entire system is flawed.

When clients come to us, there’s a good chance they’ve been trying to fix their money problems on their own for a while. And there’s also a good chance that what they’ve been doing hasn’t been working. So they then assume they are the problem and will say things like, “What’s wrong with me? Why is it easy for everybody else? Why am I failing at this? I’ll never be good at this.”  That is likely the thought process they’ve brought into your coaching sessions, which is why it’s super important that you do not adopt that same thought process about your abilities as a coach.

Model Good Problem-Solving Strategies

As their coach, you need to rise above that. You need to say, “Okay, that didn’t work. Let’s try something new.” This is a great way for you to lead by example.

Chances are your clients are going to face financial roadblocks during and after they work with you. As a coach, you should be showing them how to overcome obstacles. You want them to face a financial challenge and say, “All right that didn’t work, what else can I try?” Not to throw up their hands and quit.

This is a skillset I want my clients to have and use throughout their life. If I want them to have a mindset that obstacles can be overcome, I must teach them this skillset. There is no better way than modeling that with your own coaching strategies. If your clients have hit dead end after dead end with their money, you don’t want your coaching to feel like or be another dead end.

Expand Your Coaching Reproiterie

This client is going to force you to get more creative with your coaching, which will help you tremendously in the long run.

I think about some of these types of clients that I’ve had over the years – the ones that struggled more than most. They would force me to take a step back and look at what wasn’t working. Often times that meant I’d create a new exercise or handout or I would give them a new challenge to solve the issue at hand. And when it worked that meant I had one more tool in my back pocket for the next time a similar situation or mental block came up for another client. The beauty is working through that client’s inability to “get it” made me a better coach.  

So when you encounter a client like this don’t throw up your hands in exasperation. Work with them to figure out what they liked about that strategy, what they gained from it, what they missed, and what parts didn’t make sense to them. And then just keep going back to the drawing board and coming up with new and better solutions and strategies. This client and all your future clients will be better served for it.

For more tips, strategies, and ideas for how to become a better financial coach and employ more coaching strategies, join the community of financial coaches on our Financial Coaches Unite Facebook page.