On Being a Client

Hello dearies,

I’ve been reflecting recently on what I’ve learned being a life coaching client, and I thought it might be worth sharing. Perhaps this will give some of you a sense of what it’s like to be a coaching client (if you haven’t tried life coaching before – you totally should!  It’s awesome!), or conversely, if you’ve thought about becoming a coach – this post may be informative.

For those of us involved in the coaching profession, it is vital to experience being a coaching client.  Personally, I became interested in becoming a coach after a positive experience with a health coach ~ named Christianne Morgan of Healthy Rebellion. A year later, before I made the decision to study life coaching, I scheduled sessions with another respected coach I knew ~ named Jessica Colp.  It was through coaching conversations with her that I realized I indeed wanted to pursue this profession. (Check out both of these coaches – they are beautiful human beings!)

For my coaching studies, I chose the International Coach Academy, and throughout my studies over the past year and a half, I have experienced being a client to many peer coaches. Through this experience, I have gained greater depth and breadth in my understanding of what it is to be a client, and I am grateful for this chance.  I was able to meet so many amazing coaches throughout my studies.  Two lovely ones that come to mind immediately are Shraddha Trasi of I Be Live Today and Moira Spence (both bright stars – worth knowing!) My experiences as a client inform my coaching practice in numerous ways.

As a coach, I think it will be important to continue being a client, as this will help me develop and grow in my own practice. I value the profession, and I know that coaching has helped me throughout my life. Here is the beginning of a list I plan to add to as I continue the coaching journey ~ what I’ve learned as a coaching client thus far:

*The best coaches:

    • Help “give you wings” by holding the highest, most wonderful vision of you in mind at all times, and having faith that you can achieve whatever it is you set your mind to doing;
    • Listen intently;
    • Are warm and kind;
    • Challenge you in just the right ways;
    • Feel in some ways like your best friend, with time to listen, fresh perspectives, thought-provoking questions, and honest feedback;
    • Don’t have to be from the same part of the world, or even the same culture, to “get” you;
    • Will invite you out of your comfort zone.

*As a client, to get the most of out your sessions, it is essential to:

    • Bring ideas and concepts to explore during your session(s) – it’s YOUR time;
    • Try to meet on a semi-regular basis with your coach – this varies based on your needs as a client, but meeting once/week or every other week seems to help people stay on track if there are specific goals to be achieved;
    • Sometimes you don’t need the recommended twelve sessions ~ it may be that (depending on what you’re looking for) you can benefit from 1-4 sessions;
    • Conversely, having a brilliant coach can be incredibly useful in your life, so it may be that you choose to meet beyond twelve sessions with someone who is really helping you move forward in your life;
    • As clients, we have to commit to make changes if we really want to see things change in our lives. Our coaches support us, but we’re the ones that have to make the daily choices.
    • Give your coach notice if and when you decide to stop meeting with him/her. Coaches appreciate you letting them know ahead of time – it’s better than just not contacting your coach again and “disappearing” for you and your coach (a professional coach will not take it personally if you choose to stop meeting – that is your prerogative as a client).

I also want to mention a few “lessons learned.” I do not tend to focus on the negative, but here were a few things that I wish I would have been more aware of as a client:

Be selective about choosing your coach. It’s a problem if:

    • You’re more reliable than your coach (ex: You show up at your regularly scheduled weekly session and your coach forgets – more than once);
    • Your coach gives you a lot of advice (then s/he is not coaching anymore) or you feel judged or assessed by your coach;
    • Your coach isn’t fully present with you or it seems like it’s a hassle to meet with you for whatever reason;
    • You don’t genuinely respect the person who is coaching you. If you meet for a few sessions and it feels “off,” politely excuse yourself and find a new coach who fits you better.

As I continue in this profession, I’m positive I will add more to this list. In the meantime, perhaps you will find this useful in your own journey either being a coach or being a client.

And (as always) I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Do you have anything to add to this list?  If you’ve experienced life coaching before, did you have similar experiences?  I’m curious.

With love and authenticity,

Solveig

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