Keeping Strong Boundaries With Your Clients

Keeping Strong Boundaries With Your Clients

Today I did LIVESTREAM  on this topic after a frustrating conversation with a client.

One I’m sure you’ve had at some point as a coach.

The type of conversation that once upon a time would have left me reeling.

So let’s talk about that!


Firstly I want to talk about WHY clients point blame at coaches when they’re challenged.

Of course, we always need to be checking in with ourselves first to be sure we’ve acted with integrity and aren’t in fact TO blame.

But what this usually means, in a nutshell, is that this thing is much harder than they were anticipating and they’re not up to it.

Some clients will let you know “hey, I’m really struggling here, I underestimated how hard this would be and I think I need some extra support” and as coaches, we LOVE it when our clients give us a heads up that they’re struggling because then we CAN help.

I think too many clients expect the coach to deliver a miracle, often without the client putting in a lot of effort and when the results aren’t coming or they realise they need to pull their weight frustration can rise up and in their panic, they lash out and blame the person they hoped would save them.

It is not your responsibility to save your clients when they’re feeling desperate, no-one needs this pressure and it’s important that your clients take full responsibility for their own failures along with their success.


“You pressured me to sign up” – this one really pisses me off because quite frankly I don’t need the sale…my business is never going to hinge on a single sale and in my experience, anyone who comes on board who needed a lot of convincing is a recipe of disaster anyway and it’s just not the way I roll.

When this was said to me in the call I referenced above I was very clear in letting this client know that AND I also reminded her that she is a grown woman, who had time to change her mind before she signed our agreement and paid her money.

I let her know firmly that she alone was responsible for her decision and that if she no longer stands by that decision that’s her problem because I’m doing everything I said I would in the exact way I said I would do it.

“I don’t have enough time to put into the coaching and I don’t think I’ll make the most of it” – this is another “after the fact” excuse when what it really means is “this is hard and I don’t want to do this anymore”.

“I’m not getting what I need from the coaching” – I’m quick to ask what they DID expect because I am 100% clear about my approach, style and expectations before we begin.  Often this means they’re not doing the work because they expected you to do it.

There are many variations of the above but you get my drift.


I think this stuff will always come up simply because human nature is what it is but here’s how I minimise the occurrence (this is very rare for me these days) and have myself covered if it does come up like it did today.

Be 100% clear and honest about what you’re promising – don’t overpromise because you’re setting yourself up for pain!

Have processes in place – I have very detailed agreements with my clients and they need to be signed before we begin, I also record my discovery calls so I can always send the recording to the client if they’re lying so they can see I have proof of everything agreed upon and that I made things very clear.

These days I don’t take payment on sales calls because I want to leave time between the call and the person making payment so they can choose not to go ahead. I’d rather a very firm YES and know my clients are all in than someone getting caught up in the moment and saying yes when they should have said no…maybe.

This really is a big topic and too long to cover in full here but I will continue to talk about this because this isn’t spoken about enough, we hear about bad coaches all the time but the topic of bad clients is rarely raised.

I see too many coaches being pushed around by clients who don’t take responsibility for their decisions or responsibility for their results and no coach deserves to be made to feel bad when it’s often the client who should!

That’s a wrap! I hope this helped the coach who really needed to hear this one today ????

M xo

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