4 Common Reasons Your Coaching Clients Aren’t Getting Results That Have Nothing to do With Them

I’ve seen a ton of Instagram posts talking about common reasons your coaching clients aren’t getting results from a coaching program and a large portion of them pin total responsibility on the client’s personal failings.

  • Typically involve something like:
  • The client wasn’t invested enough.
  • The client didn’t wait long enough.
  • The client didn’t show up enough.
  • The client didn’t work hard enough.
  • The client wasn’t ‘”coachable” enough.

Clearly the underlying message from all of these excuses is that the client simply isn’t good enough. I thought a coach’s job was to help their clients succeed, not shit on any mindset limitations they may have? Tell me all the ways you think your client isn’t good enough without telling me…

The absolute most twisted, fucked up thing I’ve ever heard of of all time: the client is jealous of their coach or the client gets “turned on” by failing and blaming their coach.

It takes a real piece of work to completely shirk any and all responsibility for the outcomes of your own lack of coaching talent and ability in this way.

Relationships are a two-way street and a good leader knows that it’s very rarely only the client’s fault. So let’s look at some of the reasons a client might not be satisfied with your program that are entirely under your control as a responsible, conscious business leader.

Here’s four of the most common reasons your coaching clients aren’t getting results that have nothing to do with them.

Your Sub-Par Marketing Brought the Wrong Clients Into Your Program

Your job as a marketer isn’t just to get clients to sign up for your program, it’s to ensure that you’re attracting the right people who will most benefit from your services. There’s a few ways you might be failing at this:

  • You did not fully understand or effectively communicate who was a good fit for your program and therefore did not properly qualify clients who applied and were accepted to your program.
  • You used emotionally manipulative tactics such as scarcity/fear/guilt to coerce clients into your program who weren’t ready
  • You did not set proper expectations about the deliverables would be received in your program and now they are experiencing buyer’s remorse.
  • Your marketing only focused on exceptional potential outcomes instead of deliverables or realistic outcomes, which then created false expectations around time, investment, and benefits.

This typically happens when you’re overly focused on filling spots in the program, selling as much of something as possible, or making as much money as possible. In other words, you’re more focused on quantity and money over quality and impact.

Misleading or Misaligned Branding

Everything about your brand communicates who you are and subtly tells people what to expect from you when they enter your programs. If you are branding yourself authentically, people’s expectations should line up well with your reality. If they don’t, it may mean your brand messaging has misrepresented you – your qualifications, your success, your level of knowledge, your scope of practice, your abilities, etc. etc. – and as a consequence, you have:

  • attracted an audience with higher expectations than you are capable of delivering on.
  • fostered codependency with clients who now believe you have all of the answers.

This occurs when you have overestimated your authority, attempted to position yourself at a higher level of authority than you have actually earned, or when your real brand “why” has more to do with being socially validated and in control than being of service to your clients and helping them succeed.

Another possibility is that your brand messaging is out of alignment with your personal values – or – it’s precisely in line with your personal values, but you don’t understand the consequences. If you’re attracting multiple clients who clash with you, it might mean that you’ve created a brand around ideas and attitudes that you don’t actually value.

Or, it could also mean that your unhappy clients are an exact match for you: they’re a mirror of your values and were attracted by the image of success you created in your branding which was rooted in this mutual attitude.

What I’m saying is, the type of people who tend to gravitate to brand messages about blind ambition and competition are jealous and insecure people with low self-esteem who are trying to prove that they are better than everyone else. If those are your values, what’s that say about you?

Is your brand promise highly attractive to people who value success above all else? Do you? It might warrant some soul searching.

Bad Business Practices

So many client mismatches and misunderstandings can be avoided by engaging in simple business best practices, so if you find that numerous clients are not totally happy with their experience, you may ignoring some very basic things that most real-world businesses understand like: you’ve chosen to position your offerings as high-ticket without a trial-period or proper qualification process, and have a no-refund policy.

Once an unqualified client ends up in your container and they realize it’s not a good fit or doesn’t meet their expectations, they have no mechanism to opt-out. Because they paid $30K – which is probably more than their annual mortgage payment – and can’t get it back, they attempt to recoup at least some of the promised value.

You have financially obligated them to keep showing up even though they are extremely dissatisfied with the product you’re presenting, which means they are less engaged and less likely to experience a positive outcome. This also breeds resentment.

Among the general population, the process for high-ticket purchases is multi-faceted, complex and usually takes months.

The coaching industry glorifies making large purchases on an impulse, which in stark contradiction to 80 years of consumer behavior research that tells us the average shopping journey for an expensive item is between six and 12 months where consumers spend time weighing options, researching, and checking their guts before they buy.

The normal high-ticket purchasing behavior isn’t conducive to rapid scaling and six-figure months, which is why coaches often use coercion, manipulation, coaching you through objections and blind faith to hack and override the brain’s natural decision-making process.

Many coaches actually shame people for not making split-second risky decisions in order to shut down their critical thinking and make a sale. They’re pushing their prospective clients beyond their nervous system’s actual, normal capacity by telling them that normal capacity isn’t big enough. This is why so many people feel traumatized after losing thousands of dollars to manipulative coaches.

Weak Leadership

So many people in the industry talk about leadership but do so in ways that completely bypasses any and all personal accountability, and you cannot have leadership without accountability. Leadership without accountability is not leadership, it’s dictatorship.

What kind of leadership mistakes might you be making that’s turning clients off? You may not be facilitating an environment conducive to trust and safety, so your client became closed off to you, your teachings, your community, or the program at large.

Perhaps you have created a controlling environment that fosters groupthink and your clients don’t feel safe to voice their true feelings.

Groupthink: a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.

Maybe this is because you are perpetuating coaching industry logical fallacies that result in gaslighting your clients, such as assuming that everyone who doesn’t agree with you or attempts to hold you accountable is in a perpetual state of victimhood.

As a leader, you are directly responsible for the culture and environment of your business and your container. You set the tone for everyone else, and you model the type of behavior that is considered acceptable or not.

That means that you are responsible for modeling attitudes of self-leadership, integrity, responsibility, and demonstrating solution-oriented actions to resolve conflict.

That means it’s your responsibility to create a community that doesn’t attempt to silence negative feedback.

It also means it’s your job to ensure that your teachings aren’t harmful.

When a client leaves your container unhappy, it’s your job to find out why and fix the problem.

Listen To Your Clients

The best way to determine if your client problems are related to any of these issues is to ask them, and do so consistently.

Learn to value feedback as an opportunity and build-in safe mechanisms to provide it, such as client satisfaction surveys and anonymous suggestions, look for patterns and themes in the responses and follow them back to the source.

Listening to feedback to proactively take accountability is not only a quality of a good leader, it’s also the way to increase client satisfaction, brand loyalty, and generate sustainable success.

PS: If you found today's topic intriguing and you're an entrepreneur or practitioner who offers services to others, I would recommend checking out my articles on conscious business and subscribing to get notified when there are new posts. Learn how you can work with me here and be sure to check out my new online course, Ethical Entrepreneurship.

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