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27 May 2021

6 Traits of Successful Coaching Clients

Jairek Robbins

Prospective coaching clients usually (and rightly so) spend a lot of time analyzing the attributes and competences of the coaches on their shortlist before they choose one to work with. However, as a coaching client, do you ever think about your own attributes in terms of how they could facilitate or hinder the coaching process?

Many coaches offer their prospective clients a no-strings attached 30 minute exploratory coaching call so that the client can decide whether they are a good fit. This call is actually also an opportunity for the coach to assess whether you would be a good client to work with, and the following are some of the characteristics which mark out successful coaching clients from those who don’t and won’t get as much benefit as they should from the coaching relationship.

Open mindedness

If you would like to be successful as a coaching client, you need to be open minded. An open-minded coaching client is willing to consider other ways of getting things done. They are ready to explore different ways of framing issues. 

In short, open mindedness makes it possible for you to grow out of your limiting beliefs and the ceilings you may have been unable to break through.

A simple example will suffice to illustrate how important open mindedness is. Years back, a friend told me about a school where he used to work. One day, the school principal, who was also the owner of the school, asked his members of staff to suggest how they could improve different things at the school.

The teachers eagerly made their suggestions and he listened quietly. After the last person had spoken, he commented that all their ideas were good, but the teachers should wait and implement them when they get their own schools! Not surprisingly, the best teachers gradually left that school and it didn’t survive for many more years.

With a little open mindedness (and humility) the trajectory of that educational institution would have been different!

They are highly disciplined

Successful coaching clients are highly disciplined. They do what they say they will do, and they do it during the time planned for that activity.

Pause for a minute and think about this; what are the chances of success if a coaching client keeps asking to reschedule coaching calls at the last minute and they always give excuses for not completing the “homework” tasks agreed upon during coaching sessions? Most coaches would terminate the coaching relationship if a client proved to lack discipline since continuing the engagement wouldn’t be beneficial to either party (coaches love to help, so they get frustrated when clients aren’t exhibiting the same level of interest in the relationship).

They take time out to reflect/meditate

The clients who register the greatest levels of success from working with a coach have the habit of taking time out on a regular basis to meditate about their career, their business or their life in general.

Even if it lasts for just five minutes every day, meditation or reflection allows you to get clear about your goals, identify your strengths and weaknesses, assess how far along you are progressing in the different spheres of life, and get help where you fall short.

Unfortunately, many people have consciously or unconsciously programed themselves to keep busy during every waking moment, and this usually leads them into deeper problems of work/life imbalance, degenerating health, stagnating business or careers, and so many other problems.

A habit of reflection/meditation can help you change all this, especially if you are working with a coach.

They are action-oriented

An important characteristic common to successful coaching clients is that they are wired or have trained themselves to be action-oriented. 

Think about it; all the mindset changes, positive self-talk, and theories of how to make progress towards the attainment of your goals will be futile if you don’t do what you have to do.

As Nike the footwear company says in their motto, “Just do it!” Action will always beat inaction every time, especially when you hire a coach to help you overcome certain blockages in your work, business or life. Coaching clients who are biased towards action normally see better results than those less inclined to act.

Related: 10 Alternative Ways To Measure Success

They have a growth mindset

The ideal coaching client also has a desire to keep growing. Come to think of it, the primary reason for seeking the help of a coach is a need to improve some aspect of your life.

It is therefore important to have a mindset of continuous improvement if you hope to reap the full benefits from the coaching process.

Coaching clients who think they can’t make it and have a limit on how far they can go will not see the success possible when a coaching process is undertaken with a growth mindset. If you never settle, then you are likely to scale the heights from one level of success to another.

They are motivated to change things 

Having a burning desire to change for the better sets you up for success when you work with a coach. We have all heard stories or watched movies in which people even defy death while gravely ill simply because they have a deep desire to see a loved one before they pass. Once that loved person arrives at the bedside, the patient smiles and quietly departs!

That is how powerful a burning desire can be. This superpower can also be harnessed as you go into a coaching relationship. Everyone is different, and only you can determine what drives you. Is it a desire to take your business to the top? Is it a desire to earn more so you can give more to your favorite charitable causes? Are you driven to keep the legacy of a loved one alive? Whatever it is, use it as fuel during the coaching process and you will reap massive success at the end of that process.

As you can see, the outcome of the coaching process doesn’t entirely depend on who you choose as your coach (although that also plays a role). Who you are as a coaching client also matters because your attributes could help or hold back the process from yielding great dividends. So, is there an important coaching client attribute missing on this list? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below!

To Your Success,

Jairek Robbins



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