As a professional life coach, you will have the opportunity to meet all kinds of people as you help them to lead more fulfilling lives. Most clients are eager to decipher their problems and will be generally forthcoming in their responses, but others may be less communicative. Resistance to therapy or coaching is a common response for those who have been coerced by others, such as those pressured into seeking addictions counselling or sullen teenagers dragged in by their parents.
While it can be very challenging for a counsellor to get a client to open up and honestly discuss their issues in these types of situations, there are strategies that can help. Here are three techniques life coach students learn at Rhodes Wellness College to listen with compassion.
Make your Best Effort to Understand the Client’s Perspective
Teenagers can be among the trickiest clients as they are particularly protective of their vulnerable sense of dignity and wary of any adult perceived to seek advantage over them. Life coaches will attempt to gain their trust from the outset by expressing empathy and understanding. To reticent clients who may feel that engaging in the process is an admission of being flawed, the life coach can gently suggest that “maybe you feel you don’t need to be here.”
Clients who have been told by friends or authorities to go to counselling may not see themselves as having the problem. The counsellor or coach might focus their attention on why others are seeing a problem to consider these perceptions more objectively and seek to find common ground.
Develop Goal Consensus with Clients
In life coach training, students learn to respond to resistant clients with patience and acceptance, without fear, anger or judgment. A client’s reaction is often a quite natural safeguard based on accumulated distrust. The best way of winning trust and getting a client to open up, is by demonstrating respect and validating their perspectives.
Gaining that desired rapport with clients is not about immediately agreeing with everything they say. Overly obvious attempts at therapeutic joining can seem inauthentic, which can easily backfire – especially for young people. Instead, focus on genuinely engaging with the client, finding ways to connect that maintain your self-respect and the client’s dignity.
Developing a therapeutic alliance with the client involves three steps, explains American Counseling Association member John Sommers-Flanagan in an article published by Counseling Today: “goal consensus between counselor and client, collaboration on counseling-related tasks and emotional bonding.” Goal consensus means listening attentively to the client’s worries and hopes before articulating it back to them as you explore solutions.
Other Ways of Connecting When you Become a Life Coach
Open-ended questions that encourage more thought are effective for soliciting expansive answers, but when the clients’ responses are still abrupt and unhelpful one approach may be to provide your own suppositions. This should at least get clients listening, agreeing and hopefully interrupting with corrections.
To get a client talking, your assumptions may even deliberately misinterpret their perspectives. If you’ve ever been misrepresented, you’ll agree it’s hard to resist the urge to set the record straight. In certified life coach training, students learn a wide array of techniques to overcome these challenges and much more.
Are you ready to become a life coach to help clients overcome their issues?
Visit Rhodes Wellness College to learn more about beginning this rewarding career path.