Should I sack my clients?

Fiona writes: On Facebook yesterday, a coach I admire wondered whether she should sack one of her persistently late clients.

I then had a conversation with an old friend, John Joint, a wise man whose relationship with money I have always been envious of. He also mentioned that he sacks clients when they are no longer a ‘fit’ for him – when his energy could be better spent elsewhere.

The idea of sacking a client is anathema to me, coming as I do from a psychotherapeutic background. Within this frame, a client’s ‘bad’ behaviour is seen as ‘grist for the mill’ rather than a reason to stop working with them. Talking about the grit that stops the relationship from working smoothly IS the work of therapy.

But. There is something to be said for this approach to coaching and to life.

On rare bad days, I feel the anxious need to make ‘enough’ money to pay the rent, & as a way of reassuring me that the work I do is ‘worth’ the money I get paid.

Most of the time I know that the value of what our clients receive from our ecourses or from our mindful coaching programmes hugely outweigh the monetary cost.

This isn’t just about money. We do offer lower cost places, and we’re happy to negotiate payment by instalments. What’s more likely to make a client a ‘bad fit’ is that they’re just not in the right place, or they’re not the kind of person who would gain from what we offer. The kind of work we do involves risk & vulnerability. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But for the clients we enjoy working with, it’s the finest most delicately fragranced Earl Grey you’ve ever tasted.

Elsewhere in the conversation, John told me that when he meets prospective clients, rather than thinking ‘will they give me their money?’ he thinks ‘do I want to buy this client’s money with my time and energy?’

This wonderful question has the effect of equalising the relationship from the beginning. For a relationship to really work well, the benefits have to go both ways.

I love the work I do. I love seeing my clients blossom. I love helping them untangle their tangles and step into their power. I love hearing about their creative struggles and achievements, and accompanying them as they find ways to live juicy, meaningful and connected lives.

I won’t be sacking any of my clients any time soon. But I will keep in mind what John said. Do I want to buy your money with my time and energy?

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‘Clock’ by Bethan via Creative Commons.

Comments & replies

4 thoughts on “Should I sack my clients?

  1. Tess

    I think what you describe is partly the difference between therapy and coaching. We all have problems but people in a therapeutic relationship are probably not ready for coaching, and shouldn’t expect coaching to be therapy.

  2. Mary McCarthy

    Great topic!One I hadn’t even thought about.This is a wonderful quote to remember.I appreciate all that you do.I learn and am inspired by the writing.Thank you so much!<3

  3. Fiona Robyn

    Thanks all. Tess – I think we can have different parts of us that can be suitable for therapy & coaching at different times, much as we are in all kinds of different relationships in our personal lives. But as you rightly say there is a difference.

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