Working with individual clients can be as rewarding for me as it is for them. This is not news. What might surprise you is that working with individual clients can be as frustrating for me as it is for them!
Often those short term goals are the ones that sound appealing and are what gets an individual into individual consulting. Short term success is great but only as it supports the overall goal of some transformation. A quick fix is rarely a meaningful fix. Working to replace a default style that is ineffective with new and different strategies and skills is an ongoing and possibly lifelong prospect.
Huh? You mean that one success doesn’t make me successful? Yup – that’s often exactly what I mean. One interpersonal success means exactly that: an interpersonal success upon which to build.
Clients underestimate the need for time and reflection. While operational work and deadlines can be overwhelming, they can provide the perfect excuse for not scheduling a meeting or call. Time with a coach requires thought and consideration. Relationships take time to gel. That forward motion known as momentum can be exciting, and also scary.
As clients look at changing their behavior, some will notice that there is comfort that comes with habit. Giving that up seemed like a good idea when we started. But what if it they were wrong? What if it doesn’t work? What if things get worse? Apprehension of the unknown future can keep people exactly where they are. Hiding behind a busy work schedule is the perfect excuse! Who can argue with being a dedicated and conscientious professional with an overwhelming workload or a demanding boss?
I always start individual client work with the assumption that I’m on the side of the client. I am their ally as well as their reality check. I want them to be successful – it’s not just good for them, it’s good for business.
It is true that once someone reveals things about themselves, there can be discomfort in vulnerability. That’s a predictable hurdle. Allowing that hurdle to stop progress is often out of my control.
When I care more about accomplishing a client’s goals and objectives than they do, that’s when I have to sit tight and wait. Those who are successful are not afraid of challenges or hurdles. In fact, sometimes the most difficult hurdles produce the best results.
There are lots of good excuses. It simply means that the goal is not important enough to put it at the top of the ‘to do list.’
I tell my clients the truth and challenge them to push past the discomfort and excuses. I am more than their ‘paid friend.’ I’m a collaborator. Often, our work together can help them make a real difference in their own lives and often the lives of others.
I have time.