13 Unusual Ways to Boost Your Coaching Relationships!

Excited Coach at Desk with Great Coaching Relationship

The best coaching comes not from the coach with the most advanced coaching skills, but from the best coaching relationships. For a client to show who they really are - being vulnerable enough to trust you with their hopes, fears and what they dream of - they must feel safe with you. They need to relate to you and trust you. They need to feel that you support them without judgement and see the best in them - no matter what.

When you have strong coaching relationships, your clients will achieve more and there'll be fewer issues with incomplete actions, missed and late sessions and payments. And as a bonus, great coaching relationships will also help you keep your clients for longer and get you more referrals and recommendations.

So, below I share both practical things you can do to boost your client relationships, as well as ways to be: Just a few ways for you to go the extra mile as a coach - and in your business!

Here are 13 Unusual Ways To Boost Your Coaching Relationships!

1) Share Who You Are

People love authenticity when they experience it, so let the real you show!

For me, being authentic as a coach means being on our own personal development journey. AND it also means being vulnerable and sharing that (wisely) with our clients from time to time. That way we become more relatable - and less of the 'expert'.

By role modelling a little vulnerability, you put clients at their ease and make yourself more 'safe' for clients to share and talk about their vulnerabilities. "Hey Presto!", now you're doing deep coaching.

2) Be the Mirror!

Always see the best in your clients, no matter what. Your clients are not only resourceful and whole, they are amazing, unique and one-off human creations. And they are also imperfect humans just like you.

Your clients need to know that someone sees beyond their mistakes, meanness, resentment, fear, sadness, anger, guilt and shame - to their amazing true self, shining but often hidden from everyday view. Hold that space for them.

Be the mirror that reflects their magnificence and possibility back to them - and your client will move mountains.

3) Avoid Praise

Good boy, good girl, good dog! No-one likes general or sweeping compliments—they smack of insincerity.

Instead get really specific and acknowledge the effort they put in or personal qualities they used to achieve an action, success or decision. For example, "You deserve this - you worked really hard" or, "That took a lot of courage!". You can even send an email, e-card, physical card or flowers to recognize a really big win.

But stay away from praising!

You may like this article from sister company Fierce Kindness for Tips on How to Offer Compliments & Heartfelt Praise

4) Ask for the (Biggest) Win

I think many of us, when we start coaching, could benefit from more trust in the coaching process: the chances are your clients are getting a lot more out of the coaching than you (or they!) realise.

So one powerful way to learn more is to ask what your client's biggest win of the session was. Not only does this help the client focus on what was most important, but it also helps you understand your client/s better. And you may just learn that sometimes it's the seemingly smallest things that make the biggest difference to your client...

5) Send Your Clients Birthday (and Holiday) Cards

For me this is a no-brainer to boost your coaching relationships.

Hand-written cards are best, but you could also use an online service to send a card or e-card. I usually include a personally relevant and inspiring quote too.

6) Use More Silence

Silence is possibly THE most under-used tool in any coach's toolbox.

Don't rush in to fill the space. How often do you get silence to truly think or process? So try waiting longer between your client's answers and asking your next question - and see what happens.

Giving your clients more silence gives them more space to explore and reveal who they really are—which is the gateway to really powerful coaching...

7) Be a Resource For Your Clients!

Stay in touch personally in between sessions with a quote, event, recommended book, resource, article - anything your client might find interesting, but do make it specific to your client.

Short and sweet is best in these busy times - and yet what an easy way to let your client know you care, and keep your coaching relationship humming along!

8) Be Bold around Admin, Timing and Payment

When you ask for payment, a signed client agreement or some other administrative issue, be matter of fact (and bold in your mind!).

Think back to when you have received a service eg. personal training, a massage, house cleaning, a facial or swimming/tennis/driving lesson. Did the service deliverer hesitate to ask for their fee? Did they ever feel obliged to reduce their fee because you were late? Did you receive the service you needed without filling out the necessary forms? What happened when you forgot to show up for your massage or personal training session?

Set boundaries, respect yourself - and your clients will too.

9) Be Passionate About Something In Your Life!

As humans we get inspired when we see other people with passion - doing something about it. What difference do YOU want to make in the world? What

are you doing about it? Do you volunteer, donate, are you writing a book, running a webinar? How are you educating yourself about an issue or goal? What are you contributing?

Your client will notice.

10) Don't Let Your Clients Settle

Encourage your clients to go after what they REALLY want!

Be sure your clients have at least one exciting goal! A big goal (or HUG) is often easier to achieve than a smaller goal - because a big goal is so tempting clients are inspired to do what is necessary. So, yes we want the ''R for Realistic'' in our SMART Goals, but people also need enough challenge to stay interested and inspired to do the work.

And sometimes our clients just need someone to believe in them...

11) Know The Difference Between Your Clients' Personal Goals And Coaching Goals

It's incredibly important for you to know what your clients' goals are for coming to coaching. What specifically do they want from you? What will you help them achieve, as opposed to what they will they work on alone? This is part of the agreement you make with your client - it sets the scope for the coaching. *

You can't help people with everything. The learning they get from coaching can't help but spill over into other goals and areas of their life. So the clearer you a

re about exactly what you're helping your clients with, the easier it is to stay on track in session, as well as track a client's progress and see results.

Tip: Tracking progress allows you to tangibly demonstrate the power of coaching, and also provides a vehicle to make shifts/changes if necessary so that you are always helping them achieve what matters most.

* However, your client may decide to change the scope of your coaching at any time!

12) Let Your Clients Know What You're Up To

Whether you have a "newsletter" as part of your marketing or not, I recommend emailing your clients every 1-2 months and let them know what you're up to.

Share your special offers, workshops, articles you've written, events you'll be at, your latest qualification or life milestone.

Keeping your clients informed about what's going on in your personal life makes you more relatable too - especially when you share your challenges as well as your successes! And who knows, they may just forward your offer to a friend...

13) Share The Hard Things

Sometimes we have a concern about behaviour, a course of action our client is taking or something they're doing within the coaching relationship. SHARE the

se thoughts with them. Your client will pick-up on your fear, irritation, concern anyway - or worse - you may find yourself unconsciously steering your client.

Always bring out anything awkward, airing it instead allowing it to fester or turning into an "if only".

IMPORTANT: Check-in with yourself first to ensure you're not passing on your own fears or a personal judgement...

Being honest CAN be difficult sometimes, but as coaches we're not in the business of being nice, we're in the business of transformation. We must say what others in our clients' lives aren't prepared to. In the long run, your clients will appreciate and trust you more for it: remember it's just information.

And one more BONUS tip...

14) Take Care Of Yourself

Self-care is not just for our clients... You are a role model for your clients whether you like it or not, and taking care of yourself helps you to be at the top of your (coaching) game. Learn to take care of—and respect—your own needs, and your client relationships will get a boost too!


Being a great coach is not just about our coaching SKILLS, it's also about seeing your coachee as more than just a client and building a genuine relationship with a unique and fascinating person!

Do you want your clients to look forward to every session with you? Do you want your clients to trust you? To leave each session feeling brilliant about themselves and like they can conquer the world?

Well, to boost your clients' results AND your business success in one go - work on your coaching relationships!

If you liked this article about boosting your coaching relationships, you may also like:

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

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