Clients are very sharp. They can read your moods, are quick to pick up on a coach’s lapse of attention, and can discern when your making “noise” and not saying anything of substance. Or have stopped caring or listening.
When a coach has a bad day, it shows. Or it should. And every coach has a bad day! And when I share that, the affect on a client can be startling, as in, “Man, welcome to my world!”
Some will say, “Keep it to yourself,” or “It’s about the client, not you.” I say that’s not honest and it’s artificial.
It’s not just “about the client.” It’s “about the two of you.”
Being opaque and hiding your feelings behind a professional cloak is not helpful.
Anyone who talks about the “Co-creative Process,” (not sure what that really means, btw) is taking about two people interacting. Not one and a robot.
The car broke down.
Some argument at home got out of hand.
The cold you’ve been fighting just won’t let go.
Something in the session triggered an extreme part of yours.
Something your client said was dismissive, and hurt.
When these very human things happen, clients sense your attention has strayed. Your energy is different. You’ve withdrawn. Don’t know how best to react.
It may feel to a client that you’re not paying attention or that you don’t think what they’re saying is important.
They may accuse you of not being focused on them. They may even suggest you don’t care or have lost interest.
Truth is, they’re right! At that moment, in that session.
So what, and want do you want to do about it?
I would argue for honesty. When a coach realizes he or she is “off”, that something is interfering, tell the client.
My approach is to let the client know, candidly, that I had a bad day. That my concentration is not what it should be. But that I’m making every effort to be present.
Coaches do not always have to be a model, but they do take ownership of how they’re feeling, and feeling free to let the client know, can create a stronger connection.