As mentioned in Part 2, if you recognize yourself in any of these, remember: Awareness is Power! Once you know you are “guilty” of any of these ineffective behaviors, you can take action to correct that behavior.
Let’s dive into it!
10 More Life Coaching Toxic Behaviors
21. Regularly making religious references.
This might not be a problem with all clients, but when coaching a client of a religion that’s different from yours – or a client with no religious beliefs – this can become really annoying and counterproductive. Even when coaching someone of your own religion, do not assume that they welcome constant religious references.
22. You become defensive and hurt as a result of client feedback that you might perceive as negative or offensive. Occasionally some clients will criticize your approach – your coaching – and this will give you a great chance to step up your coaching “game.” Make sure to stay calm and assure the client that your approach will get results and ask them to trust the process; OR, if you believe there’s another way that’s more appropriate for this client, suggest to “switch gear” – say “Let’s try something else…” It’s crucial not to become defensive or snap at the client. Remember, you are a professional coach – act like one! 😊
23. Step into therapist mode and making the client feel as if they have a mental challenge or act the way they do as a result of a childhood trauma or some other past event. Remember, as a coach your job is to help client go from where she is to where she wants to get, without “playing doctor,” and without dabbling in the past.
24. Give advice that’s outside of the “job description” of a life coach, such as investment, marketing, legal or accounting advice, dealing with severe depression, or other areas where a licensed professional should be giving the advice.
25. Giving client assignments between sessions that are beyond their capabilities and as a result making them feel like they keep failing. If this repeats multiple times, it’s inevitable that their attitude towards their coaching sessions will become “sour” (and might even end the coaching relationship well before they intended).
26. Showing up to meetings unprepared.
Not reading past session notes, hence not knowing how to pick up where you left off
27. Showing up to meetings mentally & physically not ready.
We get paid the “big bucks” to be present for the client in our best form.
28. Using humor excessively during session.
It can be helpful to understand different personality styles and their affinity for humor. Some people naturally do not care for humor or even get annoyed by it; BUT even when coaching someone who appreciates humor, you as the coach should use it sparingly.
29. Not admitting when you screw up.
If you say something during the session that you instantly (or later) know that was a big “NO-NO,” don’t try to pretend it didn’t happen. It’s like the “elephant in the room” – you know it and the client knows it – if you avoid talking about it, it’ll poison the relationship. If you do it regularly, it’ll ensure that the client’s satisfaction will diminish. Coaching is a two-way relationship – don’t be afraid to admit it when you slip up!
30 Unprofessional meeting management.
If you are regularly doing one of the following, don’t be surprised if the client starts developing some hostility towards you:
- late from client-meetings
- cutting meetings short
- going well beyond the allotted time for your meeting
- rescheduling meetings regularly
- complain to the client about being tired, unfocused, in bad mood…
If you have several – or even one of the above symptoms – it is a sign that you might be “sabotaging” your coaching relationships and your clients will not stick with you for a long time; and some might turn into hostile or difficult clients as a result of your repeated mistakes. The good news is, with awareness comes the ability to change. Commit to eliminate any of your own toxic behaviors and commit to becoming the best life coach you can be. After all, we are in this business for two main reasons: 1) to make a difference in people’s lives; 2) to live a life of joy and fulfillment – none of these are possible if you are allowing any of these 30 toxic behaviors to be present in your life coaching practice.
E.G. Sebastian is the author of Communication Skills Magic and co-author of Back Off – Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying. Connect with E.G. on LinkedIn and join his LinkedIn or Private FaceBook group to discuss this and other business development topics.