Do you ever get frustrated when an ideal client says no? A coach just wrote to me and said:
I just had a conversation with a potential client and I am frustrated. He seems more attached to the reasons why he can’t create what he wants than opening up to the possibility that it could all be possible, entirely on his terms. He told me it was hard because he is married and he can’t just think of himself.
My first thought was, what has that got to do with anything? I am married and that didn’t stop me! It frustrates me when I can see so much possibility for someone and they just keep saying why it is not possible.
What do I do about this? I know I could really help him, if only I could help him see all the stuff that is in the way. But I can’t get him to see it. Does this ever frustrate you too?
Do you just let it go? Or do you do something bold about it? I feel that he has said a clear NO for now, and don’t want to abuse that.”
The coach who asked me this is a parent of two girls. So I asked her, what will you do when your girls are old enough to date boys you think are not right for them, hang out with friends that are not good for them and work in jobs that don’t serve them?
Do you think you’ll be able to ‘tell’ them so? And by the way—how will you know you are RIGHT?
I told her that when my ‘little’ brother was 18 and I was 23 he decided to quit university and a degree in Media Studies to become a ‘runner’ on a film set. You know, the guy who brings coffee to everyone and runs all the errands. Well, mum, dad, my other brother and me – we all tried to convince him that there is NOTHING more important than a university degree… right?
He ignored us. He quit university. He began making coffee on film sets. Now fast forward a few years — he’s now an Oscar and BAFTA award-winning movie producer*.
I then told the coach that I had once had a British client who was a millionaire businesswoman. She was worried about her daughter not taking the career path she was convinced was right for her. I asked her, “What were you doing when you were her age?”
She’s a very prim and proper lady in her sixties and she went silent and looked a bit sheepish as she responded, “Well, much to my mum’s horror, when I was 16, I was taking drugs and living in a squat!” We both laughed out loud.
When you want something for your client more than they do, it’s your thing. And the very best gift you can give them is to take coaching off the table. That way, if and when they are ready, they will come back to you with huge respect and gratitude. And if it turns out that they are never ready, you’ve cleared the space for your next ideal client to show up.