What can a better understanding of your clients do for you as a coach?
We all want to help our clients achieve their goals – that’s one of the reasons many of us become coaches. But to make a lasting, meaningful impact on your clients, you need to know more than what they want to achieve.
Often, coaches don’t go deep enough into really understanding their clients’ intricate details. Without knowing what makes your client tick, you may never have a handle on where your clients truly are in the process of achieving their goals. You may recommend prescriptions that are wrong for them or don’t get them any closer to success. However, when you actively gather knowledge about your clients’ behaviour, you can put into practice tools and techniques more suited to their needs.
I share how we can get a better understanding of where our clients are in this episode of The Mindset Coach. I also share why it’s important to do the diagnostic work with your clients and how to uncover what’s stopping them from achieving their goals.
You can listen to this episode of the podcast below or keep reading…
Why coaches need to do the diagnostic work
One of the key problems I see with coaches and coaching programmes is that they skip the diagnostic work. People jump straight in to solve the problem and don’t take the time to get inside their client’s model of the world.
There’s much more to a client than what their presenting problem is or where they want to be. To help them solve their presenting problems properly and get them on their way to where they want to be, you need to take a step back. Consider how they arrived at where they are now. What behaviours, habits, thoughts, emotions, and patterns are perpetuating the problem or keeping them stuck where they are now?
The reality is that we’ve learned to treat surface-level problems, not find solutions to the deeper issue. How has this happened? It’s because information is everywhere! We know that we can find the answers to just about anything and everything on search engines. They are fantastic tools for helping us fix our problems quickly. Whether you want to find out how to fix a blocked washing machine or how to bake a cake, YouTube and Google often have the answers you need.
What’s interesting about this for me as a coach, is that people know how to achieve their goals. If your goal is to bake a cake, then there are so many resources available online that can help you. The guides to success are right at your fingertips.
But information alone isn’t enough to move people to action. Even though most of us know what we need to do, only a few of us actually do it. Often, there are other things happening at either the conscious or unconscious level that’s holding people back from achieving their goals.
What’s stopping you from achieving your goals?
There could be a number of reasons why people aren’t attaining the success that they desire.
It could be that they have a belief about what is possible for them and what’s not. If your client decides that they can’t achieve something, it can become a hardwired, limiting belief. They might tell themselves that they can’t do it, so why would they even try? Uncovering these beliefs becomes a powerful source of information for you as a coach. You can then work with your clients to remove or change those inhibiting thoughts and move forward.
Another reason that people are held back from achieving their goals is to do with their habits. Over time, your clients could have formed habitual patterns and strategies that don’t deliver the results they desire. Your client might be stuck in a rut, continuing the same behaviour and expecting different results.
Now, we know that if you use the same strategies to achieve the same outcome and it’s not working, it’s likely that it’ll never work. So, when coaching your clients, you need to understand why they’re choosing these strategies to help them break the pattern. You should ask questions that drill down into their behaviours. For example, how are they doing what they’re doing? What’s the first thing they need to do? How are they maintaining the problem?
I believe that there’s a big issue where coaches don’t delve deeply enough into what’s going on inside their client’s mind. The coach then ends up working on a surface level. Ultimately, this won’t work for their client as it doesn’t treat the real cause of the problem and change their behaviour.
Coaches who don’t do the diagnostic work may prescribe tasks that are completely unrealistic for a particular client. I’ve heard stories of introverted clients who aim to boost their visibility online being told by coaches to do lots of live streaming or create videos for their social media. If the coach understood their client, they would know that a general prescription is not going to suit them. Instead, their client needs a tailored, specific prescription that suits their behaviours and can help them meet their goals.
When a coach doesn’t do the diagnostic work, it sets both their clients and them up for failure.
Why you should meet your clients where they are
I firmly believe that coaches go into this profession to help people achieve their goals. You should aim to help your clients realise their potential in life or in business. But without going deep enough, doing the diagnostic work, and fully understanding the different elements of your clients, you can only ever work at the surface level.
By paying attention to your client, you’ll know what tools and techniques are going to be most appropriate in a given situation to achieve a result. This means understanding their unique thoughts, emotions, behaviours, habits, patterns, strategies, attitudes, and histories.
All human beings are complex individuals. We have more than 64,000 thoughts a day, behavioural preferences, beliefs about the world around us, and more. We need to gather all of this information to best help our clients. If we don’t know our clients, then we cannot help them to create a lasting change.
When you get into the granularity of your clients, it can help you find solutions that are fast and effective. In The Mindset Coach Academy, we dedicate the time to learning about the diagnostic and initial phases of the coaching relationship to ensure that we get that deeper knowledge. All of this information then goes into your work either at the conscious or unconscious level.
An effective suite of diagnostics can be really useful for understanding your clients better. These could include using psychometric tools. These are a great way to get lots of foundational information and form a basis upon which you can begin to work.
How behaviour affects results
Our work as mindset coaches is all about helping our clients produce behaviour that’s conducive to achieving goals. It’s behaviour that drives results above all else. When your client has a thought, they have an emotional response to it, and that leads to action or inaction. It’s our job to guide our clients to take that performative action.
What I find so interesting about behaviour is that it often takes a complex combination of behaviours to drive an output. It’s not one individual behaviour in and of itself that builds a habit, which is something I’ve talked about before.
So, I’d like you to think about your behaviours. Over the next week, pay attention to your behaviours and consider how they may have changed due to the global pandemic. Are you quicker to temper? More introverted? Do you need more external validation? Take some time to journal what you’re noticing about your behaviours and how you’re showing up in the world.
If you want to improve your coaching skills and learn more about the diagnostic tools and techniques we use, check out The Mindset Coach Academy!