1. Clients (friends) will leave us
If you’re a decent human being and coach, one of the first reasons someone will leave you is purely financial. We juggle the job market, families, and stressors as well as our clients do—and financially, personal coaching will take a backseat to the mortgage, car payments, and kids’ education (or at least, I hope it does.)
However, this doesn’t mean someone wants to leave. They have to leave. And regardless of the personal relationship we build, necessity and survival comes first. It doesn’t change that someone I’ve spent a lot of time with, and emotional investment in, may never come back. It’s the nature of things.
Of course, it’s one thing to know of something, and a whole other thing to know something. We all know relationships end, but we never know how or when until it happens.
2. Sometimes our investment is not returned
If we care about our roles and craft seriously, we place a lot of effort into what we offer our clients. We don’t just make them sweat, hi-five, and “see you next time.” We plan where it is we are, where it is we’re going, and how to get there effectively. Some dumbbell exercises and a “good job” isn’t what a quality coach provides, nor is it successful. We're not cheerleaders. So we do in fact spend a good bit of effort planning routes for our clients. Sometimes it means leaving work at 8pm since being there at 6 am, and still spending a couple hours before bed (8-10 pm) writing training plans. And because of this effort, we’re good at what we do, and we will naturally become invested in the outcome that occurs. Did you reach your goal? Why or Why not?
However, sometimes it becomes clear that the effort we give to provide a quality service for our clients is not reciprocated in the effort our clients show. So we can become frustrated that, why do we work so hard for you when you’re not working hard for yourself? It’s like spending a lot of time on a puzzle and learning it can’t be solved purely from your own efforts. Or, it’s almost like how a parent must feel when they invest in their child’s tutoring, or extracurricular activities, and seeing them not reach their full potential. This is neither judgmental or condescending—it’s simply that every client is different and we have to accept it, just as we accept our friends or cousins.
They say that if you want someone to like you, have them do a service for you. Well, we offer a service and end up liking you because of it. Of course, I’m writing this more cathartically than looking for sympathy. I’m also writing this to help those understand that, despite the nature of the industry, and that our time is what earns us our income, it doesn’t change that we are continuing to communicate with you because we care about you. I fully expect to never see some of my previous clients return as clients for any reason—but I do want to genuinely know how their son’s doing, if they patched things up with their spouse, if they took that vacation they spoke of so wistfully. Because at the end of the day, an impression has been left on us that isn’t so easily forgotten.