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When Coaching is No Longer Working: How to Dismiss a Client (part 2)


Dismissing a client is not something any of us cherish, but there are times it is absolutely necessary. Since it can't be avoided, knowing how to dismiss a client is essential.

In part 1, I gave you ways to recognize that coaching was no longer working ... In today’s post, I will share how to dismiss a client, after you have exhausted everything you know to make it work.

Have you realized that you and your client must part, for any of the reasons I gave you or for any other reason?

Here are three uncompromising principles I suggest you abide by:

1. Always pray that God will give you the exact words you need, at the time you need them, when communicating with this client. (Luke 12:12)

2. Be transparent and crystal clear about why this is necessary and what will happen.

3. Always be extraordinarily polite and caring so that they feel the love and if you would consider working with them, ever, leave that door open under certain conditions.

How should you relay this information to your client?

Meeting in person is best but if it’s not possible, use the phone. Don’t dismiss a client by email, unless … this happens to be an email coaching client, and this is the only way you have to meet with them.

Are there circumstances under which you would consider doing business with this client again?

Consider, before you meet, whether there are any circumstances under which you would consider doing business with this client again. This may or may not be advised, depending on the situation and conditions by which you are parting. In any regard, do your best to leave the doors to communication open so that if the situation permits, your relationship can be resumed.

If you have a situation where your client has either been dishonest, unethical or obnoxious, it may be better not to continue down the road. No matter what your feelings are, remain polite and caring.

It would exactly this type of client, who wouldn’t hesitate to put out bad reviews about you. No one needs that!

IMPORTANT:  When you speak, keep your tone collaborative. Do not reveal your upset, anger or frustration. Always be respectful and polite.

Explain to your client that you really DO want to work with them, and you really DO want them to make great strides but the status quo does not permit that to happen.

Be prepared to offer the client a referral if appropriate or ask the client to review what they really want and are willing to contribute to the process before hiring another coach. Greater insight will help the client make better decisions for themselves as well as any coach they contract to work with.

Even though you may be severing the relationship, review your commitment to quality service, your faith, and your ability to get the results that this client wants. Somewhere down the line there may be an opportunity to work together and you want to make sure this client sees the benefit of calling on you again. What you are doing here is laying out a framework for the client to be proactive in their own rehabilitation.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to shift the conversation to what your client needs to do in order to make the partnership work for their own benefit.

Here is the scenario you have laid out. You stated you want to help them. You stated what you do in order do help them. Then concluded with what the client needs to do to help themselves.

how to dismiss a client when it's no longer a win win partnership

One way to put it is, “Carl, you have heard me outline the support I give you to reach your goals, but that is only half of the equation. In order for our relationship to be productive, you need to (whatever the client is not doing). This is how we can get the best results for you. Can you commit to working with me in this way?”

If your client answers, “no”, tell them that, “working the way we did, was not producing the results you want. Naturally it’s up to you how you work, so when you are ready to resume working in a partnership model, the way I outlined today, I will be delighted to hear from you. (Now, smile.)

There you go! Now you know how to dismiss a client but you have left the door open for the future. No one was made to feel uncomfortable, humiliated or insulted. You did this be remaining calm, polite and caring about your client’s future. You made it clear you want their business, on specific terms.

Honestly, most clients do not come back but the ones who do, should be welcomed graciously.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever had to dismiss a client? What was your experience? Please ask any questions or share your own tips below in the comments section.


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