Ep #102: Saying The Uncomfortable Thing to Clients

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Something I see often in my students is a fear of making their clients uncomfortable. They’re afraid of saying the hard thing that will ultimately create the results their clients are looking for, and as a former people pleaser and someone who never wanted to rock the boat, I get it. 

The realization I had when I became a coach is that it’s part of our job to tell our clients the uncomfortable thing no one else in their life is willing to tell them. The truth is they didn’t hire you to be their best friend or to believe their stories. If you want to up-level your coaching skills and facilitate your clients’ transformation, this is the reality you have to come to terms with.

Tune in this week to discover why saying the uncomfortable thing to your clients is the most loving thing you can do for them. I’m showing you why we want to avoid this at all costs, five ways this shows up in your business, and how to start getting comfortable being honest with your clients. 

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The Anything but Average Coach Mastermind is now closed for enrolment. If you want to be in the fall class, make sure to mark your calendars for August 31st. 

What You'll Learn on this Episode

  • Why you’re avoiding saying uncomfortable things to your clients.
  • What happens when you’re not willing to say the uncomfortable thing to your clients.
  • 5 ways avoiding this shows up in your client relationships.  
  • How to start getting comfortable saying the uncomfortable thing. 

Featured on the Show

  • If you are ready to take this work deeper and make your dream coaching business a reality, join my Anything but Average program.
  • Join me on Instagram and tag me in all your Anything but Average aha! moments!
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Click to Read Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Anything But Average podcast where I will teach you how to create a coaching business one step at a time. I’m Lindsey Mango, a life coach passionate about helping you create the life of your wildest dreams by creating a coaching business. Let’s get started.

Hello, and welcome back to another week and another episode of Anything But Average. Guys, we are officially here, the month that Eva, our daughter, arrives and I am so freaking excited. Before we jump in, the Anything But Average Coach Mastermind is officially closed for enrollment. If you want to be in the fall class of the Anything But Average Coach Mastermind, make sure to mark your calendar for August 31st.

If you want to be in that room, here’s what I recommend. One, make sure you’re in Anything But Average that opens again in April. Two, start being the woman, or the person, or the human who is in that room right now. Don’t wait until August to step into that place. That’s how you’re going to become the person who’s in that room, is doing it now, not waiting until August.

Start seeing yourself as a coach who’s in that room. That’s how you will get accepted to the mastermind. That’s how you will create massive results over the next six months. So the work to be in that mastermind starts now. Not in two months, not in three months, not in five months when it gets really close.

All right, so here’s what I wanted to talk about today, I wanted to talk about as a coach, saying the hard thing, saying the uncomfortable thing to your clients. Because here’s what I see in my students and my clients, they don’t want to make their clients uncomfortable. They are afraid to make their clients uncomfortable. And this is something I deeply had to work on in my own coaching and in my own life, because I’m a former people pleaser. Someone who very much doesn’t want to rock the boat or make anyone feel uncomfortable.

And when I stepped into being a coach, something I realized was part of our job is to say uncomfortable things to our clients. And here’s the thing, if you’re not willing to say the uncomfortable thing to your clients, then you are not coaching them at the level they need to be coached at in order to produce the results that they want.

I’m going to say that again, if you are not willing to say the uncomfortable thing to your clients, then you are keeping them, you are not helping them create the results that they want. Because they don’t hire you to be a friend. Yes, you can have friendships with your clients, but they don’t hire you to believe their story and let them complain about their life, or their boss, or whatever is happening.

They hire you because they want to create change. They want to create transformation. They want to create results. And the reason they’re not getting it is because they’re not seeing what has to change in order to do it. And they’re not changing it because their brain wants to keep them safe and protect them.

And that’s why they hire us, so that we point out the things that they’re not seeing, the uncomfortable things that their brain is hiding from them. The things that their friends and family won’t say to them, so that they can create massive change and results. That is our job.

So if you are unwilling to say the uncomfortable thing, you are unwilling to do the thing you need to in order to help your clients get results. So today, we’re going to talk about why we do this. What happens when you’re avoiding saying uncomfortable things.

So maybe you’re listening to this and you’re like, “I feel like I say the uncomfortable thing.” Keep listening, there might be some patterns or things showing up in your business that you realize maybe there’s an opportunity here. And then we’re going to talk about how to change it.

All right, so first, why do we avoid saying the uncomfortable thing? There’s only two reasons. The first is that you feel uncomfortable and you want to avoid that. You feel weird, or mean, or scared, or whatever it is. And so you want to avoid your own discomfort by not saying the thing your client needs to hear. And this isn’t about our discomfort. This is about their growth.

Number two, you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable or be mad. And here’s the thing, it actually comes back to number one because their discomfort makes you uncomfortable. So really, at the end of the day, the reason why you’re not saying the uncomfortable thing is because you want to avoid your own discomfort.

Even if you want to put the responsibility on them and say, “But I don’t want them to be uncomfortable.” The only reason you’re worried about them being uncomfortable is because you can’t handle the discomfort when they’re uncomfortable.

Now, here’s what happens when we do this, I wrote out four or five things that show up in your business as a coach and in your clients when you aren’t willing to say the uncomfortable thing so you can start to be onto yourself or just bring awareness to it. The first thing actually happens in the consult.

So I find when coaches aren’t willing to say the uncomfortable thing, there is a block around honesty and vulnerability in the consult. Even if you try to convince me and say, “Lindsay, I swear, this constant told me everything.” They’re not because if you are unwilling to hear the uncomfortable thing, they’re going to be unwilling to say the uncomfortable thing.

So a sign that you might not be all the way there is that you’ll have consults who either hold back and you can tell, or they’ll say yes, on the consults and then they’ll later say no. And the reason this happens is because either if they aren’t showing up and being forthcoming, right, part of your job is to say the uncomfortable thing and point that out and question it.

And two, they may not be willing to say their real objections and show you why they’re on the fence, even though they said yes. And so they want to get off the call so that they can get out of their own discomfort. And then just text you later and say no.

When you’re willing to say the most uncomfortable thing, and I don’t mean we just say uncomfortable things just for the hell of it. The thing that they need to hear, or ask the question, or get curious about the thing that you need to ask about on the consult, they will be forthcoming. They will give you the opportunity to coach them and help them through it. And that starts with your willingness to be uncomfortable and to let them be uncomfortable in that conversation.

I actually walk you through an entire consult process in my program, Anything But Average so you’ll know how to actually execute it. But again, the best consults happen not by doing the process perfect, but by being willing to say the uncomfortable thing and create space for them to say the things that are uncomfortable.

So first sign is your consults are saying yes, and then they’re getting off and saying no, or they aren’t very forthcoming. The second thing is your clients will do unexpected things. So you’ll feel like they’re getting awesome results, they’re saying everything’s going great. And then they’ll all of a sudden just like cancel their calls and tell you that their coaching is over and they’re like done.

And, guys, this happens, right? I don’t know where we have the expectation that we just get into business and everything goes perfectly. This happens to everyone on some level. So they start to do weird things, like they seem really open, they seem like they’re getting growth, and then all of a sudden they seem kind of distant. And they’re not showing up with much. And they’re not really willing to get coaching and they fizzle away.

Or maybe they’re getting awesome results and the package ends and then they just text you and they’re like, “I’m good. Like that’s the end.” They just fizzle away. The reason this happens is because either you’re not pointing out some things that they need to work on, and coaching them on it and saying the uncomfortable thing. Or they’re not being honest and vulnerable about where they’re at because of that.

The next thing, the next sign that you might be doing this is your clients aren’t getting that great of results. You’re working week in and week out, you’re working towards a goal and their results and their transformation aren’t reflecting it.

Now, here’s the thing, this happens, this doesn’t have to be a problem. But when you see it, you have to point it out. I’m going to say that again, when you see something happening, a pattern playing out, or a lack of commitment, or a lack of implementing what you’re talking about or being open to coaching, or the results that they’re creating, and you don’t point it out, they’re not going to get the level of results that could be getting.

This, I think, is one of the like next level skills of coaches. I think at first you start with coaching and what they bring to the call. But as your ability as a coach increases, you get better at coaching, you’re going to start to see, and this is something we talked about in Anything But Average you’re going to start to see things happening that they might not be telling you. And it’s your job to point it out.

For example, just a simple one, if they start canceling calls and they’re not bringing it up, it’s your job to bring it up and ask why. Because how they show up to the call, how they show up to their life, how they show up to their results, how they show up to coaching is just as vital and important as what you do on the call.

And if you don’t point out where they’re not showing up or where they’re not implementing the work, which can be uncomfortable, then they’re missing a huge part of their growth. And that’s your job. That’s why they hired you. Because the first thing they need in order to change is awareness. And that is us standing on the outside watching them and pointing out the things they might not even be aware of yet. And that’s how they get faster results and better results.

Another sign you might not be saying the uncomfortable thing is you’re noticing your client isn’t very forthcoming. They’re not sharing a lot, they’re not being vulnerable. They’re not being willing to see the hard thing or say the hard thing. And if you’re not willing to say or see the hard thing, then they’re not going to be either. So that’s how you know there’s growth in this.

So how do we mitigate this? How do we work on saying the uncomfortable thing? You might hear this and you might be like, “Holy crap, this makes me so uncomfortable.” That’s good, right? That’s part of the work. The first thing you need to start doing in order to learn and grow and start saying the uncomfortable thing is you have to work on being okay with other people’s discomfort.

This is actually something we work on in Anything But Average from the very beginning of starting your business, because one of the biggest things that keeps people from doing that is they’re afraid of what everyone’s going to think of them. They’re uncomfortable with what their aunt is going to think about their business, or what their audience is going to think about their business.

So you already start building this muscle in the program by launching your business and doing uncomfortable things, and learning how to be okay with other people’s discomfort. But the next level of that is learning how to be okay with your client’s discomfort. Learning how to be okay with your husband’s discomfort or significant other’s discomfort when you’re doing something in your business that they might not agree with, or be fully on board with.

If you don’t learn how to do that, you will always be limited in your coaching business, you will always be limited in your ability to coach. And I’ll tell you guys, again, from experience, this is very hard, I used to take everyone’s opinion way more seriously than I took my own. And it started to change when people had an opinion about my coaching business and I was willing to go through it anyway.

I was willing to commit and be okay that they were uncomfortable. That their feelings weren’t my own, that their feelings were their responsibility and their thoughts about it, and that that was totally okay. But I get to choose my own thoughts and feelings about it. So first, you have to work on being okay with other people’s discomfort.

The next level of that is learning how to be okay with your client’s discomfort. Again, we work on this in the whole process of Anything But Average. The second thing is a lot of people are like, “I don’t want to hurt my client’s feelings. I don’t want to make them mad. I want them to like me, I want them to love me.” Here’s the thing, you know when your clients will really deeply love you? When they change their life.

It is the most loving thing to say something to a client that no one in their life is willing to tell them for their growth. I can’t imagine a more loving thing. We’ll see how this parenting thing goes when Eva comes, but I imagine it’s kind of like parenting. Like it’s not your job to make your kid feel good all the time. It’s your job to help them grow and become the humans they’re meant to become because you love them. Because you want to help them become their greatest.

And it’s the same thing with clients. If you deeply love them, and you want them to love you, which you might want to look at that too, right? They might hate you at some points. Just like I’m sure my kids will hate me at some point. If you want that, then help them grow. That’s why they paid you money, that’s why they hired you.

The third thing you have to do in order to start changing this is you have to remember that the right clients want to hear the uncomfortable thing. It doesn’t mean it’ll feel good, or that they won’t be resistant, or they won’t be mad temporarily. But they are willing to hear the uncomfortable thing. They want to hear the uncomfortable thing.

They might get mad, they might step away and be angry, but they’re still going to always show up for their growth. I don’t want my coaches to tell me what I want to hear. I want them to tell me what I need to hear because what I need to hear will help me create what I want. What I want to hear will just keep me doing exactly what I’m doing right now.

So remember that when you are clear on this, when you are willing to say the uncomfortable thing, even in your marketing because this shows up there too, you will attract people who are willing to hear the hard thing. You will attract clients who will stick with the process no matter how uncomfortable it gets. They will get amazing results. They will love you for it.

And it compounds because the more clients you have like that, the better results they get, the more you have evidence to build your confidence and your coaching and so on and so on and so on. This is something we talked about in the launch your business portion of Anything But Average as well as get clear on your unique purpose, is getting clear on who you help, what they’re all about. That they’re people willing to hear the uncomfortable thing and how to show up, only speaking to them.

Number four, you guys know I’m always about doing your own work first, which this is all pertaining to doing your own work and being willing to be uncomfortable yourself. But number four, is about being willing to say the hard things to yourself. Being willing to hear the uncomfortable things for yourself. Being willing to lean in when you’re triggered or resistant by something, your coach, anything, and going deeper and actually creating transformational results from that.

When you learn how to do that, you learn how to hold space for other people to do that. If you’re unwilling to do that, you will also attract people who are unwilling to do that. You guys know that’s one of the foundational principles and philosophies of Anything But Average. In the entire first module of changing your own life. and being an example of coaching, this is where we do that.

I’m going to say some uncomfortable things. I’m going to say, “Hey, you’re doing it again. Why aren’t you showing up? What’s keeping you from doing that?” But that’s how you grow. That’s how you create the results that you want. And that’s how you become a better coach for your clients.

Number five, you get your business out there and you start signing clients, and you work on all the crap that floats to the top. Meaning, I’ll use this image, I forget who told me this but it’s like any time you go to grow, there’s like a bunch of crap at the bottom of a glass and you pour water in it. And guess what happens to all the crap, right? It floats to the top.

The more you put yourself out there and actually start your business and start signing clients and see the discomfort that happens when you notice something or when you have to say the hard thing, the better you will get at tackling it and growing through it. The better you’ll be able to come into the program and say, “I was coaching this client, this uncomfortable thing happened, I need coaching on it.” The faster you grow, the better you get.

So getting out there, starting your business, signing clients is going to help you improve at this. No one starts their coaching businesses and is just a high-level expert coach. No matter how smart you are, no matter how much knowledge you have, no matter how much your background is, the real growth happens in motion. It happens when you’re coaching your clients. It happens when you sign clients. It happens when you’re on consults and you have to say the uncomfortable thing.

So the best way to learn how to say the uncomfortable thing is get in conversations where you have to start saying the uncomfortable thing. That’s a huge piece of what we do in Anything But Average, is getting you out of just motion where you’re not actually moving forward and getting you into action. To where you’re putting yourself out there. I always say getting into the arena because that’s where the real growth happens.

So I’ll leave you with this, say the most uncomfortable things to your clients because it will help them grow. Learn how to do that, you will be a great coach. You’ll feel confident in the results you will help people create. You will be able to sell your coaching easily, market your coaching easily, sign clients easily. It all starts here. I love you guys. I hope you have a beautiful week and I will talk to you next week. Bye.

If you’re ready to take this work deeper and create your own coaching business, join us in Anything But Average where I will walk you through the step-by-step process to become a coach, start your coaching business, and start signing clients. Go to lindseymangocoaching.com/anythingbutaverage and I will see you on the inside.

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