There is a direct link between the comfort and confidence a client has in a coach and that client’s progress. This means the connection you’re able to create can be the best indicator of their success. I love how Brené Brown describes connection. She says, “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

As coaches, we’re in a unique position. We love, we support, we value. We listen, we provide judgement-free space, and we offer guidance — all without expecting nor needing anything back. This gives us the core to nurture a connection in which we can offer something truly amazing to our clients.

What You’ll Learn

How to Connect with Your Client’s Emotions

  • Listen, identify, and reflect without unintentionally removing hope
  • Relate personal experience without projecting into the situation
  • Empathizing without adding or taking away

How to Understand Why a Client Feels As They Do

  • Identifying and understanding pain points
  • Understanding gaps between where they are now and where they want to be.
    • (Bonus: This is also how you sell them on working with you.)
  • Clarifying the why behind what they want, and the feelings they hope to have when they get it

How to Help Your Client Envision Possibilities

  • Believing in a better future for them before they can see it
  • Opening up imagination and new perspective
  • Helping bridge gaps by drawing out correlations and watering seeds of hope

Contact Info and Recommended Resources

The Coaching Collective: thecoachingcollective.com/

Work with Molly! mollyclaire.com/coaching

Transcript

Welcome to The Masterful Coach podcast with Molly Claire, where coaches learn skill mastery, business mastery, and Life Mastery at a whole new level. If you’re ready to create a meaningful coaching business that makes a difference, you’re in the right place. And now your host, Master coach, instructor, Molly Claire.

Hello, coaches, are you all ready to dive into the topic of connection with your clients? This is the word of the day, and this is a big deal, and I’ll tell you why. The connection that you are able to create with your clients is going to be the biggest indicator of their success. Your most influential space to be able to help them create change is created when you have a good relationship with your client. So we’re going to dive more into this today. Actually, later today I’m teaching a free master class by the time you’ve heard this episode that will be in the past but I’m bringing this up because we offer these free classes every single month in the coaching collective.

So later today, I’ll be talking on this topic of connecting with clients to get better results. We’ve had people submit awesome questions, I’ll do Q&A on there, and my business partner and I, Amy Gianni, switch off who does these calls, sometimes we do them together. But it’s just amazing. and we love to do this. We love connecting with all of these coaches, building their businesses, make sure that if this is you, and this sounds like hey, I’d like to get in on this, go ahead and go to the coachingcollective.com and right there, you will see the option to sign up for our free monthly mastery training. And essentially, each month you can register to come, it’s totally free, you are able to submit questions on the topic that we’re teaching ahead of time, and sometimes we take those questions live or we answer them, and just in kind of talking through them and demonstrating some of the answers.

So it’s such an amazing thing that we do we love to do it. We have done all kinds of topics on improving your coaching, creating your own coaching style, coaching on things like grief and loss. It’s amazing. We love it. We absolutely love it. So later today I’ll be talking about connection. But today, I’m going to dive into it with you here this morning, and let’s go! Are you ready?

Okay, so the research shows that in all different modalities of therapies, the number one indicator of progress and success, a positive outcome for those seeking help is based on the relationship they have with the practitioner; the relationship they have. Think about what this means;  its connection, right? How connected they feel to the practitioner, how connected they feel to you as the coach, how much trust and confidence they have in the practitioner. And I also think about how much like to the extent I believe that my coach has my back? How much they believe in me, right? How much confidence do I have in my coach? And so in thinking about you and your clients, the relationship you establish with them, them knowing that you understand them, that you care about their well being that you’re there for them, it’s hugely impactful.

So we spend a lot of time working on tools and techniques and practicing becoming great at coaching, so important. But the foundation first and foremost is establishing the relationship, maintaining that relationship and trust and creating that connection. So hopefully you all are convinced that this is worth spending a little bit of time thinking about. And I also hope that this maybe allows you to let go of some of the worries about the best coaching tool, the best coaching method. And really, sometimes we can get so caught up in being this perfect, exact coach that does it a certain way, when the reality is when you have that foundation of trust and confidence with your client and you love them fiercely, it’s everything. So hopefully that gives you both something to focus on and a few things to let go off. So what is connection?

I of course have to refer to the amazing Bernie Brown, who defines connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued, when they can give and receive without judgment and when they derive the sustenance and strength from the relationship. Now when we think about other relationships, we have regular relationships where we’re in a more of a give and receive, where we’re seeking to be seen, heard and valued, as well as striving to see, hear and value the other person in our life, it can be a little challenging, right? Because we’re both seeking to give and receive these things.

Now, in a coaching relationship, it’s slightly different. I as the coach don’t need to get something out of the coaching relationship, I’m simply there to serve. So what this means is it puts us in a unique position to truly see, hear and value our client, without needing them to do that for us. It puts us in a unique position where we truly can give and receive within the coaching without judgment, because it’s not personal to us, right? We are simply there to serve.

This is how we can create this judgment free environment, and we have the opportunity to provide sustenance and strength for our client without needing anything back. So I love this definition, and I love that we can think about it in all of our relationships, and I hope that you see what an advantage you have as a coach, needing nothing back, asking nothing back, that you truly can offer something amazing to your client.

So let’s talk a little bit more about how do we actually create this connection and establish this relationship? So the first thing that I recommend that you think about is connecting with your clients emotions. And this comes to when we’re doing a consult the first time we’re talking with a client, and this also will come into play every single week, as you’re listening to your clients. The first thing you want to do, if you imagine being in that first consult with a client, is really listen and identify and reflect the emotions you hear from them.

Now, sometimes your clients will use emotion words, sometimes your clients will explain their emotions in sentences, they will say things like I feel, and they will actually give you a thought, right? They’re giving you sentences. But nonetheless, they are expressing their experience. So whether they identify emotion words, or whether they offer you sentences, listen to and identify and reflect what you hear from them. Now there’s a difference between telling your clients essentially, validating your client’s story, right? I agree with what you’re saying as absolutely true; and this must feel terrible.

We refer to this as being in the pool, and this is not useful, because this is going to solidify in the client’s mind that the way they feel is the only way they can feel and they should feel terrible, and this is a terrible circumstance. So we don’t want to do that, and I think sometimes as coaches, we get confused about how we can actually hold a neutral space, and have it be a warm, connecting experience. And I promise you that both are possible.

So what does this look like this is when we’re listening to our client and understanding and saying, I hear you saying a lot of feelings like misunderstood, frustrated. And it sounds like these feelings for you are pretty challenging right now. And so I’m identifying the feelings. I’m acknowledging this is the client’s experience, and the client is able to feel heard and understood. And I hope that you notice in my language there that I’m not saying to the client, oh, it’s really terrible that this is happening. Of course, you feel really awful. I would, too. What are we going to do? Maybe we can just sit here and stew in the misery. And obviously, that’s extreme. But notice that there is absolutely a way to hear, understand and connect with and have so much understanding and sympathy for what the client is feeling without setting it in stone.

So you want to identify and reflect and express that understanding. It sounds like this is really a challenging experience for you that you’re having. No wonder you wanted to reach out so we can talk right? Hopefully, I can help you to really create a shift here. So you’re expressing understanding that you’re aware that they’re challenged, but you’re not keeping them locked into it.

Another thing you can always do is express a similar situation you’ve experienced in which you felt the same way. Now we want to be careful about assigning the emotion or experience to a circumstance as if it’s set in stone that we would feel that way. Like for example, “Oh, yes. When my kids don’t listen to me, I feel totally humiliated too of course, everyone would feel this way right where we’re saying, oh, that’s exactly how it is.” But you can also offer up, “I totally understand. I know, for me, I experience a lot of challenging feelings that come up when things like that happen, and what I’ve been able to learn is give myself a little bit of space for it, wouldn’t it be great if I can help you do the same?” And so we’re not telling them, this is the only way you can feel. And yet, we’re also saying, yeah, you know what, a lot of people can relate, and it’s normal that you may be feeling this way.

One other thing I want to speak to, when it comes to connecting with emotions, is really specify that we are not adding to our clients feelings, nor are we taking away from them. So I’ve kind of spoken to this already, just in this conversation, this idea of acknowledging how the client is feeling, and notice that when we say something like, “Oh, that’s so awful, oh, no wonder, oh, I would be so devastated. Of course, you’re feeling this way.” Automatically, we’re adding to this experience, right, we’re making it so much worse. And sometimes we want to do that when we want to commiserate with our friends or a partner. But when we do that, in a coaching relationship, sometimes we go so overboard, with empathizing and understanding that we really missed the boat, and we end up adding too negative emotions, almost making it worse. So be aware of that, and we also don’t want to take away from.

As coaches, do we hold a judgment free neutral space? Absolutely. And that doesn’t mean that we minimize our clients experience either, like, “Oh, well, you don’t really have to feel that way. It’s not that big of a deal.” And again, I’m using extreme language there. But just notice, in any case, when you’re connecting with your clients emotions, am I adding to their emotions? Am I taking away from their emotions? Or am I just allowing them to have their emotions, and I’m just here right next to them? That that is the key.

Let’s talk a little bit about what’s next. So we want to connect with our clients emotions, and the next thing we want to do is we want to understand why they’re feeling this way. And this is when we want to ask, “Tell me why this is so hard for you. What about this specifically?” I  hear that this is challenging for you, and from what I’ve heard, it makes sense that it is for you, and also, I know that a lot of different people could feel differently about this, and possibly be frustrated about this for different reasons. Tell me why this is so challenging for you?” So we want to identify those pain points for the client. This is really important initially, and as you continue to work with the client, because when you have the pain points at hand, you can understand how to connect with the client on where they want to go, which I’m going to talk about here in a minute.

But understanding their pain points is going to be able to be a reference point for you as you’re working with a client. So once you’ve identified those pain points in the conversation, you also want to make sure you’re understanding the client’s experience of what they’re sharing with you, and also understand the gap between what they’re feeling or experiencing now in their life or their relationships, or within their health, and where they want to go, what is the gap? What is the difference between where they are now and where they’re headed? And you cannot ask the question, why enough times, I don’t know that I can emphasize that anymore.

So understanding and connecting with emotions, understanding the why. And you also want to connect with your clients once. So if we’re talking in the frame of a consultation, understand the emotions, getting those pain points, understanding why, and then also connecting with what the client wants. Yes, this will set you up in a good place with the client on an initial consult. And all these things I’m talking with you about with connecting with your client are really also the way you sell the client on working with you.

Because truly when the client understands that you understand them, you know where they are, you know what they want, and you’re able to connect the dots, the client cannot help but sign up with you. They know that you’ve got their back, you understand where they’re headed, and they have confidence that you can help them get there. So in this process of connecting with the client in a consult, it’s naturally going to solve a client on working with you, and it’s establishing that foundation of the relationship.

So going back to to what I was saying here, you are laying this foundation in the consult, of connecting with your clients wants and you do this throughout sessions as well. every session, every week that you’re talking with your client when you can continue to go back to identifying where they are identifying, why? What is the gap? And what do they want? Every single week, you’re holding that space to be with them while moving them forward.

So what does it mean to connect with your clients once? Well, we want to understand what in this scenario that your client is describing to you what it is they want. Just that simple, and they may describe that in terms of how they want to feel, or what circumstances they would like to be different, or what experience they would like to be having. So we just want to find out what, and we also want to understand why?

Okay, this is what the client wants. Now, why do they want it? Similar to understanding the emotions they’re feeling now? Their pain points now and why they’re feeling them? We want to understand, okay, this is what you want? And why do you want it? Why does it matter to you? What will life be like then? And you can ask the question of why, why, again, why again, the more you can dive in and find out why something matters to your client, the greater understanding you have of how to help them get there.

The last thing you really want to identify when it comes to connecting with your clients wants and understanding them, is making sure that you understand the desired feelings that your client wants. And when you first find out what is it that you want, they may describe feelings, or the experience and all of that, but make sure that you really identify the feelings they want to have, and even talk a little bit about why those feelings will be so great for them. Really, really important questions to ask.

Okay, the last thing I want to offer you today in terms of creating this connection initially and regularly with your client is helping them to envision possibility. So imagine on a consult, for example, your client knows you understand how they’re feeling. They know you understand why they feel that way, they know that you are clear on what they want, and why they want it, you’ve talked a little bit about the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Now, they need to be able to truly envision that happening. Because remember, your client has come to you, and they’ve probably already tried a lot of things before coming to you. They have a pain point, they have something they want fixed in their life, but they may not have confidence that it’s really possible for them. And so part of your job as the coach is to believe in this future for them before they can and really help them envision that possibility. So you want to be able to help them envision that possibility several ways.

Number one, help them to simply imagine, okay, all of these things we’ve talked about that you want, imagine what will it be like in your life, if that is possible? Just giving your client that space right there is going to give them a new perspective, it’s going to open things up in their mind to give them possibilities; so powerful. The other thing you can do with the client is help to bridge the gap for them. You can take what they’ve said that they want, you can take what they’ve said is currently happening for them, and you can draw the correlation in how they can get there, and help them to see this thing that they want, this destination is actually not that far off.

And the other thing you want to do as you’re helping your client envision possibility is identify seeds of hope, on that consultation, or in that regular weekly session, identify one small thing that’s going to put them on the path to getting where they want to go. Remember that the client needs you there to help believe for them. They need you to see what’s possible before they can see it, so you can coach them at that high level. And the more you can see it for them, and help them identify small seeds of hope, little things they can do that show them and demonstrate and feel like to them a little bit of progress. It is everything.

So this is what I’ve got for you today. Remember; focus on that connection and relationship with your client. Make sure that you’re able to establish trust, and that you communicate to them that you understand what they want, and that you are going to help them get there. I promise when you focus on that relationship first, and you make sure that you are not bringing any judgment adding to or taking away from their situation, it’s going to put you in a powerful coaching place. And just as a reminder, if you haven’t yet make sure to go to the Coaching Collective sign up for our free monthly mastery training. It comes up every single month. These are the kinds of topics we talked about, and I hope to see you there. Have a good one.

Thanks for listening to The Masterful Coach podcast. You can check out www.coachingcollective.com for info about the ultimate program for coaches building a business. To find out more about Molly, you can visit www.mollyclaire.com