As a coach, when you speak with your clients, do you believe everything they say about their problems, or do you believe in their potential?

Sometimes, as a life coach, you’ll find yourself speaking with a person who says their problem is too big, or your solution won’t work, or their dream is simply too far out of reach to achieve. Now, ask yourself: when this happens, do you take them at their word? Do you accept the story they’re telling themselves about why they can’t create the life they want, and confirm their own helplessness to them?

There’s believing your clients, and there’s believing in them. This fine distinction can mean the difference between inspiring people to take the action that will move them toward their dreams, or encouraging them to continue to live the painful, unfulfilled life they had before they met you.

As a coach, it’s your sacred duty to believe in your clients more than they believe in themselves.

You aren’t here to confirm their “I can’t” stories; you’re here to help them surpass them.

I recently heard of an exercise involving a coach, a client, and a person who stood behind the client with her fingers in the air. When the person behind the client held up all 10 fingers, the coach believed wholeheartedly that the client could accomplish anything they set their minds to. If they wanted a course, they could afford it; if they needed more time, they could create it.

Then the fingers started going down. Five fingers… the coach became lukewarm, and her tangible belief in her client’s abilities vanished. The client, in turn, became more hesitant and uncertain.

When only two fingers were held up, the coach actually asked the client, “Are you sure you’re cut out for this?”

The client was clearly taken aback, and the wind went out of her sails. Now she was doubting her own abilities, and feeling completely uncertain of her capacity to afford the course, create the time to use it, and get results with it in her life.

When the fingers started coming up again, the coach resumed her acknowledgment and encouragement, and the client’s confidence began to return. It was only after the exercise was over that the client found out what had been going on just behind her head.

So the next time you’re speaking with a client, whether it’s someone who’s already working with you, or a person who’s still just considering you as a coach, remember to ‘hold them at a 10’. Believe in them entirely, remember that their potential easily dwarfs the problems that they face, and treat them as if they are entirely capable of doing anything they set their mind to, regardless of the circumstances.

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