As a life coach, your purpose is to help others create lives that they truly love living.
Should you be coaching friends and family? Is it okay for them to actually hire you and pay you money for your services?
In the process of doing this, as you apply the transformational principles that you share with your clients to your own life, you create a life that YOU love living, too!
The people around you in your friend or family circles, and in your community, will likely begin to notice the difference you’re making with your clients and in your own life, and become aware of the ALIVENESS that you’re exuding as a result.
Some of your friends and family may even begin to ask you more about the work that you’re doing, and whether or not they can work with you.
But should you be coaching friends and family? Or does this create too much of a conflict of interest in some way?
YES, it is appropriate to coach the people close to you, provided that you keep a few things in mind…
First and foremost, when it comes to your loved ones, your first relationship with them is going to always be the personal relationship that you have with them.
The secondary relationship will always be that of coach and client.
For this reason, when coaching friends and family, it’s best in the beginning of the coaching relationship to have set some very clear ground rules.
Share with them exactly what the coaching experience will entail….
Let them know what your expectations will be of them as a client…
… and what they can expect from you as their professional coach.
For example, you’ll want to make your potential client aware of what the duration of the program is, what the time commitment is, and that there will be times throughout the program you’ll guide them through where they may feel “uncomfortable.”
Creating a life we truly love involves getting “uncomfortable” — it involves stepping outside of our current comfort zone, and stretching ourselves beyond our current limitations!
You’ll also want to communicate that you’ll have appointment times setup in advance to work with them, and that you are both expected to honor and keep those appointment times.
I have seen many, many life coaches successfully work with their friends, family, co-workers, because they do a great job of sharing the ground rules and expectations in advance — before coaching begins.
Here’s an example of how I accepted my mother as a life coaching client…
My father passed away in 2003. I’d been doing professional coaching since 1981, and so, by the time he died, I already had many, many clients all over the world.
My mother had always known about my work. She even came to a few of the events I did! But she had never put herself INSIDE my work. My signature coaching program was called, and still is called, the DreamBuilder Program.
Even though she’d always been a supportive mother, she had never taken it, or any of my other programs.
But then, my dad died. My parents were married for 63 years, so as you would expect, being without him for the first time in over six decades was extremely hard for her. She went through a very dark, difficult time.
Then one day, a few months later, she called me and said, “Mary, I’ve been thinking. If I’m still breathing, then maybe there’s something I should do with my life that I’m not doing. Tell me about that DreamBuilder Program you do.”
So I explained to her what it was. I told her it was a coaching program, where we’d spend several months together exploring what it is that she would love to be, do, have or create in her life.
I said, “This is a coaching relationship,” and I described the ground rules of the people that I work with, and my mother decided to enroll.
She was 85 years old at the time, and as a result of our work together, her life began to expand. She discovered that she really wanted to reignite her passion for painting, and she began painting these beautiful china plates. It gave her great joy to do this.
Over time, her work began to be featured in art galleries all around the Pacific Northwest, where we lived.
She went on to write a book, she started a nonprofit… she lived seven more joyful, fulfilling, expressive and expansive years after her phone call to me, where she asked about becoming a coaching client of mine.
Those seven years were the most creative years of my mother’s life
I’m very proud, of course, that I had the privilege of being the person who helped coach someone I loved so much out of a dark time, and into some new beginnings for herself.
But my mother was the one who had to take those steps! I couldn’t take them for her, and she knew this… because we were both very clear about what the client and coach relationship looked like before we began working together.
But even though she became my client, first and foremost, she was always my mom — and our mother-daughter relationship grew even stronger during that time, as well.
So if you’re considering coaching friends and family, be clear with them about the nature of the client and coach relationship.
Let them know that you are here to support them in achieving their goals and their dreams, and not in perpetuating disempowering stories or excuses.
Also, be sure to take them through a proven system of transformation, like the one that we give our coaches who become certified with us at Life Mastery Institute — one that’s reliable and repeatable when it comes to producing extraordinary results.
For more step-by-step tools and proven strategies on how to start or grow a successful life coaching business that makes a profound and lasting difference in the lives of others, and allows you to earn an abundant income working from anywhere that you choose, click here to download my FREE ebook, “Are You Meant to Be a Life Coach?”