Why and How You Need to Set Boundaries with New Coaching Clients

When we just get started in the coaching world, we often think:

"I can work with anyone!"

Although the work we do can help a wide variety of people, it is important to ensure you are working with your ideal client and setting clear boundaries too. 


Getting Clear on Your Ideal Client

We always hear marketing gurus talk about how you need to have your ideal client avatar in mind for everything you do.

Having your ideal client can help with marketing, messaging and your content, but it does so much more.

Your ideal client is like the guiding star when it comes to who you do and don't work with.

If you do not have clarity on who your ideal client is, it can be easy to start to work with the wrong people. 

Not to say that anyone is good or bad, but there can be some difficult clients out there that can make your job extra hard.

I've learned this lesson the hard way, so I hope you don't have to too, but it is essential that you decline to work with clients that don't align with you.


Characteristics of a Difficult Client

It may seem obvious when you meet a client that isn't a fit, or it may be sneaky. Here are a few ways you can tell if you are dealing with a potentially difficult client:


1. They make requests to change your program or services

Some requests are reasonable, and some changes can be made, but when you are needing to change your WHOLE PROGRAM around to fit a client, it's likely not a good fit.


2. They are only available on your days off or off hours

When you are getting started, a little flexibility can help, but prioritize getting clients that can fit in your ideal schedule.

Set the schedule for your dream job, and stick to it. 


3. They don't trust or respect your work

If a client is rude to you, or puts you down, they don't deserve your service. Never forget how incredible you are and how powerful your work is.

No one gets to talk down to you, especially not a client.


4. You get a weird/off vibe from them

TRUST YOUR GUT. For real, you know when something doesn't feel right. If it doesn't feel right, it likely isn't. 

Do not force it or "try it out" if it doesn't feel right from the get-go. 


Too Busy With the Wrong People

In the beginning, you may have some clients that are "just an okay fit" for your business, but as you start to define your brand and stand out, this should stop.

Your days should be filled with the right clients that light you up and energize you. 

When you are too busy working with all the wrong people, you block yourself from being able to work with the right people. 


Your ideal client may be looking for you but you may be too busy already.

Sending out a message to the universe that you are ready to work with your ideal client is simple:

Stop working with the wrong people.


How to Set Boundaries with Coaching Clients

Let's say you found a new client and you are ready to get started. It is essential that you set clear boundaries from the beginning, whether they are ideal or not!


Your boundaries are important as they:

-keep you energized and in love with your work

-promote self-love, self-esteem and self-respect

-prevent you from burning out


Each coaching program is different so it is key that you get clarity on what you want from your business.

Before you can set boundaries, you need to know what those boundaries are.

Check in with when you want to work, how you want to work, how much time you will spend with each client, what that looks like, and what level of support you are providing before and after sessions.


Start by setting your boundaries on the first call so that everyone involved is clear of the expectations.


What Boundaries Need to Be Set

Each business is different but the most popular boundaries you can set with your coaching clients are:


1. Explicitly what you program entails

What exactly do they get from working with you?


2. When you will work together

Clear parameters of start and end dates of the program and when you will have sessions or calls.


3. How they can reach you

What platforms do you use? Can they text you? 


4. When you are available for them

What hours are you at their service? Can they call you anytime or do you set a certain day for additional inquiries?


5. How much time and energy they can commit

The work goes beyond just coaching calls. Does that client have time to do homework, complete exercises and action that which you are coaching them on?



Most of the time, when someone is upset or not feeling heard, it comes from unmet expectations. 

To avoid a potentially unhappy client, it is essential that you start by setting boundaries and having clear expectations before you work together.

If the expectations cannot be met, or if a client does not respect your boundaries, it may be a sign they are not a good fit.


In all my programs, I have always and will always offer a full refund. If for some reason, the program wasn't exactly what they signed up for, I will refund them. 

Having a guarantee or promise can help limit bad reviews and unhappy customers.


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