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How to Effectively Coach Stressed Out Clients

Are you a coach? Keep reading to discover 3 tips on how to effectively coach stressed out clients. 


If you are a coach, chances are you have worked with a client at one point or another where they felt really stressed. 


Maybe they were stressed from work, parenting, or just trying to juggle several different things in life.  


Prefer to learn on video? Watch here: 

Hi, I’m Coach Lilly and I’m the director of training and coach development at Body Brain Alliance

Today I have three tips for you on how to work with stressed out clients. 


First, I want to say it can be very challenging as a coach to work with a client who is feeling a lot of stress or going through a stressful time because as coaches… We want to help our clients build skills. 


We want to help them overcome their stressors and reach their goals. So naturally, this can cause us maybe a little anxiety or nervousness when working with this client.


It can also be hard as a coach to know what we need to coach this client on to help them move forward. 


We want to know what is going to be the most impactful saying that we can tell them or give them to help them come out on the other side. It’s because as coaches, we care a lot about our client’s success, and that’s a good thing. 


However, instead of trying to tackle all the things and talk about all the stressors and give them a bunch of tools that are ultimately only going to overwhelm the client more and leave them more confused about how to move forward…

Here’s what you should do instead, which brings us to the first step of this 3 part process. 


Step #1: Ask Them This Question:  

“If you could achieve anything this week, what would it be?”


This provides an opportunity for the client to get essential and to get clear on what is the number one priority.


We know from our own stressors in life, but especially when we see it in clients, our brains tell us we have to fix all of the things. We have to start juggling a lot of different plates, and we have to find solutions to several things at the same time. 


But we know this doesn’t ultimately help us get past the stressors because sometimes doing more is not the answer. 


As a coach, what we can do is help them get essential and help them get simple to identify the number one priority on the steps that they can take to manage their stress and reach their ultimate goal. 


So by asking, “If you could achieve anything this week, what would it be?” It puts the client in the position and the autonomy to decide on what they really want that week. 

      • What is going to make them feel the best? 

      • What is going to help them feel successful? 

      • What is going to help them tap into their accomplishments and their skills that they already have? 

    This then, of course, taps into their confidence and additional skill building, and we can start to see that momentum be gained again. 


    This question also allows the client to create a plan to create action steps on the things that they can do to move the needle forward after we work with the client on identifying what the number one priority is for that week or until you talk with them again. 


    Step #2: Provide Them With A Tool To Help Them Navigate Through Anything That Pops Up During The Week 

    Whether it is worries or a little bit of extra stress, or just a bit of that anxiousness that can come up when trying to work through those stressful times… 


    Some ideas can be journaling or a brain dump, which can be really impactful when they feel like they have a lot of swimming thoughts in their brain. 


    It helps them get it out on paper or on their phone so that it’s no longer in their brain. This helps put their thoughts in another place. 


    It can also be very impactful to encourage your clients to give themselves a moment each day to reflect on: 

        • What their goal is

        • What they are working towards

        • Why it is so important for them

      Quick recap: We’ve had our client pick the number one priority to actually identify what they want to work on that week to move the needle forward.


      We provided them a tool to help them navigate when those feelings or unhelpful thoughts pop up. And not just a way to navigate those feelings and emotions, but to navigate through that action plan that they need when they identify their first priority. 


      Step #3: Deprioritize


      This is the opposite of prioritizing. It’s finding the things and helping them identify the things in their life that do not need to be tackled right then and there. 


      Remember when clients feel overwhelmed, when anybody feels overwhelmed, the go-to sometimes is to try to tackle all of the things, and we know that that’s not helpful. 


      So by preventing that overwhelm, we can intentionally choose not to do other things.


      We can make the conscious choice when looking at our to-do list, when clients are looking at their task list for the day or for the week and choosing: 

          • What can be postponed?

          • What can be delegated?

          • Or what can not be put on the list? Until they overcome that more stressful period and come out on another side where they feel like they have a little bit more capacity to tackle it…

        This allows more room for growth and minimizes all of that extra stuff that would only be contributing to their stress as a coach. 


        If you want more assistance when working with clients and helping them achieve the most success, our Change Academy Pro is a wonderful resource that has ongoing support to help you be a better coach. 


        Thank you for reading, see you in the next one! 

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        Hi, I'm Karin

        I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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