Back when I was coaching and consulting full time, I learned a hugely helpful lesson in improving my effectiveness. It’s pretty simple–what I like to call the business-changing magic of keeping it real. Or: “If you feel it, find a way to say it.”
This is something I picked up from the book Let’s Get Real Or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig.
Sounds simple, but it’s incredibly powerful to use as a guide in your interactions with clients.
Like many coaches and consultants, I’m a rational type. I’m not super comfortable with conflict or anger or other emotional issues that sometimes arise in any business relationship.
So when I picked up that my client might be concerned about something, or angry, or disappointed or whatever, I tended to keep quiet.
“Let’s not open that can of worms,” I’d think to myself as I swept the issue under the carpet and acted as if nothing was wrong.
And, of course, that’s rarely the right thing to do. It usually comes back to haunt you. Bad feelings fester and grow out of proportion to their causes until they become much more destructive than if they’d been addressed early.
Keeping it Real with Your Coaching Clients
The “if you feel it, find a way to say it” principle encourages you to speak out if you sense something is wrong.
Here are some phrases to try:
“I get the sense you’re not fully comfortable with this plan…”
“It feels like something else may be worrying you right now, is that right…?”
Having the courage to say what you’re feeling or sensing gives your client a chance to open up, and almost always diffuses situations that could become relationship-destroying if left unchecked.
Having the courage to say what you're feeling or sensing gives your client a chance to open up, and almost always diffuses situations that could become relationship-destroying if left unchecked.
Keeping it Real with Your Business Coaching Prospects
It works in sales too, before you even close the deal.
Often we pick up that our prospects might not be fully bought into what we’re proposing. Or they may have some objections to our solution. Or they might just not believe what we’re saying.
Usually we get a feeling that something’s not right. But we tend to ignore it, ploughing on through, getting to the end of the meeting unscathed, and submitting the proposal–only to find out later we didn’t win the client.
Far better to say what we’re feeling. Give your potential client a chance to get any issues they might have out on the table so you can address them.
You’re much more likely to win a sale as a result, rather than just bulldozing past their objections.
If you feel it, find a way to say it.
For more great business-building tips like these, check out the Coaches’ Coach FREE ebook, Secrets of a Business Coaching Rock Star.