“They’re just not ready to change” is a cop out.

“They’re just not ready to change” is a cop out. 

That’s what stuck, inexperienced coaches say to make themselves feel better about THEIR own stuckness. 

First of all, I wanna say this- it’s actually ok to get stuck with a client and it’s ok to be wherever you’re at with your current level of experience. 

It’s totally normal. 

Why? Because human behaviour is complex!!!

If you get stuck and you don’t have a next step, it is also ok to refer them on or part ways. 

But throwing out a line like “they’re just not ready to change” might just be a big, fat cover story for your own stuckness as a coach unless they have congruently stated that to be true. 

This is common with accountability style “coaching” which is basically telling or often shouting at people that if they were taking responsibility they would have changed. *Facepalm*

Change is complex. There is SO much more to it than personal responsibility. Plenty of people are in a place of ownership but struggling to change. 

Here are some (there are way more) alternative places to look:

# Do you have rapport? If you’re experiencing resistance, friction or conflict with a client, that is a sign of insufficient rapport. Rapport is not about liking each other, it’s about the old limbic hook up! Synchronise with them at a deep nervous system level.

# Are you telling them how to change? If you’re just telling people what to do and giving advice this is NOT coaching. If you’re in a consulting role then it is necessary to advise, but if you can have them collaborate with you as much as possible in how they implement what you’re advising you’ll likely get more buy in. If you’re in a coaching role and people are not doing what you’ve told them to do, you’re telling, you’re not coaching or facilitating. 

# Do you understand the structure of their problem and the desired outcome? You’ll need this to help move them from where they are to where they want to be. 

# Do you understand how transformation works? If you’re reading change process scripts and they’re not working, do you have a depth of understanding to be able to back track and troubleshoot the process? Do you know when to use one process over another? Do you know how to blend and design custom processes on the fly to make the right fit for your unique client? Do you know how to address secondary gain? 

We are always a part of the pattern that is driving and guiding their behaviour. Sometimes we’re not well suited for our client and their needs. Sometimes our approach or experience level or whatever it is, is not the right fit. Sometimes it feels hard and draining while we’re learning or working with clients who aren’t a great fit. 

And that’s cool. 

You don’t have to work with everyone. And you don’t have to have successfully helped absolutely everyone either. 

But jumping to the conclusion that there is something wrong with them can rob ourselves of the opportunity to notice where and how WE are getting stuck, so we miss the opportunity to own our shortcomings and learn as a result. 

If I offered a short course in getting unstuck when you feel stuck with clients, would you wanna dive into that with me? 

With warmth,


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I’m Amy Bell, NLP Trainer & Coach.

For close to a decade I have been exploring, learning and experimenting with NLP. I’ve trained extensively in both Australia and Europe with some of the worlds most acclaimed NLP Trainers.

I’m both intensely curious, and obsessive about my own ongoing development, the creation and delivery of my work and the results I get for my people. 

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