Gremlins in the Client Enrollment Process - Yours, Mine and Ours!The other day I was pondering the question of why so many coaches feel hesitant in the client enrollment process.  We hear all the time about coaches not knowing what to say or do, not wanting to be ‘salesy’, not feeling smooth and easy with the process of helping clients register for coaching and realize their dreams.

One of the thoughts that came to me was that the enrollment process typically involves gremlin coaching.  And many coaches do not realize this.  In coaching school, we were taught that gremlins are those critical voices that come up for us when we start to move out of our comfort zone.  Their job is to keep us safe, and keep us IN our comfort zone.  The further outside our comfort zone we want to go, the louder they get.

Gremlins come in a form that would be exactly tailored for each of us – they know how to push your buttons perfectly.  Some things the gremlins have said to me and my clients over the years:  ‘Who are you to do this?’  ‘You are not enough.’ ‘People will think you are desperate.’ ‘No one will pay those fees for coaching.’  And the list goes on and on…

And to add to the coach’s gremlins, the potential client’s gremlins are going to come up too.  Whenever someone becomes interested in coaching, it is going to involve some sort of change for them.  It will bring them out of their comfort zone by definition.

Prospective coaching clients’ gremlins will be present in the sales process saying:  ‘I can’t afford coaching.’ ‘I don’t have time.’ ‘I’m not ready.’  In fact, those very gremlins keep some potential clients from even coming into an enrollment conversation to begin with.

The implications for us as coaches are clear:  When we realize that our gremlins are present and that the client’s gremlins are present too, then we understand what needs to be done.  When gremlins are present in a coaching session, there are certain techniques that are recommended especially for this type of situation.

For the coach, extreme self care is paramount.  Proper sleep, nutrition and movement go a long way toward quieting your own gremlins.  And that’s only the physical side of self care.  Think about what works for you.  What are the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual ways that you can take care of yourself so that your gremlins feel as safe as possible?

For your potential client, you can use your ‘gremlin coaching’ tools in the enrollment conversation.   You can create even more safety, as gremlins like to be safe.  You can ask more questions, as questions cannot be argued with by the gremlins.  You can be bold, and understand that the resistance you are feeling from your potential client is not to you or to coaching, but to the process of change and getting out of their comfort zone.

There is so much to say about this, and we have just scratched the surface.  Please share your thoughts on this (email me at so that together we can raise our awareness about what is happening in the enrollment process, and help clients get past their gremlins, get into coaching, and realize their dreams!