Sometimes, a client doesn’t show up for a coaching session. Or maybe even a few sessions. As their coach, I want to encourage them to stay with the process, and have them be there to receive what they came to coaching for.

When I first started coaching, and someone didn’t show up, I took it personally.  I thought that maybe I wasn’t a good coach.  I questioned myself.  And felt like I might not be enough.

Here’s what helped me let go of those limiting beliefs.

The first thing that I did was change how my clients paid. Instead of having clients pay by the session, I organized my coaching into 3-month programs.  That cut down on clients not showing up for coaching until they felt the need.  They were able to be pro-active, as they’d already paid and made that commitment up front.

The second thing I did was learn not to take it personally. I always say that having a coaching business is the best self-development tool ever, and this is one of those times that is so true.

If a client starts to miss or re-schedule sessions, check in and see if the coaching is meeting their needs, or if they want more of something or less of something.  Or you could ask what is working for them, and what is not working for them.  This is not a place to invite criticism, or to put yourself on the hot seat.  You just want to find out about their personal experience.  It may be purely logistical: that their child has started school and they have to drive them at that time.

Another reason that someone may not be showing up could be because of their gremlins and some natural resistance to being out of their comfort zone.  I realized that it could actually have nothing to do with me.  It might have to do with the transformation process itself.

When I was training coaches, we had a module about the coaching process.  Part of the coaching process included the quitting zone in coaching.  The quitting zone is that time where the breakthrough is just about to happen.  The resistance has built up, and the gremlins are out in full force.  The client starts to call in late for sessions, or miss them completely.  They lose heart.  They want to quit.

And as a coach, it’s my role to help the client through this zone, on to the breakthrough.  In fact, the reason that the client hasn’t had their transformation is because they have stopped themselves at this point, this quitting zone, probably many times before in their life.  I know that if I can encourage my client past this zone, even this one time, they will receive the transformation that they are looking for.

So, when I take the perspective that these absences are a part of the coaching process, and a potential quitting zone, instead of taking it personally, I understand that I need to help my client.  Taking on the role of helper is much more natural to me than either being some type of disciplinarian, trying to get a person to stop missing sessions, or to feeling confused, letting them go, and having them disappear into the quitting zone forever.

This perspective empowered me to find ways to encourage my clients to move past the quitting zone, and achieve their goals.  It’s one of my most powerful coaching mindsets.

So if someone is missing their sessions, be a coach. Reach out and check if they are in the quitting zone and then coach them through to the other side. They’ll thank you for it.