I want my clients to succeed but I’m not responsible for their success.

Just because you’ve paid for coaching doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best from coaching.

It may sound harsh, but that’s my experience.

Clients who go ‘all in’, are the only ones who achieve the most significant gains.

But what differentiates the ones who hesitate from those who commit and succeed?

And how can we, as coaches, tilt the odds in our clients favour?

Today, I’m excited to share 4 insights on how to deepen and maximise the coaching relationship.

Exploring different ways for clients to leverage their investment and time.

So that every interaction is as fruitful as possible.

Let’s dive in together.

Setting the ground rules

First things first.

Have you taken the time to establish some clear ground rules?

This crucial step, often overlooked sets the tone for the entire coaching journey.

When I first started, I underestimated the importance of this approach.

Now with each new client, I share a document titled, ‘Core Coaching Agreements.’

This isn’t words on a page; it’s a cornerstone of our work together.

For instance, under the heading ‘COACHABILITY’ you’ll find these statements:

  • The most powerful coaching happens when I am open to new possibilities.
  • I’m open to explore and reach for things that I currently believe are impossible.
  • I recognise there’s always more to learn and this knowledge supports my growth.
  • I embrace continuous learning.

You might assume your client is on the same page as you, but assumptions can be risky.

To avoid misunderstandings, consider drafting a simple agreement. Outline the expectations, boundaries, and goals for both parties.

This step isn’t to avoid confusion. It’s to build a foundation of mutual respect and understanding from day one.

What do you want to achieve

Now you’ve set some ground rules, it’s time to get clear on what you’re going to achieve together.

Understanding client goals is pivotal in tailoring your coaching sessions.

Consider guiding your clients through the following introspective questions:

  • What do you want to achieve and why is that important to you?
  • What sacrifices are you willing to make to reach your goals?
  • How will achieving these goals make you feel?
  • What habits do you want to change or develop to succeed?
  • What are your criteria for measuring success?

For example, my client Maria Gardner set a financial goal to grow her business.

Sitting with these questions, she realised her aim was not only increasing revenue but creating an award winning business too.

One that gained best-in-class recognition for the quality of her services.

This clarity transformed her approach and her commitment to the process.

On Wednesday 8th November her business, Psychology Works Global won the 2023 ABP Award for Change Management – Private Sector.

The takeaway being, encourage your clients to be smarter in setting goals.

This approach ensures their goals are clearer, better-defined, and more fulfilling.

Setting a clear path to their success.

Congratulations Maria! You did it!

Committing the to Process

As Jean-Paul Sartre put it, “Commitment is an act, not a word.”

This understanding is crucial for both coach and client.

When clients engage in the moment, they step into the true power of the coaching process.

Here are 3 key strategies I use to cultivate and maintain client commitment:

  1. Define commitment goals: what does commitment mean to your client?
  2. Embrace total engagement: how committed are they to the process? What price or sacrifice are they willing to pay?
  3. Foster confidence: where are they holding back or resisting? How would breaking through and celebrating small wins build their confidence?

Remember, commitment is the act of a transformative coaching experience.

It’s not about talking a good game; it’s about getting your hands dirty.

Immersing yourself in the journey of growth and change.

That’s the difference between clients that do and those who wish.

Getting blown off course

Contrary winds are deflecting you from your intended destination.

How do you react when your clients coaching experience is blown off course?

My friend Frank Dam, runs a successful coaching/consulting practice, Sea2Sky.

A certified coach and a qualified sailing instructor, his philosophy is nautically expressed:

“Sailing connects me to nature’s elements and supports my belief that the only constant is change. Therefore, we have to adjust and adapt to get to our desired destination.”

On water or dry land, the art of skilful course correction is the heartbeat of sustained progress.

I recommend:

  1. Scheduling consistent and structured check-ins to assess progress and address any challenges.
  2. Encouraging clients to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. Both from client and coach perspectives.
  3. Consider alternative approaches or backup plans for their goals.
  4. Viewing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than setbacks.

This shift in perspective helps clients to remain motivated and engaged. Even when the journey gets choppy.


Whenever you embark on a coaching adventure, success is never a guaranteed destination.

The key lies in the commitment of both coach and client.

As Frank Dam navigates the ever-changing seas, coaches and clients must adapt and steer through any storms and challenges.

Forget about rigidly sticking to plans, embrace guiding principles such as purpose and values.

Flexibility, resilience, and the willingness to adjust.

Setting clear goals and establishing ground rules lay a strong foundation.

But it’s the courage to face and learn from setbacks, that propels clients toward their goals and cultivates personal development.

“The impediment to action advances action.” as Marcus Aurelius would say.

In my own experience as a client, the value of coaching is not racking up the wins. But in the transformational journey I committed to from the start.

A never ending journey, marked by continuous learning and adaptation.

That’s where I’ve found true growth and success.

I wish the same for all clients, especially yours.



  • Set ground rules
  • Know what you want to achieve and why
  • Committing to the process
  • Work on your coachability
  • Be radically transparent
  • Making the most of every coaching session
  • Insight Without Action is Pointless. Follow through.
  • Expect bumps in the road and course correct

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