I’ve trained a lot of coaches this past year. It’s been amazing to not only have a coaching relationship with these women, but also to train and teach them the foundations of coaching, ontology and what it actually means to establish and nurture a coaching relationship; what it means to show up as coach in the world and for our clients.

As coaches we know that we are partners with our clients; guides in a thought-provoking and creative process that truly sparks growth, personal development and transformation. Not just on a doing level, but a being level. A true coach inspires change on a soul, purposeful level that is long-lasting and applies to multiple areas of life. Yes, even us “business coaches” coach around the being and the deeper-seeded stories and survival mechanisms that surface whether we are starting a new biz, a new project or a new relationship.

The never-ending question and training request that I get from my trainees is that of responsibility. And I’d be lying if I didn’t have this internal conversation as well.

What if my clients aren’t transforming?

What if they aren’t finding the job, creating the business, feeling purposeful, etc.?

What if they hire me and nothing changes?

What if they are paying me and they don’t get the results that they hope for?

What if they are disappointed in my services?

As with any situation, there is a light and a shadow. There is a something beautiful about checking in with this internal dialogue and yet under the same sun, there can be something dark and self-destructive.

First, if you are considering your responsibility as a coach inside of the coaching relationship: good! You give a damn, you care, you want to show up powerfully and are willing to take responsibility for what you bring to the relationship. This is important! You are responsible for being coach inside of the relationship.

You are responsible for showing up powerfully to your sessions.

You are responsible for NOT buying into your clients’ stories and seeing the big picture beyond the context.

You are responsible for asking powerful questions that facilitate transformation.

You are responsible for reflecting to your clients their possibility and where they are stopping themselves.

You are responsible for being an accountability partner and facilitating the co-creation of action plans.

You are responsible for actively listening and providing direct communication and feedback.

You are responsible for coaching ethically and in integrity with the the standards of coaching.

You are responsible for creating a trusting space where goal-setting can take place.

You are responsible for coaching your clients.

For you to check in with yourself and develop your skills in order to facilitate the coaching relationship speaks volumes to your commitment and desire to truly be a coach that creates change. (Yes, give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve got this goin’ on!)

And then there’s the shadow; the dark and potentially self-destructive side of being a coach/healer/facilitator of transformation in this world.

Sometimes, we take too much responsibility for our clients’ results. Sometimes, we actually make it about us, instead of them.

Here’s how this may show up:

You take the “blame” for your client not fulfilling on their project plan or accountability sheet

You might be thinking to yourself: I should have done XYZ better

You’re afraid to charge what you desire because “What if people don’t get the results they want?”

You feel like you let your client down if they are discouraged, want to quit coaching or want to give up on themselves

You worry about your clients too much ( I know this is subjective--but if this is you, you know what I mean).

You make it about you/your coaching abilities if your client doesn’t:

-land the job

-find the man

-sign the clients

-launch the product/service/project

-find their purpose

-create long-lasting happiness

-change their entire life in 4 hours/month over the course of 6 months.

Listen, I get it!

I want everyone to live the happiest, most fulfilling life possible--but guess what? As coaches, we actually also know that fulfillment of the job, the man, the clients, the launch, the discovery of true purpose, inner peace, ALL OF IT….is actually on our clients.

Unless somewhere in your coaching package you commit to packing up and moving in with your clients (highly do not recommend this!), then the fulfillment of goals, no matter what they are, is truly up to your clients. Your responsibility is not to fulfill your clients’ goals, but to coach them, empower them and inspire them to maximize their own potential and fulfill on their declarations. And if by chance this doesn’t happen as quickly as they would like, you keep on coaching them.

Now, as we talked about above-- you do bring something magical to the table here, but at the end of the day we must release attachment to our clients’ results. We’ve got to.

We must take responsibility as their coach, and that is enough.

Check in with yourself and your level of attachment to your clients’ results. If you know that you are being responsible as coach, then release attachment and empower your clients to fulfill.

If you are feeling any resistance to releasing attachment, take a look inward.

What is this really about?

Perhaps there are requests for support that you can take to your own coach. Or, perhaps consider professional development or further training that will allow you to improve your coaching skills. Whatever you choose, sink into the idea that you can only take responsibility for yourself in the coaching relationship and when you empower this responsibility, you honor the partnership and set your clients up for the utmost success.  


What is your take on responsibility inside of the coaching relationship?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!