What makes a good coaching relationship?


The professional or executive coaching relationship is not the same as selling a pair of shoes or a car or even a house. It is not a ‘sell, get the money and move on’ transactional type relationship. The coaching relationship is one where once the sale is done, we now have an ongoing, intimate coaching relationship.

A relationship where the player and coach need to work in close proximity together to get results. A relationship where the player will be asked to step out of their comfort zones and do things they most likely have not done before.

If they had have done it before they would already be getting the results they want. The player (Sales Manager, Managing Director, CEO, Marketing Director, Sales Rep, Executive) needs to listen, reflect, comply and implement.

They need to be open to feedback and willing to take action. If they are a ‘know it all’ or think ‘this is for my staff but not for me’ or any other permutation or distortion, they will not get the results they are after


In 90% or more of cases, if the results are not achieved, the client won’t blame themselves.

They will blame the Coach. It’s a given.

So if I am going to work with someone, I am not only investing time, energy, emotion and a vital irretrievable part of my life (when I could be either spending time with my wife and family, exercising or playing in my band, or working with another, more profitable, less troublesome client), I am also risking my reputation.

Lesson: Due Diligence is Everything.


You too, I’m sure, have taken on business over the years you wish you hadn’t. You’ve probably had clients that cost you money.

You probably jumped in when 5 minutes of due diligence (calling two trusted friends, colleagues or mentors) would have saved you a bucket load of time, money and grief.


As the Pareto Principle goes, 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your profits. And 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your grief. Usually the 20% who give you the 80% of the profit will not be the same clients as those who give you the grief.

The challenge and wisdom comes when you can pick the ‘Grief Givers’ from 100 meters.

Too many people in business take whoever walks through their door then wonder why business is full of grief.

You need to work out what makes an Ideal Client and What Makes a Grief Giver.

Your goal is to then market to attract the Ideal not the Grief.


In my case my Ideal Client has the following criteria

  1. They are keen to learn and grow
  2. They are keen to participate and lead the change program
  3. They can see the value and the return on investment
  4. They don’t argue over the money
  5. They pay on time
  6. They are open and honest – if there is a problem they work calmly and in partnership to solve it
  7. They implement the key strategies and don’t dawdle and dilly dally around
  8. They don’t skip on meetings, training sessions, doing what needs to be done or make excuses
  9. They have a sense of humour are fun to work with and do business

What does your list look like?

Your marketing should radiate to prospects with those characteristics and weed out those who don’t. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might just keep running into clients you’re not looking for.

Take control of the process.

Don’t let the process take control of you.

Hope this helps you as a Professional Coach.

Leigh Farnell
Business Innovation and Growth through Sales and Service Teamwork

If you are interested in learning more about Leigh and his workshops on Essemy, please visit this link.