What to do when a client asks you to tell them what to do?

Have you ever had a client point blank ask you to tell them what to do?

Do you find your clients are looking to you for the answers?

Are they wanting expert advice, recommendations and solutions?

Lately coaches over in my Facebook community and my IIN students are wondering about this fairly common coaching dilemma.

We're not supposed to be the experts and we want to let the client lead, so how do we handle this situation?

One of my mentors and a great health coaching teacher, Dr. Michael Arloski has this advice:

First he says that just because we are letting the client lead doesn't mean we need to answer all of their questions.

(Remember coaches are the ones with the questions, clients are the ones with the answers)

Dr. Michael says that these clients are typically discouraged by past failures, looking for quick fixes and have low self-efficacy (don't believe in their own ability to actually make change) so they're looking for an expert to tell them what to do.

He suggests, In these instances to explore this line of questioning, with the client

"So you’ve consulted lots of different experts in the past, you took their advice, how did that work for you? What makes you think it’ll be different this time when you ask me your health coach for expert advice?

By exploring and getting curious about these questions, we can help the client develop their own inner resources, identify their strengths and discover what has helped them achieve and overcome obstacles in the past. We're essentially helping them tap into their inner wisdom.

This approach is so much more effective than just giving them a quick fix or an easy answer that comes from an overly active ego that just wants you to feel smart.

I've found these tips to be very helpful in my own coaching practice and in fact helped a client recently explore her own past successes. I shared that story here.

What will you do next time a client asks you to tell them what to do?

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