Business Coaching

Clients Are Free to Ignore Your Advice But They Own the Consequences

Clients Are Free to Ignore Your Advice But They Own the Consequences
Image credit: Bradjward | Flickr
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I have written about a lot in the last year that I’ve been writing for Entrepreneur. Most of what I write is about what and who to watch out for. After spending thousands of dollars on bad coaches and hype-filled courses, I want to warn and help other entrepreneurs save a little money and heartache.

There are, however, very credible courses, coaches, conferences and resources that will accelerate the growth of your business. We live in this amazing Information Age wth unprecedented access to knowledge and people. There is an almost limitless opportunity to find the help you need, and the customers you seek, through the Internet and social media. 

As entrepreneurs, our goal is to create freedom in our lives and serve an audience through what we create. Despite our efforts to help, there will be those who spend money with us but will go on to ignore some or all of our advice.

They hire us because they realize we know a little bit about what they’re trying to do, but human beings have free will. They can choose to follow what we say or do something different they think is right. We have to respect their choice. Our job, as entrepreneurs/coaches, is to guide them, not to enforce what we believe they should do.

We can see what they might not be able to see, and we can express that during the time we work with them. If they choose to ignore our advice, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will fail. We’re not perfect and could be wrong. But, if they do ignore us and it leads failure, realize it’s not our fault.

Related: Coaching Makes All the Difference

You Care, and that’s good.

We pour our heart and everything inside us into our businesses and customers. We wake up each day determined to make an impact through what we do. We take the responsibility of giving advice seriously because we realize our responsibility for helping others.

You care. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing that only care about the money. But, since you’re reading this, I’m guessing that’s not you. I’m assuming that since you’re a fine Entrepreneur reader that you give advice that’s designed to help your customer reach their goal.

When you care that much, it hurts when you see a client stumble or fail when they didn’t take your advice. That hurt is dangerous because it can cause you to lose confidence or worse, it allows self-limiting beliefs to creep in.

Related: Some People Have a Therapist. I Have a Business Coach.

Their failure isn’t your failure.

I’ve had the privilege of coaching more than 200 amazing dreamers. Some of them have gone on to be wildly successful. I have clients who have been featured in the largest publications and TV shows in the world and make hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve also had clients still miserable and stuck living a life they hate.

There were some who took my advice, but difficult life circumstances kept them from accomplishing success. There were, of course, the ones who didn’t take the advice I gave them. Some were fine and some experienced failure. In every scenario, it's affected me deeply.

I was a bread delivery guy from Wisconsin who self-published two books that went on to sell over 100,000 copies. I built this business/dream while living paycheck-to-paycheck. I take what I do seriously, so it hurts to see clients fail. More times than I can count, I’ve taken their failure to heart, and it’s taken some time to recover. 

Self-limiting beliefs are always lurking in the background threatening to derail our growth. When a client fails, those beliefs become a voice telling you it’s because you don’t know what you’re doing, that you’re not good at what you do. Don’t listen.

If a client fails because they didn’t follow your advice, realize it’s a choice that they made. It’s not a reflection of your business or abilities if you did what you can to help them. Failure is a part of life and sometimes life’s best teacher. Maybe it’s a life lesson they need to learn so that they can see the value in what you do.

Continue to deliver value. Continue to make an impact on your audience and customer’s lives. Continue to focus on learning and becoming better at what you do so you can help more people. Don’t let anyone else’s choice affect who you are and what you do.

Related: 4 Crucial Qualities of Phenomenal Coaches