How can I help a client who won’t help herself?

Hi Brooke!

I’m doing an 8 week fitness, exercise and nutrition program at the gym I go to and I have 1 client that I’m very frustrated by.

She told me she wanted to join the challenge so badly and lose weight but had all these excuses:
– I can’t afford the $297 cost
– I’m menopausal, it probably won’t work for me
– I want to lose 40lbs, what if you can’t guarantee that for me in 8 weeks?

I told her that the program is here to support her in developing healthier habits, helping her change her mind and giving her the group support to stay accountable and being in a community of people going through the experience with her. I told her that I can’t guarantee any kind of results because it depends on her and that she is willing to show up and do the work. She told me she would do the work she just needed guidance on what to eat.

I said okay, and I offered a 1-day flash sale on the program in order to give her a discounted price. She bought it and was very happy.

Last week, I asked all the participants to send me 3 things: 1) a 4 day food journals 2) a questionnaire on lifestyle and stress 3) a questionnaire asking about what their goals + what their commitment is in the face of struggle, setback and self-doubt.

She hasn’t sent me anything yet. It was due 3 days ago because I wanted time to look at them all before I meet them tomorrow and have 1 on 1 sessions to discuss their protocol and plan of action. And when I ask her for it and explain why I need it (so that I can get a better understanding of what you are doing so that I can be more helpful), she says “I’ll find it and send it later, I just want to lose weight”. And then I get a text message with a photo of her in a bikini and a note that says “I just want to look like this once the program is done”.

I admit that it makes me want to scream! How can I help her if she won’t help herself? What do you do as a coach when you know the person is choosing to get in the way of their goal and yet still expects you to help you get the goal? I’m frustrated because I feel like I should be doing MORE to get her to do the work but also resentful because I’m here, offering my support and she isn’t even taking it and all I’ve asked her to do is observe her current behaviour and tell me more specifically what she wants and what she thinks will get in her way.

Here are my models (in order of most charged for me)…

C: Client
T: I hate working with clients who won’t do the work
F: Frustrated, angry, annoyed, defeated
A: Withdraw, don’t put myself out there, believe that no one who actually wants to do the work will ever be interested in hiring me
R: No clients?

(This thought is a big one for me and a huge reason why I am so resistant to really putting my coaching work out there. Every time someone wants to coach with me, they want a quick fix and yet that is the exact client I want to avoid! I want to work with the ones who need help, are ready for help, are scared of the discomfort but are willing to do the work because what getting what they want is more important than what they currently have). Why can’t I find this person???

C: Client
T: I can’t help her if she doesn’t help herself
F: Frustrated, annoyed
A: Step back, give her the resources everyone else gets but don’t chase her/hand hold
R: Nothing changes for her (maybe, who knows we are only 1 week in)

C: Client
T: She’s not going to get results and it will be a reflection on me
F: Resentful
A: Act short with her, give her more 1 on 1 support and resent it, not show up as the best version of me in our coaching relationship and feel like I’m not cut out to be a coach
R: She doesn’t get the results she wants and after all the additional support I gave her I’ll feel like it was my fault because all that help I provided should have given her the results she needs

I tried doing some intentional models but the cursor was just blinking back at me. I know this is where my work starts. Can you please help me break through this cycle? These thought patterns gave me a HUGE “aha” moment!