The Coach’s Dilemma: Thriving When Your Client Outshines You

body confidence for leaders body image podcast simple tools Jun 13, 2023

As a body confidence coach, I know firsthand how challenging it can be when our clients seem to be making more progress than we are. It's not uncommon to feel overshadowed by their success and question our own abilities. But fear not, because I've created a special episode of the SELF Guided podcast to help you navigate these challenges and emerge stronger than ever.


In "The Coach's Dilemma: Thriving When Your Client Outshines You," I discuss the heart of this issue and offer practical solutions to help you regain your confidence, focus, and success as a coach who is body confident. Through valuable insights on mindset coaching, somatic practices, and nervous system regulation, I provide a roadmap for coaches to embrace their unique journey and create a lasting impact on their clients.


Get ready to transform your coaching experience and discover the keys to thriving in the face of adversity.


Key Points:

  •  The real reason you feel weird when your client is successful when you’re in a rut
  •  Your roadmap to stay the course when your client outshines you
  •  How to support yourself so you can coach, coach, coach!


Listen to the full episode HERE






Welcome to SELF-Guided season two, episode 9 “The Coach’s Dilemma: Thriving When Your Client Outshines You”. If you’re a coach, this is going to be an episode to save and come back to again and again because I’m addressing how you can stay the course yourself when your client is getting results and you’re not - maybe you’re a little stuck, maybe you’re in a rest phase, maybe your focus has shifted, either way, it happens and it happens a lot. There’s a real reason why it can feel uncomfortable and like you’re basically an imposter when that happens and that’s what I’m covering today. 


Now if you’re not a coach, I invite you to stay and have a listen as well because you are likely to have at least one role in your life where you mentor someone or help someone and then they have even better outcomes than you and if you’ve ever felt a little jealous, a little weird about it then this is also for you!


Alright coach, I’m going to ask you to follow me here and pretend you’re a weight loss coach who has been using a specific method - think protocol for your food, exercise plan, mindset tools - and you are using them within your coaching program and your client reaches their goal. You celebrate with them, you make sure they see how they are responsible for their wins and shifts. Now that same client continues to experience even more success, they are shedding the pounds and feeling more and more confident. Everything we want for our clients.


However, as their coach you are in a phase of your life where you’re not quite reaching your goals, you’re still using the same tools - and they work - but you’re in a s bit of a rut. Your weight isn’t moving anymore, you’ve sort of plateaued , despite continuing with the same plan, your progress has come to a halt, and you now find yourself feeling frustrated with a sprinkle of self-doubt, maybe a little envy too. If you don’t catch this while it’s happening and deal with it head on, it can lead to you not being the coach you expect from yourself and that your clients have come to expect as well. 


The Real Reason You Feel Off 


That’s because you may feel like you should be a shining example of the success your program can bring at ALL times; no rest for this coach. That’s the core of the issue right there, it’s not that your client has “surpassed” you or is “outshining” you, it’s that you think your body should be different than it is in that very moment or even phase of your life. It’s not a representation of the effectiveness of your coaching or your program but there’s a tendency to put the two together. 


So we think we should be different than we are. Different for what? Would being different than what you are right not prove your abilities as a coach? Would it show your certainty in your program? Would it help in defining who you are, put a stamp of approval of sorts. It’s important to take a moment here to tap into why do you think you should be different right this moment so that you don’t let it get in the way of being the excellent coach you are. 




So, how can we address this issue with zero shame so that we can continue to provide exceptional support to our clients WHILE focusing on giving ourselves the support we need?


My approach here is to look at when do you need the support and what support is required. And since we’re talking about coaching clients, let’s use the example of being on a coaching call. You are so welcome to consider when it is you would need the support and go through the example and solutions I’ll provide but with your own scenario in mind.


Before the Call with the Client


Let’s start with what you can do before the call with your client. This is of course assuming you’ve picked up on this uncomfortable feeling you have because as a weight loss coach, you don’t think your body should look as it does right now and you’ve noticed that you make it mean something about yourself, and your coaching, especially when one of your clients is having “better” results than you are.


First, I get everything out of my mind and onto paper, that’s the part where I get to see what I’m actually making it mean. You might find that you’re believing “I can’t be a successful weight loss coach if I’m not losing weight as fast as my client.” Then you can use your amazing coaching skills on yourself by getting curious about the belief. Do the two have to go together? What else could be possible here? Where’s the wiggle room in this sentence? 


This mindset piece, can offer a lot of insight and relief on its own but I want to offer a few more steps because my best guess is that there’s still some energy lingering around in you from the original belief even if you’ve intellectually worked through it. That’s when the somatic practices can support you even more. Did you know that you can shake off some of the residual energy? What I mean is do the mindset piece AND then check in with your body so that you can really truly and honestly go through the experience fully and then reset for the change you’d like to see.


Now right when you’re about to get on that call, you may want to consider some grounding exercises or other ways to help your nervous system to be ready for the call. Your mind is likely to still offer you that belief “I can’t be a successful weight loss coach if I’m not losing weight as fast as my client” as a reflex. Here you can use breath, movement or sound to bring your entire body back to calm. 


During the Call with the Client


What happens when you’re on the call with the client and you keep thinking they’re doing better than I am, my body isn’t nearly as stunning as theirs? I’m glad you asked.


This is when you want to bring your focus back to the client. Whenever your brain offers you any thought that’s not client related, bring it back to the client. One of my first teachers told us we could imagine there was a garbage bin near us and whenever a thought came in, we could picture ourselves putting the thought in the bin. The key is to not get mad at yourself when it happens, if it happens, it happens, we make it worse when we think it shouldn’t happen.


There are a few somatic hints that you can give to your body to help it pay attention to your client during the call. Notice for yourself what posture you normally take when you’re on a call and NOT having these types of thoughts. Picture your favorite coaching sessions, how was your back? How was your overall posture? Were you seated way back in your chair, were you leaning forward? You can bring your body to that posture and the muscle and experience memory will support you in coming back to your client.


After the Call with the Client


So now that you’re done with the call, you can continue to support yourself. If you noticed that after using the before and during the call solutions, you desire more support then please take a moment to answer the main question I offered earlier: Why do I think my body should be different than it is right now?


When you have some answers, coach yourself on it (or bring it to a coaching session) because as you know, having the answer of why you’re doing something is only one stage of awareness. Actually, I’d like to offer a trick I used to give the coaches I’d mentor: pretend the answers you see on paper are not yours, what would you ask your client? This works because you have so much curiosity and non-judgement for your client when you’re coaching them, that’s what you want to tap into when you coach yourself as well.


You can take this a step further by doing physical activity and movements to release any tension from the call (or even from what you’ve just discovered if it created more tension). I know that happens to me, I’ll put things to paper and the first reaction is often judgement and so I use different ways of re-centering, releasing tension to continue my own coaching or to let it go.


Now it’s time to get real with yourself. What do you want to experience, feel and think when you see clients that are having the success you wish you were having? Is there room to see what having that desire shows you? I imagine that if you’re doing this work, it’s because you care deeply about others having a similar transformation as the one you had if that’s what they deeply desire. It’s a question of getting back to that, and seeing your own beauty again, your own success.


Final Words


And coach, if you’re wanting more support and guidance to overcome your own body image struggles so you can get back to the coaching, I’m here to help you. Visit my website and check out my private coaching offering: Body Confidence for Life Coaches Ready to Soar. If this is you, don’t wait, take the first step towards a more body confident and successful you today!


Thank you so much for spending your time with me today. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review, and share with your friends. And I’d love to hear from you so wether you have a question or some feedback, reach out to me on instagram and let’s connect! Until next time!

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