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Coaching Challenge: the Resistant Client

A coach was hired by a company to work with one of their employees because their performance was no longer meeting expectations.  The company hired the coach because they wanted to keep the employee.  The employee thought the coach was there to facilitate their leaving.

Previously a solid performer, the employee had been placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, PIP, because of a poor attitude and insubordination.  The coach was provided with a copy of the employee’s PIP.  The employee was told when and where to meet with the coach.

In the first coaching session, the employee was angry and resentful.  They expressed frustration with their job and the people there.  The coach gave the employee space to vent and then asked what they wanted happening.  The response from the employee was angry; they said that what they wanted did not matter as they were going to lose their job anyway.  The employee talked about how the boss was out to get them and their co-workers were rude.

What would you do?  Sometimes coaches hesitate to take on a client in these circumstances because of the barriers to establishing trust and actually working on meaningful goals.

If a client is resistant, what are the possibilities?  In the next blog post the approach for this coaching engagement is revealed.

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