All good things must come to an end, and that includes your relationship with your coach AND this series about coaching from the client’s perspective. Click to read the earlier posts about how to find a coach and what to expect from coaching.
How do I know when it’s time to break up with my coach?
One way is that you have achieved your goal. Even though it might not be the original goal, you’ve come to a place of completion where you both can say, “we’ve got this!”
Through coaching, you’ve developed tools to use on your own. It’s not that the coaching is no longer helpful, but you’ve got it from here. It’s like when you learn to ride a bike with training wheels on, but eventually, you don’t need them anymore.
The goal is not for the coaching to continue endlessly, it is to develop and empower the client. Breaking up is an important part of that development and a sign that it is working.
Is this really the end?
While someone you break up within your personal life you may never see again, with your coach you might start up again later. Or you may decide to continue meeting but less frequently, like once per quarter. Or you may find another coach, either right away or after some time has passed.
Some clients who have broken up with me say that even years later, they have a little voice in their head, “Val’s voice,” speaking to them. They have the confidence to work through things on their own, and they’re committed to their own ongoing growth.
So far we’ve covered positive reasons for breaking up with your coach, but what are some of the negative possibilities?
- A breach of confidentiality or ethics
- Your coach is no longer in coach mode but has shifted into telling mode or some other mode than for what you hired them
- Even after doing all the right things to find a coach, you realize this just isn’t a good fit, and even after a few meetings, you’re not getting into a good flow or groove where you’re working well together.
What does it mean if my coach suggests we stop working together?
As coaches, we want to make it easy for clients to end their work with us. We typically open that conversation by suggesting a check-in where we evaluate our further work together. Part of the ethical responsibility of a coach is to recognize when the coaching relationship should end.
It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, that you’ve done anything wrong, or that you’re hopeless or you can’t change.
Sometimes it’s because we’ve become too familiar or your coach has become more like a ‘professional friend.’ Every coach has their own things that they listen for, and a fresh set of ears can be really helpful.
What happens when coaching comes to an end?
Your coach will want to devote either part of a session or an entire session to wrap things up and talk through your next steps once the coaching ends. Your coach may ask for a testimonial and would certainly appreciate one if you offered (but you shouldn’t feel pressured).
If your coach had you fill out a self-assessment at the beginning of the coaching process, they may ask you to repeat that to get a sense of what’s changed for you as a result of the coaching.
Lastly, you and your coach will set the parameters for keeping in touch. I’ll usually say don’t hesitate to call or don’t be a stranger. I offer the option of booking a single one-off session if my client needs to talk.
There’s no obligation to keep in touch with your coach, and every relationship is unique, along with the reasons it is ending. What’s most important is to do what’s right for you. As coaches that is what we want for all our clients.