Ep #192: Why and How to Let Your Clients Disagree With You

Disagreement and dissenting views can be a powerful part of the coaching process, and yet no one ever taught me how to really do that.

Or why it’s important. Or how it might hinder my results or my clients’ results.

So, this week, dive in with me on why we fear disagreement and shouldn’t.

How it makes your coaching so much better. And how I have learned how to do it, some by things I’ve always done, and some by things I have had to learn the long and hard way.

Because when your clients know they can disagree with you, you both walk away more empowered and confident.

The doors to Free to Paid Coach are officially open! If you’re ready to learn the foundational concepts of confidence that get you from being a free coach to a paid coach who makes six figures and beyond, join us right now!

What You’ll Learn:
  • How good coaching helps people find their own answers, not just take answers
  • To create a space of acceptance and understanding to allow for disagreement within the coaching process
  • How to use disagreement as a tool to build stronger relationships and empower clients to achieve goals
  • How disagreement can build more confident coaches by providing a safe space to challenge thoughts and emotions
Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

 You are listening to episode 192 of The Confident Coaches Podcast, the one where you want your clients to disagree with you. Let’s do this.

Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.

Hey coach, how are you? So, I actually love this episode today because it has implications way beyond just what happens inside your coaching communities. We’re talking about why you want disagreement and how to have disagreement with your clients. And I don’t know, this is the end of June, beginning of July 2023.

I don’t know if you’ve looked around at the world, but disagreement is like the name of the game and most of the people out there, including ourselves, including me, including you, we’re not good at disagreeing. We really aren’t. And the funny thing is as I put this episode together, I realize that I actually love disagreement when I’m thinking about it in the way that I’m going to lay it out for you here in this episode and how you can take this episode and you’re going to apply it to your coaching business and also potentially to your relationship with your coach.

But also, how you can apply this to disagreements with people you love, people you know casually about things that have nothing to do with life coaching.

So, I do get why a lot of life coaches don’t want disagreement in their communities, and that is because for the most part, we don’t know how to do it. Now, I am lucky that many of my higher-level high school and college classes placed a priority on critical thinking. You know how to think very critically about things, how to take what’s being said to you and to question it, and to ask why, and to ask for further explanation and to be invited to share your thoughts, even if those thoughts were different than the instructors.

Unfortunately, as a teenager, I just wasn’t that interested and a lot of that is because I was way more interested in making sure that people liked me. I didn’t know then that I had ADHD, even though I was already showing classic signs, such as people pleasing and agreeing with everyone and trying to make sure that no one was ever mad at me ever.

Because I already had a bunch of crap going on inside my own mind. Not to mention just, you know how people who are socialized as girls are generally socialized to agree to make sure everybody’s taken care of and not rock boats. But you know, my personal history aside how to disagree just isn’t something that’s actively taught from a young age.

In fact, we’re actually shut down from a pretty young age not to question. So, it’s really shocking that by the time kids get to high school, college, or wherever, we’re suddenly asking for their opinion. And so many of us can struggle with that when our entire younger years we’re like, at least for me, I’m 49 years old.

I would like to think these things are changing a little bit. We shut down a child’s ability to say, I don’t like what’s going on here. But particularly now in 2023, I looked this up, there are 5 billion people on the internet worldwide. Isn’t that wild to you? I think about like we’ve never been great at disagreement.

Disagreement has certainly been led. It’s the thing that starts so many wars, right? So it’s not that we, haven’t had disagreement on large scales before, but if there’s something about all of us being on the internet, 5 billion people being on the internet, that we’re not starting wars, though, yes, there are still wars in the world, but we are starting these little mini online wars all over the place, right?

There are more people, there’s more instigating, there’s more access to new information and the instigating that comes along with that. All you had to do is look at a Yahoo comment section or go to Reddit and like you’re just, people can’t agree on anything. Somebody expresses a disagreement and there’s always that person that’s like, why’d you buy the commenting?

Or like so many different things we can’t even agree on things we’ve already agreed on. Like, hi, the earth is round versus flat. So, fights start, people are asses to one another. I get why coaching leaders like just want to shut down disagreement from the beginning because like, who wants that? I think about my Free To Paid Coach group of like 150 people and like, I don’t want to manage all that.

And if that’s where your mind goes, when you think disagreement, you’re going to shut it down. That makes sense. There’s also something a little bit more nuanced to life coaching in general, and that is we as life coaches know that we’re going to bring certain tools to the table and that your client may not want to use those tools because it’s so unfamiliar and we’re trying to help them stretch outside their comfort zones.

We’re trying to show them how their mind is trying to keep them inside their comfort zone, and we can set the tone of the room as just do what we all agree here and there’s no disagreement. Just do what I say, follow my lead. Do what I say, I’m the expert here because this is how you’re much more likely to achieve those things faster.

And I have seen this play out over and over again. I just do what my coach tells me to do. I don’t disagree with them. I just do what they tell me to do, and it doesn’t not work, right? We’ve heard lots of those stories. I just do everything my coach tells me to do. Don’t argue. I just do it and it worked for me.

Do this, don’t do that. You’re going to get there faster, and that’s always better, right? That’s what clients pay us for and also, for all of the people that have worked for, how many people exist that hasn’t worked for. When people share their success story and their success is, I just did everything my coach said and it worked for me.

I think that’s great for them. I think it sucks ass for the people that did not work for, because what’s left is the graveyard of coaches that shit doesn’t work for, and they think they’re the ones that suck. They think they’re the ones with the problem. But what if disagreement is included in the coaching process?

Because we can’t possibly know exactly what every other person should or should not be doing. And I think sometimes we forget what coaching really can do. Good coaching helps people find their own answers, not just take our answers. That doesn’t mean we don’t have expertise. And yes, we’re going to have ideas that challenge your clients, and you want to introduce contradictory information to them to help them move past their mental blocks on taking action towards their goals,

And you do have knowledge and you do have expertise, and you do know some things that they don’t know, and you do know because you’ve already done a bunch of trial and error. You do know a whole host of things that’s like, if you go down this pathway, this is going to be the longer pathway.

We can know all of that. And also, it is not our job as coaches to force our clients to agree to any of those things. And here’s the kicker, and life coaches know this, right? They will say my job is to show you your thinking. I find this so fascinating, right? My job is to show you your thinking.

That’s what we’re doing here. And then those same coaches will turn around and say, but don’t do that. Do this instead. Like, what happened to finding my own answers? What happened to, we’re just like looking at my thinking. Or are we only looking at the thinking that’s going to lead me to do the thing that you really want me to do?

That’s not really finding why my own answers why, amongst all the answers that we found. The only one you want me to make is the one that’s acceptable in this room, right? So, how can we bring your expertise and still be an expert in your area and allow people to disagree with you and even encourage the disagreement when you see that it’s there.

So, what’s really interesting is I was never great at expressing my disagreements. By the way, I’ve already done one episode on ADHD. We could do so many more, and particularly around this one thing that I didn’t even know existed until like six weeks ago.

Rejection-sensitive dysphoria like that explains why expressing my disagreements was always awful to me. However, one mantra that I’ve always lived by, at least since college, I have no idea where this is, where I picked this up. I do remember in my young twenties though; I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh on purpose during the nineties.

Because he’s from Missouri, I don’t know when he went nationwide, but I’m pretty sure we got him. We had him in St. Louis long before he went nationwide because he is from Missouri. But I would listen to Rush on purpose because I learned somewhere I cannot fully understand my position until I understand my opposition, so I became stronger in my beliefs.

Usually, when I listen to and understand that someone who I don’t agree with is saying, in other words, like the more I listened to Rush Limbaugh, the more solitude, the more certainty that I had in why I believed what I believed. Now, sometimes my mind can be changed. I’m pretty sure Rush Limbaugh never did that.

Sometimes my mind might change, but more often than not, I can see where someone else is coming from and I can get where they’re coming from. And also, my beliefs, my understanding of myself deepens when I understand somebody who’s disagreeing with me. And you might really learn something as the coach.

Be aware of any thoughts that if your client knows something in your field that you don’t know, that doesn’t threaten your role as the expert in the room? Like, are you having thoughts around? My expertise might be in question if they disagree with me. Now, I can’t be sure that I ever saw any of my past mentors over the past 10 years, ever felt threatened by disagreement or other people having knowledge that maybe they didn’t.

And for me, I’ve always appreciated the additional information that I didn’t previously know, or most likely the nuance, this conflicting information brought to the table. Because I really just love discussing ideas. I love ideas. I love discussing ideas, so I have always welcomed opposing information to the table.

This has never been uncomfortable for me. No. I love learning and understanding things, so I don’t think I’ve ever felt threatened. I certainly can’t say that’s never happened in 10 years. I also think another reason that we might shut down disagreement is because like, that’s not what we’re doing here, period.

So, like maybe you’re a weight loss coach and you’re going to strictly teach intermittent fasting, and a new client is like, Nope, not doing it. And you don’t want to lose the client, and you believe so firmly that this is the best way. So, what are we supposed to do there? So, that might be another reason to shut down disagreement is because you just have this steadfast, this is what this room does, and we’re going to get there.

I’m going to follow up with what to do with that in the list that’s coming at the end. So, in a coaching space, most of us start with one-on-one work. We are going to talk a little bit about group settings in just a bit, because that is a little bit different of an animal. But for one-on-one coaching, if I don’t allow my client to disagree with me, then we’re just reinforcing the “I know better than you” energy.

And one of three things can happen. Like they’re either going to go in a defiant mode or we’re going to be talking about creating an unsafe space, or they become our own personal Yes Man. And that was me, right? That was me in almost all of the rooms I can think of that I’ve been in over the past 10 years.

You’re the expert, and I may not agree with this, but you have more success. You are the leader in the room. And also, it would literally feel like dying to me if you rejected me and I’d have to crawl in a hole for years before I could recover. So, I’m not going to disagree. Whatever you say, yes, sounds good.

Whatever you said. Yes. Now, sometimes I wasn’t even aware that I disagreed, but the gut feeling was there. But I couldn’t articulate it. But I’ve got ADHD, that rejection sensitivity dysphoria thing going on. Disagreeing is rejection, is death. But like, okay, whatever you say, that’s not empowering to me as a client.

It’s not empowering to your clients to think that they can’t disagree with you in the entire point of coaching. Not the entire point, but a ginormous point of coaching is to help them develop their empowerment and their discernment. And I did get there, but it did take me 10 years. And there is a whole lot of awfulness or feeling awful in there.

There’s a much, much easier way, and we are going to get there. Specifically, how do we help our clients develop their empowerment and their discernment through critical thinking and disagreement? How is disagreement part of the coaching process? But before we got there, there were the two others. So, there’s defiant, unsafe, lack of safety, and yes men.

So, the clients that get defiant, like they’re not capitulating for anyone. I can think of two clients like that in my earlier days, and it was so exhausting for me. It was exhausting for them. So much frustration in both cases. They asked to stop coaching and I agreed, yes, this isn’t working. You refuse to listen to anything I say, whereas, If I had actively created a space where disagreement was part of the coaching process, I thought these two things were in my way early, one-on-one days, like we might have been able to find common ground and still gotten so much out of the relationship.

So, not allowing disagreement, and you get these people who are defiant. That defiance might be part of who they are, and that’s not necessarily a part that we want to squash. And if I had known how to do a little bit of what the list that’s coming at the end here, we could have probably gotten so much more done.

And I do think about more recent clients who have been, and here’s the funny thing, I’ve never thought of them as defiant. And I think that’s because I now incorporate so much more allowance of disagreement in my rooms. I don’t even see them as defiant anymore. I just see them as just like they’re going to be the ones that raise their hand and they’re going to be the ones that, what about, they’re going to be the ones.

I don’t even see him as defiant anymore. But it is really funny because when I think about, boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a defiant client. Oh man, it’s just because I didn’t allow for any disagreement because I didn’t know how to, and I didn’t know it was super important yet.

So, then we also have the case of, not allowing disagreement creates a place where potentially they feel unsafe. Because they’re telling you that they disagree, and you are shutting them down. Or maybe they’re not even telling you that they’re disagreeing, but you’re shutting them down before they have a chance to, or definitely once they do and they don’t just feel unheard they’re literally being unheard.

You are not listening when that happens. Or maybe it’s less unheard and just kind of ignored, like we’re just kind of ignoring this elephant that’s so obviously in the room and it can show up in a variety of ways there. But at the end of the day, it’s them not feeling safe in the coaching relationship with you because you are exerting your ideas over theirs, whether it’s they’re telling you and you’re just like, no, which 100% I’ve been there.

This, the whole thing about like, food should just taste like sawdust in order to be like for us to lose weight. And I was like, that, I don’t agree with that. And it just completely shut down. Or you’re exerting your ideas over theirs because you’re just kind of ignoring what’s coming up. And you’re instead just like, that’s just your thinking and we can work on that.

And that is something that I have done. And I truly believe this is just a thought that they are having, and we can change thoughts. This discomfort is just coming from their thinking, and that’s what we do around here. I truly thought I was only helping, but now I know I was actually ignoring what they were telling me.

It wasn’t even that I was shutting it down. I was just flat out ignoring it because I was like, oh, this is a thinking problem. Because at the time, that’s the only modality that I was using. And now, so much more awareness that there’s so much more involved. And if somebody feels unheard, if they feel ignored, if they feel that lack of safety, how successful do you think that coaching is going to be?

Like maybe you get some short-term results, but this goes back to that ends not having to justify the means, right? Just because it works, does that mean that’s what we should be doing? Not if they feel shut down, not if they feel ignored. Not if they feel unheard. No, because that’s not empowering, and it’s also setting up their need to only work with you because they don’t feel like they can do it on their own at all.

Just because you can force your expertise on people and it garners results, doesn’t mean that you should. And I have experienced this in a variety of ways sometimes. I was very aware of it in the moment and I just kind of ignored it myself and closed off that part of me that was feeling that way.

And we’re life coaches teaching each other life coaching. That’s not like what? It’s literally the opposite of what we’re doing. But sometimes I also didn’t really get it until after I was out of it for two years. I thought all my struggles in a high earner’s room was a self-concept issue because that’s what was being coached over and over again.

Like I didn’t see it, like I felt it in my gut that there was something else at play, but that’s all the answer ever was. I had this gut feeling that there were other answers, but having not ever heard other answers, I didn’t know consciously what that could be. So, I was unheard. Without really seeing it until later, because it turns out I didn’t have a self-concept problem.

I had ADHD and I need to run my business very differently than my peers and my previous mentors, multiple mentors because that worked for me. So, it’ll work for you. Like that wasn’t going to work for me. It was never going to work for me. There was no self-concept issue I could possibly come up with.

I can’t self-concept my way out of how my mind functions. I can’t like, no, that’s like trying to say that somebody can self-concept their way out of depression or. Bad eyes. Eyes that don’t focus without glasses. Like that’s just not how it works. And maybe if I had coaches around me who understood the power of allowing dissenting opinion, disagreement, raising my hand and saying, this isn’t working for me, I would’ve felt empowered enough to say that.

And it wouldn’t have felt like a threat, right? Two years is a long time to not feel heard and not feel safe, even if it wasn’t on a conscious level. Also, over like it was actually a total of three years. I put on 40 pounds, massive rosacea outbreaks that miraculously cleared up at the end of this past year.

So even though I wasn’t conscious of it, I was physically reacting to it. So all of this is understanding that disagreement can be healthy, allowing your clients to see what they can’t, allowing you to see what you can’t, and 100% it’s going to enrich both of you and help everyone feel more empowered and more confident in what you do, not less.

And since we’re kind of talking about groups a little bit, because that was my last experiment, disagreements in groups. How can we possibly assume everyone will or should all agree, right? We are all so different. So, it’s like one thing in a one-on-one situation, but when you’re in a group situation, it’s like literally a room full of people who all have different life experiences.

And as a white woman, I can’t speak to how difficult a lack of disagreement affects anyone who isn’t white Christian and any other designation that our society deems as other. There are entire perspectives that are shut down given that the majority of life coaches are white men or white women. Who has a whole heck of a lot of advantages before they even show up, right?

So, shutting down critical thinking, shutting down disagreement, literally ignores entire populations of perspective that could benefit everyone, like the least of which the coach who claims to be the expert in this area, right? The more people can disagree in my rooms, and particularly with other people in those rooms, in a group setting.

I’m going to become the better coach. Like it’s so obvious, right? So, not only am I going to become the better coach, and I’m now going to be able to coach on a larger variety of things, because I allowed somebody to show me how their thinking is different than me. It elevates the whole room, right? And not allowing disagreement.

You run the risk of group think it’s like the opposite. It’s basically everyone just agreeing with everyone all of the time, and the kicker part of group think. No one really has to take any responsibility for anything that they do because they have the group behind them. It’s the group’s fault.

That’s just what I don’t know. That’s just what we do guys. 100%. This has shown up for me, like I did this,

I remember when a client reached out to me and was very concerned. I can’t remember exactly. I don’t think she said unprofessional, but I don’t remember exactly how she said it, but she wasn’t okay with screenshots, with names blacked out, shared outside of the group. We see that in a lot of marketing, right?

We see that a lot of stories, Instagram posts or whatever were like screenshots taken from private messages or inside private Facebook groups and like, we’re just blacking out the name or whatever. And she was like no, don’t like that, that’s not okay. She didn’t like when I would just use first names, I was literally doing exactly what everyone else around me was doing.

So, while I was hearing her, like I was picking up what she was saying, I didn’t ignore her, but I justified my actions with group think. Like it can’t be bad if we’re all doing it. It can’t be bad if the leader is doing it. Like I literally that when this person messaged me, I had no less than like three emails in my inbox from other coaches either directly in my circle or near my circle with the very thing she was talking about.

So, guess what? I didn’t have to take any responsibility for the client in front of me telling me this. Because I was just doing what the group was doing. I understand what you’re saying. And also, I don’t know, like the real-life implication of group think playing out like clockwork right there and it’s so interesting.

If I’d been in a room or dissent and other opinions and disagreement was actively encouraged, then I might have been more open to what she was saying to me. I definitely would have felt more empowered to take ownership of my actions because this is how I know it was a group think thing. I didn’t have a logical argument.

The only argument I had was, well, everyone else is doing it, so it must be okay. And like, that’s just your opinion man. I had no argument, the only argument I had group think so if disagreement is allowed, Then we potentially have the ability to, like, we actually become more empowered and can take ownership and take more responsibility for how we show up in the rooms that we show up in and the rooms that we are in, and the rooms that we are leading.

I didn’t put a lot of emphasis on this point when I sketched out this episode, but now that it’s coming out of my mouth, that ripe there. That’s huge. Like put an asterisk by that one disagreement. Critical thinking breaks down group think. It demands individual responsibility. It’s empowering, it helps people understand more about where they stand so that if somebody does challenge them, we can’t just be like, I don’t know.

So, and that’s huge to take responsibility for the actions that we have, and we’ll actually feel more empowered to do that if we understand why we are and aren’t doing what we’re doing. Okay, so how do we do it? Let’s get to, how do you actually incorporate disagreement into the coaching process? I actually want to start, like, I’m going to segue into this by really acknowledging how much I have, how much I’ve loved that I’ve learned from every single one of my past mentors.

I truly am better off today than without everything about my business went away tomorrow and I was just, Amy, not a life coach, Amy, lady about town, lady who lunches, whatever. Amy working behind the counter at Starbucks, whatever it may be. I am happier. I am more understanding. I am less overwhelmed. I’m a better mother.

I’m a better wife. I’m everything. Because of so much of what I’ve learned from my past mentors, I did learn discernment. I did learn to challenge my own thoughts and not just believe them because they are there. I’ve learned how to feel in my body, which is how. My path to discernment. I know when I’ve landed on what works for me, because of how I feel in my body, I’ve learned how to feel the full range of emotions.

I’ve learned how to handle whatever comes my way, which y’all know that’s the very definition of confidence in my book. It’s not that I have to know how everything’s going to work out. I know I can handle, however, anyway. It’s not that I know how everything’s going to work out. It’s that I know I can handle it no matter how it works out.

This was not me 10 years ago. Ironically, the very rooms that I have walked away from, I learned how to confidently do that in those rooms because of the rooms, which is good. You want your clients to not need you. Your measure as a coach, your worth as a person is not tied to how many clients renew with you.

Renewing isn’t a bad thing. Some clients are going to work with you for extended seasons, and that’s amazing, and we love those clients. But if you’re truly empowering your clients, they will outgrow us. And if we’re comfortable in our own skin, to not have to be everything to all people, they should outgrow us.

And that leaving us isn’t bad because we can’t handle the disagreement. I just don’t agree with her anymore. No. We used our coaching skills to show them how to think for themselves powerfully and not need us. This is our goal. This is our goal. This is what we should all be striving for. I also want to point out that I keep saying that dissenting opinions and critical thinking and disagreement are part of the coaching process.

Like this is an arguing for argument’s sake if we do this right. It’s actually part of the coaching itself, helping our clients to become super powerful thinkers. Who really have a deeper understanding of why they think the way that they do, who feel powerful to speak up when faced with opposition.

That’s what allowing disagreement and critical thinking can really do for them. It’s part of the process of the coaching. It’s not just like people going, I disagree. I don’t like what you’re saying. It’s like ironic that some coaching spaces coach people to speak up when faced with opposition, but they limit the coaching process by not allowing opposition.

What? But I digress. Here’s how we invite disagreement into the coaching process. So first, we have to create safety for your clients to disagree with you. They got to know it’s safe to do. I think a lot of people don’t feel that way. I think they assume that they’re the expert. I am not.

And when I hear something that I don’t agree with, do they feel safe? You can set that tone so you can set that tone by saying it flat out, like you can just flat out like a disclaimer when they’re signing up in your first session. Disagreement and critical thinking are allowed here, so if you don’t like what I’m saying or if what I’m saying is imbibing with you, let’s dive in and discuss.

It can also just be something that comes through your actions on your part as you coach, as you fine tune your kind of non-hearing skills, non-listening skills, I’m sure there’s a better word for that, but you’re picking up on their vibes. We can usually tell when someone’s not picking up what we’re throwing down.

There’s a shift in energy. There’s a look on their face, there’s silence over the line, and you can ask them. Is there something about that that doesn’t feel right? It’s okay if you aren’t agreeing. Let’s take a look at it. So, you can either set that tone right out of the gate or each individual time that it feels like there might be something there.

They might say, I don’t know, I’m just thinking about it. But you’ve let them know it’s okay if you aren’t agreeing, you are safe disagreeing with me. And it might even show up if you notice that your client always agrees with you. I notice you always agree with what I say. That’s not a requirement here.

So, do you mind if we just kind of do a check-in here? Do you have any other thoughts or ideas about this that we’ve talked about, like we’re not shaming them for agreeing, right? It’s an invite to check in. It’s just a pulse check where we talk about how we’re talking about what’s being talked about.

It’s a little meta, right? When I’ve coached people who I know have very different backgrounds than me, so like culturally religious or different races. Sometimes it’s come out as like, so this is what I’m seeing, and I just invite you to share. Like, is there anything that I’m not seeing here? Because I have not experienced that myself.

Like I think about me having ADHD and how I work. It just never came up in literally years of coaching how powerful it would’ve been if someone would’ve said, okay. This doesn’t seem to be working for you. No, I might not be on the right track here. Let’s dive in. Like what if this isn’t a self-concept issue.

This is we keep circling back here, but this doesn’t seem to be working for you. What do we think would work here? What do you think? Let’s have this conversation in a group setting. It might look like. Does anyone else have any other thoughts? What do you all see here that maybe me or Jane don’t see. Now I’ve seen that idea kind of rejected.

Like I’ve seen that shut down in some spaces and I’ve only seen that conversation build rapport and trust among people. Also, in a group setting, I will tell people as I’m coaching someone, okay, I’m going to coach her this way because I know this and this about her, but for you, it might be something different.

And this is something that I’ve kind of always done because it just always felt right and I saw it just this past week in Free To Paid Coach where one client had like a much better wording or understanding on something than I did, and it helped the client I was coaching to allow her to share. And it helped me because now I have a better way of coaching that.

And it empowered the person with the idea, like it’s literally a win. Or sometimes it’s been someone offering something and me saying, okay, I’m not big on that idea, here’s why. Tell me more about what you mean and let’s get into your why too, and let’s just kind of have this conversation here because I’m not I’m not feeling this, but I can tell that this is important.

Does anyone else have the same opinion or does anyone else have a different take on this? This is productive disagreement, right? It enriches the coaching, not hinders it. It helps people see what thoughts that they have that they might be hiding because the thoughts are disagreement, thoughts, the whole point of coaching to show them their thinking.

Why would we want to shut any part of that down? Because some of that thinking is going to mean they’re going to disagree with us. So, this is what I mean by it is part of the coaching process. It becomes a conversation. And I think I’ve just given a couple of different ways that you might introduce it. But notice that in all of the ways that we’re incorporating disagreement, it’s just very conversational.

You are a human talking to another human. This is it. And maybe we’re using analogies, maybe we’re using literary examples or other examples so that people can see that not only is disagreement allowed in here, but it’s literally been like how all great ideas have come about. And if we’re just two people having a conversation or a small group of people having a conversation and we’re letting people know, what’s your take on this?

These are some key phrases, right? What’s your take on this? Are you seeing anything that I’m not seeing? Is there anything you can share here? Because this isn’t something I’ve experienced before. This doesn’t seem to be working for you and I’m not quite sure why. Let’s dive in. What’s coming up for you here?

What don’t I see? I don’t really agree with that, but let’s dive in. Let’s figure out why. So those are just some phrases right there that let people know that dissenting opinions are welcome and it’s safe here. Now, I know because some people’s minds are probably going to be like, okay, what if the disagreement is giving them an out?

It’s really clear. This disagreement is like it’s an excuse. It’s a reason not to do what we all know that they can do. Like this is not a philosophical or an ideological disagreement. This is just like digging in of heels. Like you have a choice coach. It might depend on what you coach and how you coach.

So as for instance, I know I’ve given this example before, I think in this episode and last week’s episode. If you’re a weight loss coach and you only coach intermittent fasting, and that’s a requirement that your people do and they disagree, you get to decide. Is that non-negotiable or not? If you don’t want to do that’s okay, but it’s a requirement in this coaching that you do intermittent fasting and then you give them the out.

It might mean losing the client, it might mean getting past their block. We’re not really sure, but you get to decide what your non-negotiables are. In advance is great. Like some people are going to know in advance what their non-negotiables are. Sometimes a client brings a disagreement that you never considered, and in that instance, you can even say, you know what?

I’m not considered this before. I’m not exactly sure where to go at this moment. And if you don’t mind, let’s come back to this in the next session. And again, you get to decide if that thing outside of the coaching situation is non-negotiable, right? Sometimes clients might bring things to you that you really, it’s a disagreement and you’re not sure what to do with.

Remember human having a conversation with another human? Let me think on this and we’ll circle back to this. If it’s not a non-negotiable, but you do see it as a hindrance, I’ve had a lot of this, like the client just really wants to launch a podcast when they’ve only had one or two clients or something along those lines.

Now I can lay out all the reasons why the podcast is not a great idea right now. Here are the things that might happen. Here’s why I don’t recommend this at this time. It could lead to a delay in what you told me you want to achieve. But if this is super important to you, I will go down this road with you and let’s figure out how to make this the best way.

And then they still get to decide with the caveats that you’ve given them, and then you coach the hell out of them along the way to help make that the best decision. And there’s no, I told you so if they end up seeing what you saw and. Be willing to be proven wrong. Right? Nine times out of 10. Those clients who started those podcasts were, in fact, they were like, yeah, that was too early.

You were right. But thank you for letting me explore that. It’s not our job to know what other people should or should not be experiencing. This is much easier to do when you aren’t dependent on all your clients getting the exact results as humanly, as fast as humanly as possible to justify your existence as a coach.

It’s much easier if you celebrate all of the wins and let your clients decide what success is and that you aren’t marketing very binary results, right? If what you do doesn’t have such a tiny window of what success can mean, I’ve seen this play out with a client who just really only wanted actions to result.

She didn’t really want the mindset and the feelings part. I kept offering her thinking and feeling when it felt appropriate. Sometimes we accidentally got there. She just wanted actions or results. I’m pretty sure we could have gone farther in our coaching and also, I honored her decision. I could have decided not to do that.

Lastly, just like, what if they’re an asshole? Like what if the disagreement. Is just them disagreeing to disagree. There’s no open conversation. They’re just being rude. This is just where we set a boundary, right? It’s okay to disagree, but it’s not okay for this and this. If this happens again, we’re going to have to end this conversation.

We’re going to have to end this coaching. And notice in all of these, we aren’t necessarily making anyone right or wrong except for maybe the asshole. Even if somebody goes with a decision that we wouldn’t, we’ve got those coaching skills to deliver them along the way, and we’ve given them the space to make a new decision.

If what you predicted would happen happens, they weren’t wrong, and it’s not our job to take that experience away for them if that’s what they need to experience. Okay. One last note, I promise, and then we’re done. Disagreement isn’t required. Okay. This conversation has been about how there’s room for disagreement, not you better like incorporate disagreement right now.

You better make sure your clients are disagreeing with you. Some clients are going to be more used to disagreeing with others. Some won’t be super great at it. You don’t have to change your coaching too. How to disagree with me to get what you want. It’s just that you can incorporate more allowing for disagreement, allowing for dissenting.

Opinions with just some simple questions and some simple conversations, simple ways of letting your people know that it’s welcome here. You’re going to become a better coach when you’re willing to have more nuanced conversations. This is also part of those two things. Can be true at the same time, right? You can have dissenting opinions and also still believe that you guys are going to get to the same place on things.

You are empowering them. You are building their confidence when you have these more nuanced conversations and you are also empowering yourself, and you are learning more, and you are building confidence in yourself as a coach when you allow for nuanced conversations where your clients are free to disagree with you.

And nothing has gone wrong. And you are not wrong. And they are not wrong, and everybody truly can be and will be better off for it when it’s allowed. Okay. All right, my friends, I hope you found that helpful. I’m not forcing you to disagree, but I can’t wait to see how you incorporate that into your coaching. I’m so excited to see what you create in the world. And I’ll talk to you next week.

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Thanks so much for listening to the Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at www.amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.

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