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The Reluctant Client: Risking Great Success

By January 17, 2018April 2nd, 2018Articles

Years ago, the “Old Boys Club” consisted primarily of men who came from similar backgrounds and who frequently ended up in the same professions. It provided a much-needed mentor, a seasoned, pragmatic leader who would support new folks in the business. For those already successful, it provided support or guidance in the midst of a radical move up the ladder.

Having a trusted colleague who could and would share years of acquired wisdom, an objective perspective, and pragmatic advice easily saved years of mistakes and expense, shortened the learning-curve considerably, and allowed a newer or junior member to know someone had their back.

In today’s world where moving across the country, or the world, for work is not at all uncommon and with as many women as men entering various fields, so much of that “old boys club” can no longer be relied upon. To fill that void, the development of strategic partners/coaches has evolved. It is still, however, in the process of being universally accepted or valued. In contrast to the client who hires a strategic partner/coach because he or she sees the immense, if not transformative, benefits is the reluctant client.

For those reluctant clients who do not yet recognize the value of having an outside observer, a strategic partner, who has no personal agenda and who can provide confidential support in particular situations there is a significant loss. A large part of that loss is that a very personal relationship could be developed in which the strategic partner can see the needed big picture as well as the patterns of behavior that exist, some of which support success as well as those self-sabotaging or self-betraying patterns that hinder success.

A professional coach is there to help their client, without judgment, achieve their goals with their eyes wide open in full awareness of the cost on all levels as well as the long and short term implications of their moves. They offer support while holding their client accountable. One client said of me,  “You hold my heart while kicking me in the ass. I love it.”

As a leadership coach, I am fully aware that when I work with a client to achieve whatever business goals they present to me as our focus for the year, along the way things change. New goals develop. As the decisions that are being made calling this person to shift how they think, how they look at life, and how they approach their work, so many other issues can come to the surface. It is perfectly natural since that initial growth is going to have implications throughout their life.

Personal relationships will change and grow, their sense of freedom will grow, the feeling of burden will be lightened, and their joy for life will increase. Whether they sustain that or not is up to them but in our time working together many personal issues will arise as they shift their wants and expectations. We work through all that together since all of who they are is so interconnected.

Work life impacts their personal life;  and their personal life impacts their work life. That awareness may be why the reluctant client initially resists hiring a strategic partner/coach. They may not know if they really want that level of growth and success regardless of the ease it brings since the cost may feel too high.

The opposite, however, is that the price of NOT having a strategic partner/coach can be too high. Why make success or life more difficult than it needs to be? Why keep the “old normal” when it creates so much stress, difficulty, and possibly confusion? What if the “new normal” was peaceful, joyful, and light?

The reluctant client who is too frightened to start, or too frightened to continue when he or she begins to see great gains and then, in fear, decides they need to do the rest alone pays far too high a price as does their company.

Questions I ask any who call and then hesitate is “What is the cost of not working together? What is the cost of not having that outsider who can absolutely support you in being the best you in your situation, in your company? Can your company, or your political career, afford “fine” when it could have great? Do you want it to?”

I’d love to hear what you think and support you in your success.

Contact me at Dorothy (at) or call (860) 543-5629.

To Your Success,


Dr. Dorothy’s life story of coming from an orphanage, being raised in the housing projects of South Boston, becoming a Catholic nun, an international airline stewardess, a wife, mother, graduate faculty member, Clinical Instructor at a Medical School, and so much more provides the perfect backdrop for her message of joy, humor, passion and faith as the necessary tools for life.