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What Life Coaches Do When Clients Talk Too Much

Updated: May 9, 2023

What Life Coaches Do When Clients Talk Too Much

If you've ever had a client who talks too much or wonder what you'd do in this situation when you become a coach, here are some tips for handling "chatty Kathys".

Client-Focused Sessions

First, you must recognize that the coaching session belongs to the client - they can do as they please with their time. It's your job as the life coach to manage the time, focus, and progress of the session. Since coaching is about being present and moving forward, it is important to know what to do as a life coach to offer the highest results to your clients.

Skilled Life Coaches Know How-To...

It is not the client's job to keep themselves on track in a coaching session. It is the life coach's job to have a structure in place, be highly skilled to manage time, and have techniques in place to move the conversation along should the client be talking in circles. Having a balanced coaching structure and time markers (for example, by the halfway mark we will have a set goal) will be helpful in moving the conversation along or having a stated purpose to interrupt the client if need be.

Clear Outcome/Focus

The life coach should have a clear focus or outcome set for the session that they have created with the client. If the coach has a clear outcome it will be easier to redirect the conversation when it gets unfocused.

When the life coach doesn't have a clear outcome, the conversation is more likely to go around in circles, get stagnant and the client walks away with little to no progress.

When I have a client talking a lot but not moving forward, I draw their attention back to the focus and say: "Today you wanted X, what insights have you gained so far based on what you have shared?" This hones them in and becomes a segway to changing the conversation without rudely interrupting the client or making them feel uncomfortable.

Question Question Question!

The foundation of any coach's job: asking questions!

When you find a client is talking a lot and it doesn't seem related to the stated purpose of the coaching session, you may simply ask an open-ended question that brings them back to the purpose and the present moment:

"How is this related to today's goal?"

"What are you learning so far about yourself or the situation?"

"How do you think we are doing so far?"

"Do you feel the conversation we are having so far is helpful to your stated goal for today?"

"What do you feel you need next to achieve your [state goal]?"

Here what the coach is doing is leaving the answer in the client's hands and intentionally bringing them back to the present moment and session goal and taking them out of story-telling or replaying the past.

What if the life coach can't get a word in?

Kindly interrupt the client, especially if time is of the essence, and state your purpose for doing so:

"May I interrupt for a moment?"

"May I pause you for a moment?" and then offer your open-ended question to get the client present with themselves, the situation, or the goal at hand.

"If I may interject for a moment, I am being mindful of the time and want to ensure you walk away with what you said you wanted to accomplish today"

Or sometimes, you could simply invite the client to pause and take a breath if they have been talking non-stop with no pause. Do this lovingly and respectfully, of course. They may appreciate the tenderness and reminder you just offered.

Did you find this blog post helpful on what life coaches do when clients talk too much? If so, stay tuned for more 'how-to's' with real-life coaching experience and expertise built-in.

If you are ready to further your coaching skills whether you are new or experienced in coaching, check out our small container ICF-accredited coach training programs here. We teach you everything from becoming a highly-skilled spiritual life coach, marketing your business from a place of 'being you', and receiving ongoing professional and spiritual development within and outside our coach training containers.

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