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Why my clients hate me

I remember a friend of mine, who is a coach, saying years ago that your clients should hate your sometimes.

I agree.

Not that you want them to hate you for real. Of course they likely wouldn’t even work with you if they felt like that. But at times you will piss them off. And, as a coach, you should.

Unlike counselling, which many times involves a ton of validation (I did my years in therapy and then even started the process of studying to work in the field), coaching is about transformation. Often huge transformation. My work certainly is. And that means looking at things in a way you aren’t used to. Having things, including your own thoughts, behaviours, and stories pointed out to you. And, at times, being called on your unhelpful stories (i.e. calling you on your BS, which we all spin at times).

And this process usually isn’t comfortable. It can stretch and challenge us and sometimes we can feel pissed at the person doing the stretching and challenging.


Sometimes, when pushed outside your comfort zone, you’ll hate your personal trainer. For a minute. Or maybe the next morning when you can’t make it down the stairs.

Sometimes, when your teacher or boss has set you a task that seems harder than you can do, you’ll hate them for it.

And sometimes when your coach sees behind a certain story or behaviour to what is really going on, you’ll hate them briefly too. Like my lovely client last week who said in jest (well…half in jest) “I hate you, Kristie” after I called out what I spotted – that a particular time when she felt she was missing her dead family members was, in actuality, her way of avoiding her current reality, where she felt stuck, and her future, which she felt unsure of and brought up lots of fear for her. It was simply an avoidance strategy, with little to do with those who had died. She said “I hate you” because she instantly recognised the truth in what I was saying.

And that’s ok. Because it’s ok to feel uncomfortable. In fact it’s necessary. If you’re always feeling comfortable, then chances are you’ve set up shop in your comfort zone and aren’t growing. If you want to grow, change, heal, transform, and move towards your dreams, then life isn’t going to be comfortable all the time.

And hopefully the people who are helping you along the way have the tools and the intent and the heart to let you feel uncomfortable, to sometimes have you “hate” them, in service to your healing, your growth, and your dreams.



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