I am guilty of upsetting my coaching clients on a regular basis. Here is how I do it.
Sometimes, clients begin to learn the skills of NLP and not only do they experience the positive change it brings, but they begin to enjoy learning about themselves, their own minds and how they can have better relationships with others as a result of putting the skills into action.
The problem with that, it is addictive.
Perhaps you too have at some point in the past become addicted to personal development. Maybe you are what I would refer to as a ‘course junkie’ – always looking for the next ‘high’ from learning something new or feeling the sense of empowerment for having someone say the sorts of things that make you feel motivated and empowered.
I’ve met people who have been to see Tony Robbins Unleash the Power within event multiple times. Twice, I get it. Because you can miss something the first time around and you might get a better experience the second time as you are less overwhelmed.
But eight times? I really think you should have got the message by then! If someone came to my event 8 times I’d be starting to worry that they were stalking me!
Personal development is addictive though! The good feeling you get from being told or learning empowering things, amongst people who are on the same page as you is a unique experience and sometimes people want more of that.
The same thing can happen to a lesser extent in our therapeutic sessions. Then there comes a point when you need to set them free. After all as a therapist you do not want your clients hanging around forever because it makes it look as if you still haven’t been successful in helping them overcoming their original challenge. Plus it’s important that they learn how to put their skills into the real world and your therapy room isn’t the real world. The only time to keep seeing a client on a long term basis is because they are still on a journey. They are still evolving and would like some support with it. That is entirely different to them continuing to see you because they are using your relationship as a crutch.
The real trick is to teach them how to give themselves that feeling that they get from being with you when they are no longer attending the sessions, so that they can have it any time they want it.
I’m very fortunate in that I am able to access that feeling of learning and growth and development on (at least) an every week basis when I mentor the NLP4Kids team. They come to me with ideas and challenges that they are experiencing with their clients and I come up with solutions on the spot. Over time, the solutions have been less about NLP techniques as per the manual and more about being creative and ‘tuning in’ to how people think. It’s an extra stretch because often I have never spoken to their clients, I am hearing the information second hand via the practitioner and have to sift through the details they give me to give relevant and appropriate ideas about how they should respond.
These little light bulb moments we experience have less to do with the fact that we are talking therapeutically, and are, on a simpler level about helping people move forward.
So for the clingy client, suggest that they now take their learning to the next level by forging relationships where they will be helping others, or problem solving beyond themselves.
When they begin to apply what they have learned to their wider network instead of just to themselves, then they will experience a whole new level of learning and an even more empowering level.
By Gemma Bailey