The truth will set you free, but first it will make you mad as hell.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve sought truth.
Spiritual truth. Truth about how the world worked. Truth about people. Truth about myself.
So naturally, I love honesty. I love when people give me honest feedback. To me, it’s unconditional love. Even when it stings, feedback is crucial to growth.
Just tell me the truth!
(Flash back to Pretty in Pink when Molly Ringwald is yelling that statement to her lame boyfriend who stood her up for the prom.)
I’m candid, to the point and I don’t do small talk. Never have. So clearly I’m not the coach for everyone.
This is also the reason my dad often says to me “Angella, you are just so blunt sometimes.”
Ironically I’m super sensitive so when I receive blunt feedback, it stings…until I get over it.
Here is where honest feedback can get funky: not everyone likes or appreciates the truth.
It’s amazing the things we do to cover up our truth or to prevent ourselves from hearing it.
We lie to ourselves about our current reality because “it will all be okay.”
We lie to each other because we want to be nice and don’t want to hurt people’s feelings.
So we continue down paths of messages that don’t work, marketing plans that flop, and meanwhile we are confused and frustrated why we aren’t making more money.
Not to mention relationships that don’t work and the same drama and problems month after month and even year after year.
Several few months ago, on a really bad hair day that I’m kind of embarrassed about, I recorded this video about feedback after I saw how feedback pissed off a few clients.
Having an unhappy client isn’t the most fun thing in business, but it WILL happen if you are doing your job right.
I know what it feels like to be the client who receives honest candid feedback that can sting. This past week I reflected on two past mentors of mine who seriously ticked me off – they triggered BIG STUFF stuff in me!
At the time they gave me feedback, I wanted to make them “wrong” because I was mad and hurt.
I’ve had mentors who loved me enough to be honest and I always received a life-changing lesson that changed me, my business and my income for the better. But at the time it really sucked.
What do you do when you have an unhappy client (or even piss them off)?
1. Take accountability for your part and only your part.
In my very real human-ness this past week I found myself REACTING to a couple of scenarios instead of completely realizing that my client’s reaction was entirely their experience and had nothing to do with me.
HOWEVER, that was exactly what I took accountability for: my REACTION and how I delivered my reaction. (Just pick up the dang phone and don’t reply to funky energy in emails.)
Don’t be over-responsible for anyone’s reaction. It’s not your business and has nothing to do with you.
2. Don’t take anything personally. Period.
3. If you need to wait 24 hours to respond, so you can process whatever is triggering you, then do that.
Never respond with your triggers fully engaged. Be gentle with your human-ness and give yourself some space to breathe so you can be present with a clear head.
4. “Just because a question is asked doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Better to stay silent than to answer a dysfunctional question.” ~Darla LeDoux
In a coaching training I did years ago I remember the principle “Keep people in the question, they will find their own answer.”
Rather than telling your client what to feel, think or do – ask questions so they get to the heart of their truth. You can’t tell someone their truth – they have got to find it on their own.
Your job as a coach is to coach, not be someone’s friend. Your clients will attempt to project stuff on you, just as you attempt to project your stuff on others. We are all humans doing our best.
5. If someone is uncoachable, they are uncoachable.
Another quote from Darla: “Do you good where it will do the most good.”
If your client can’t receive your coaching, you can’t force a breakthrough to happen.
6. The biggest teachers and lessons that you are most grateful for will usually piss you off first. Sometimes you are that teacher.
Be willing to take a stand for your client by being unwavering in your feedback, honesty and truth.
I remember Suzanne Evans, a past mentor of mine, telling me “Angella, I think you just really need to get pissed off. Maybe I’m that person who will piss you off enough that you refuse to accept your current circumstances.”
She was right. Thank you Suzanne (sincerely).
7. Remember that everyone is on their soul path and you are on your soul path.
You are in each other’s life for a reason. Your job isn’t to be right but to trust that while you are a work in progress, your client will learn what they need to learn in THEIR divine timing, not yours.
8. Come from love and it will heal.
Always come from a place of love and don’t seek to be understood, it’s not your job to be understood. It’s your job to deliver the message and the gift will be opened when the recipient is ready.
Always send love to your upset client. I love using Ho’ oponopono to bless the situation, my client and myself if something comes up where we don’t see eye to eye.
The bottom line is you will have an unhappy client at some point. You will BE the unhappy client at some point. It’s the growing pains of true mastery.
While attending a personal development training several years ago, the facilitator was asking the participants about the breakthroughs they had with one of the processes that was pretty intense; it involved giving real, honest and very candid feedback to people in the group.
I shared my breakthrough with the facilitator about how grateful I was to have received “tough love.”
The facilitator simply replied “There is no such thing as tough love, only unconditional love.”