Being given this topic made my stomach turn initially. As I contemplated my approach, I wondered if there is even such thing as a difficult client? If so, then there must also be easy clients. Which I am not sure is true!
The way I see it is that challenging situations arise, and this is in life, not just coaching or training. And we can handle or tackle these situations which will make us or break us. The second you set a goal, no matter how big or small, there is an element of risk. A risk that you might not achieve this goal. This could be due to a lack of training, injury, illness, a global pandemic; the list is endless. Some of these factors are in your control, and some are not. But despite the risks, many of us train and strive to be better athletes and therefore have coaches to help guide and aid the process.
It is unlikely, highly unlikely, that anyone will ever sail through an entire block of training seamlessly. We dance on this balance of pushing hard in training, but not so hard that we tip over the edge. We have life events that crop up and take priority over our training; loved ones get sick, we juggle a busy family life or stressful work life. Whatever the reason for Plan A not going to plan, it’s unlikely that it is because someone is just “being difficult.”
Having a coach is like having an extra person in your corner. They know more about you than most, they are your cheerleader but biggest critic and they work behind the scenes to help piece together Plan B and C.
The most important thing I request from my clients is their honesty, and in turn, I strive to give my own coach the same. Honestly, how did that run feel? How are things at work? How many hours can you commit to training? Coaching is a 2-way street, and feedback is critical. The athlete needs to listen to their coach's advice and guidance, and the coach needs to listen to the feedback. If either communication or understanding on either side, coach or athlete, breaks down, the relationship and coaching experience is hindered.
Through good, clear, and honest communication, coaches and athletes can tackle an array of challenging situations together. And together, we are usually stronger. A missed training session usually has a story, and an injury usually has a starting point; a failed goal will have a reason.
Please, if you are dealing with a difficult situation, tell your coach.