Article Nothing lasts forever. Most definitely, not your coaching clients. Here’s how to respond when a client fires you. 0 2023 Life coaching How to get coaching clients life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Mastering Your Comeback: How to Respond When a Client Fires You as a Life Coach


Don’t you just love endings? All those sappy conclusions in films and books where the protagonist conquers all. Then, live happily ever after. The end. Fin.

What’s the term they use again? Ah, right. Fairytale endings.

Insert happy sigh.

Wake up. This is real life.

No, we don’t love endings! Especially if that ending means your client is letting you go and terminating their coaching sessions with you. Because the ending you’re facing is not of the happy kind, it’s the dreadful one.

In short, you’re fired.

You're Fired gif

I have to admit, though. Fantasies did get one thing right. And that is: there’s always a rainbow after the rain.

Alright, I’ll stop the theatricality. It’s just that the media do tend to emphasize fictional stories. Got carried away ?.

But since we’ve established that this is real life. Here’s the real deal. The dread you initially feel? It’s not permanent.

Being fired isn’t the end. In fact, you might not be getting fired at all.

How come, you ask? I think the better question is how to respond when a client fires you.

Because how you go about this can finalize the act or turn your situation around and get you to that fairytale ending.

Why Oh Why?

The audacity to fire you, am I right? Just kidding. You can’t really blame your clients for arriving at that decision.

No matter how much you deny it, something in your sessions just didn’t sit well with them. Now, that’s partly on you.

Want to know why? Let me give you some of the reasons:

It’s Not What You Did

It’s what you failed to do or deliver. More often people get fired because of that instead of the mistakes they make (Kennedy, 2000).

Remember at the very beginning of coaching, you asked your client to set a goal. If it takes a long time to achieve that goal, your client will realize that you might not be the right coach.

So be careful when you make promises. Those might bite you in the back later on. Words are nothing if you can’t set out to follow through with them. True, most of the work needs to be done by your clients personally. But if you are in no way helpful in that, what’s your use as their life coach?

Mismatched Pairing

Some people just click. May that be in social settings or life coaching. Personalities and energies also factor in for the whole coach and coachee relationship to work.

When you and a client clash, how do you expect them to succeed in coaching? They won’t because they’re hesitant to be genuine with you. Most of all, they probably don’t trust you fully.

On this note, you need to find the balance between professionalism and friendliness. You have to take your clients’ problems seriously without coming off as standoffish or cold. Add some friendliness into your approach. Giving off a warm and approachable aura can help the whole trust-building process between the two of you.

Judgment Masking as Guidance

As a life coach, you’re aware that you’re intelligent, knowledgeable, and capable. These are just a few traits that make you good at your job. But there’s a fine line between arrogance, judgment, and being helpful.

You may not see it as you being judgmental, but you can come off as one to your client.

Say that a client confides in you about their cheating spouse. It’s clearly evident to you what needs to be done to sort out the situation. You’re the life coach, after all.

But based on the story being retold endlessly, your client is being a martyr and simply venting out how their spouse is the worst. So one session, you interrupt and ask:

Ever thought of just filing for a divorce to get it over with? Do you think being upset about it here while doing nothing outside of our sessions will solve your marriage problems? 

Okay, so maybe you intended to offer tough love. Unfortunately, it came off as highly offensive to your client. You did cut them off. Keep in mind that you need to listen for meaning. Respectfully understand their situation (van Nieuwerburgh, 2020).

The gist? Don’t be pushy. Don’t be a jerk.

Hurry It Up, Slow Poke

Our fourth reason primarily applies to email coaching. Since this type involves communication through email, replies may or may not be in real-time.

Depending on the urgency of a situation, clients may demand you to answer quickly. Failing to do so repeatedly is bound to a breakup. Better make sure then that you are sending your replies in a timely fashion.

Radio silence from you can make your clients think that you’re ignoring them and their problems. It’s possible for them to think of all sorts of reasons for your absence. And is it really worth their money to have a life coach that’s always MIA?

They’ll start looking for a more efficient coach, leaving you with one less client.

It’s Not You. It’s Them. 

Let’s not forget the reason that is 100% because of your client. Budget cuts.

There may come a time when insufficient funds will hinder your client from further pursuing coaching with you. Honestly, it’s not their fault as well. Life happens. Money becomes tight, and some activities need to be put on hold to give way to more important things.

When this happens, it doesn’t matter if you have an excellent client-coach relationship. Unless, of course, you’re up for doing some free coaching sessions.

You could, however, offer a short or longer term discount. Or offer one of your other lower priced coaching packages such as group coaching or a self-paced course.

Goal Achieved

Your client achieved their goal! This might just be the best reason to be fired. Your client is finally living the life they were only dreaming of at the beginning of your sessions.

You can bawl your eyes out this time. I’ll allow it. Those tears of joy symbolize the hardships that your client managed to surpass. Saying goodbye won’t be as bitter.


How the Axe Falls 

It can feel like a betrayal when a client suddenly decides to terminate relations with you. Moreover, this can mess with you when you know for a fact that progress is going well. 

Being emotional is understandable. But make sure that you don’t hunt down the client ready to start yelling.

So how will a client inform you that they want to go separate ways from here?

The Unexpected Call

A client can call you. It’s a decent thing to do. It can be like a last coaching session with you. 

Instead of asking questions to help them achieve a goal, though, it’ll be about why the change of heart. 

Dearest Life Coach,

Or it can be through email. If I were a client, I’d go this route. Call me a coward, but I’d prefer not to be bombarded with the “whys” and “would you reconsider.” 

At least with an email, I won’t hear or see you go through a roller coaster of emotions. The guilt might act up, and I might take back the termination. For a client, staying just because they feel bad about how you’re reacting will feel uncomfortable.


This is probably the worst course of action a client could choose. Your client can just stop showing up or replying one day, and that’s it. No goodbyes. No reasons as to why. 

There’s really nothing much you can do in this case. You won’t be able to convince them to continue. 

Still, the best thing to do is to try and contact them. Tell them you noticed their absence and would like to know what happened. Who knows, they might end up replying to stop their coaching formally. 

You're fired sign

How To Respond When a Client Fires You

It honestly sucks to get fired. What’s worse is the onslaught of emotions that follows. 

Want to react in the heat of the moment? Don’t do it.

Think before you respond, and make sure that you take the time to process what happened. Otherwise, you’ll say things you’ll regret later, making your chances of convincing them back null.

To prevent you from doing anything rash, follow these steps on how to respond when a client fires you:

#1 Understanding is key. If your client fires you in writing, read the message several times.

Go back to the points they made, like why they are ending the coaching sessions and other explanations. Digesting their words and understanding their decision will tremendously help with your response.

#2 Is there something you could have done? There’s a possibility that you could have done something to prevent this from happening. Asking what that something could be wouldn’t hurt, you know? Besides, with you asking that question, your client might rethink their decision.

You may be given a chance to do whatever it is to undo the termination. Yay! But if it’s final…well.

#3 Ask for your client’s honesty. Sometimes, a client might cover up why they’re truly firing you as their coach. It would then be difficult to convince them otherwise.

But! If they do allow a second chance, it would be best to be honest with each other. Own up to your shortcomings. As they should.

#4 It’s final. When your client has already made up their mind on ending their life coaching session with you despite offering them suggestions for change, then it’s time to let go.

You can help them develop a transition plan if they’re planning on going to another life coach. Coordinate with their new coach regarding the progress your client had with you.


So, what can you actually say when a client fires you? We’ve compiled a list of the replies you can send:

  • That’s unfortunate. But, yes, I understand. As difficult as it is, listen and acknowledge what your client is saying.
  • Is it possible for you to give me some time to process this? Better to take a couple of minutes to take in what’s happening instead of letting your emotions do the talking. Pause. Breathe.
  • May I know why you’re firing me as your life coach? Knowing the details can help you in coming to terms with the termination. It can also serve as a lesson for you. You’ll know what to do in the future with other clients.
  • Will you reconsider if we change a couple of things? Let your client know that you’re willing to make some changes to which you can commit to. Inform them of their options.
  • How will you describe me as a life coach to other people? Ask your client for feedback on how you were as a life coach. This can give you an insight into the areas you can improve on.
  • Will you recommend my services to others? Not all clients that leave experience something terrible with you. It would be nice to know you did a good enough job in life coaching for your clients to recommend you to others.
  • Can we talk again soon? I may have some follow-up questions regarding your departure. It’s possible that you have queries you haven’t thought of yet.
  • Can I help you with anything regarding your transition to another life coach? Your feelings might be hurt, but offering your help regarding this might be the highest road you can possibly take.
  • Is there anything I should do differently in the future based on your time with me? Again, knowing these things can help in your professional growth. It’s also for your own success as a life coach to improve continuously.  
  • Thank you for working with me. I wish you the best in life. Lastly, you can finish it by showing gratitude and wishing them luck in their future endeavors.

10 Best replies when a client fires you

Won’t You Stay?

Nothing is finalized. That call or email you receive merely informs you that you need to do something before accepting that it’s over. 

Give them a good reason to stay. By now, you already have a good idea of what area/s needs fine-tuning. 

You and your client need to meet each other halfway — with you coaching effectively and them doing the work. Because, as they say, trust is a two-way street. It’s vital that you grant them what they want without compromising your coaching business, though. Why don’t we take trust as an example?

So they didn’t feel as though they could connect with you during the coaching sessions. If they give you another chance, make sure you bring your trustworthy and caring self. That initial lack of connection is due to their absence of trust for you. 

Ever heard of the Maister Trust Equation? It’s this equation for viewing professional relationships and retaining clients (Maister et al., 2000):

Trustworthiness = (Credibility x Reliability x Intimacy) / Self-Orientation

The Maister Trust Equation

  • Does your client view you as a credible body in what you do? Credibility in your words
  • Is your client able to rely on you for what you say you can help with? Reliability in your actions
  • Are you sharing an appropriate relationship with your client during your sessions? Intimacy during the sessions
  • Is your sole focus on this coaching relationship centered on money? Do you care enough about your client and their problems? Are you paying attention? Self-Orientation is your self-interest

Keep in mind that a strong coach-client relationship gives way to more honest and genuine coaching. Thus, the results are more efficient and can happen sooner. 

Listen actively. Ask powerful questions. Admit your mistakes. Correct them accordingly. Soon enough, trust will follow. 

When All is Said and Done

And how to respond when a client fires you no longer matters…I’m afraid it’s time we go about the final phase: Accept defeat.

Don’t take this negatively. Acceptance comes with finding the good in this unfortunate situation. It means moving forward, focusing on those you’re still coaching, and finding your dream clients. 

Of course, this is easier said than done. Another path, the more likely and natural one, is fear. After all, clients are the foundation of coaching. Their leaving is bad for business. 

But you get two options with this. Either it’s the action to rid yourself of that fear or the paralysis to remain in that state (Lensges & Scrimpshire, 2021). 

I’d go with the first one, and here’s how you can too:

  • Give yourself time to process and adjust. 
  • Remain optimistic 
  • Reinvest your energy
  • Accept the situation
  • Understand your reaction and be kind to yourself

Wrap up sessions

No matter how you end a relationship with a client, it's important to wrap things up in a positive way. Check out this free set of wrap-up session questions from the Coaching Tools Company. They are a great way  to showcase the effectiveness of coaching and solidify the results of your collaboration together. When wrapping up, it's important to:

  • Chat about what your client has learned from the coaching sessions.
  • Highlight what they've accomplished while being coached.
  • Dive into how they now view their life and themselves in a new light.
  •  Use in the session for a feel-good finale.

Dream Clients: How to Find and Retain Them

One door closes, and another one opens. One client leaving makes room for finding your dream clients. And with them leaving is knowing what to do (and not do) for your next ones.

 Here are some of the ways you can find new clients:

  • Join Life Coach Hub’s Directory. Because let me tell you something, clients are also looking for you in directories.
  • Don’t undersell your value. In relation to the first point, make sure you make a coaching bio highlighting your services and what you can do for your clients. 
  • Be out there. Coaching directories aren’t the only prong in your marketing arsenal. Create a website. Be on social media. Promote your coaching business on the Internet. Download and work on our marketing plan.
  • Connect with other coaches. They’re not your enemies. Having a coaching community will do both you and your business some good.
  • Create an email List. Don’t skip out on this just because you have social media. Email marketing is cost-effective and an easy way to reach out to new clients.

How to Find and Retain Your Dream Clients

As for retaining them, you need to:

  • Set reasonable fees
  • Manage client expectations and create action plans 
  • Connect with your clients
  • Accept constructive criticisms and feedback
  • Be transparent on the process and keep them focused on the results, not on an end date
  • Create progress that your clients can see
  • Stay on the ball


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