7 Tips for Dealing with the Uglies of Coaching

by Wayne Sharer

International speaker, author, and entrepreneur. Retired navy officer, former commanding officer. Over 35 years of leading, coaching, mentoring, and speaking.

October 8, 2011

uglies of coachingDo you provide information to a group of followers or clients?

Maybe you’re a coach, or you create information products to sell advice, solutions, inspiration, or other great knowledge to help people in life.

If you do any of this, you are familiar with the handful of followers who will follow you around and attack you, regardless of what you say or how you say it.  If you’re new to the leadership role of providing solutions, you may not yet have experienced this.

So the question to you is… How will you deal with this?

If you know me at all, I like to deal with the good, the mediocre, and the bad of everything, and not push people into things without giving them some preparation for the “tough cookies.”  Behind every silver curtain, there lurks something you didn’t expect, because the experts were afraid to talk about it.

Coaching and providing information that is truly helpful to others for solving problems is extremely rewarding, and can be very profitable.  There’s no arguing this.  At least, there’s no arguing it from a personal perspective.  You get to meet and know hundreds and thousands of people, and provide them inspiration and knowledge that you spent a long time learning and absorbing the lessons from.

Eighty percent (or more) of your loyal followers will literally beg you for more every step of the way.

Some 15% or so will be hot and cold, but will follow you religiously anyhow.

But there is the 5% (or less) who will not like anything you say, and tell you so often.  The amazing thing is, they will still keep following you around and trying to drag you down.

I will admit that such attacks are instantly very demeaning in a very personal sense.  They can make me feel as though I’m useless, despite the overwhelming evidence from the other 95% that whatever the naysayer said, simply isn’t true.  Like everyone, I would love to be liked by everyone.  It’s only human.

But I’m a realist, and you need to be, too.  Everyone isn’t going to like you.  Your job as a coach, and as a problem solver is not to have everyone like you.  It’s to solve their problems.   If you solve their problems well, the overwhelming numbers will, indeed, like you.

Now, there still is the feeling you get stuck deep inside you after reading or hearing just one of the attack comments from the rare ranter.  Here’s how I deal with it…

  1. I don’t ignore any input I get, good or bad.
  2. I read the negative rants, start to feel like crap, get a little angry, then put it away.
  3. Then I try to get a good night sleep, though I don’t usually that night, because I keep thinking about the negative rant
  4. Then I re-read the “input” and look for anything that could potentially be something other people think, but aren’t quite so willing to just tear at you like your a lifeless scum.
  5. I hate the “re-reading” part, but I do it, and sometimes I can find a hint of something that makes sense and apply it to how I’m approaching things in my business.
  6. If the rant came to me in a survey… well, that’s all I can do.
  7. If it came in a personal email, then I reply.  Generally, I will thank them for their candid input, and not complain.  Then I will tell them how great they are, in various words.  And that will be it.

Most don’t ever reply again after that.  I’m not sure they even bother to read my reply, though I think they do.  It’s likely because they expected a reply full of defenses and rotten words such as their own attacks on me.

Over the 28 years I’ve been in leadership positions, this sort of thing has happened very rarely, but when it does, it really beats on your psyche.  So you do have to deal with it.  You can come out a winner by ensuring you have a personal process to deal with it.

I’m not telling you my is the only way.  You’ll have to figure out what works for you.  However, attacking back never works, so you need to have a personally rewarding way to deal with the negative.

Talk to you soon,


Wayne Sharer

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