“We’re often afraid of looking at our shadow because we want to avoid the shame or embarrassment that comes along with admitting mistakes.” – Marianne Williamson
Listening to the radio, I heard two commercials in a row for “tax problem resolution.” This caught my attention because I was on my way to meet with a friend of mine for lunch who happens to be a professional dealing with tax issues.
As we talked, I became acutely aware that although our industries are completely unrelated, our and many other businesses have much in common when it comes to what we need to do in order to close business and serve our clients.
In many industries, mine included, clients can get locked in a shame spiral. If there is a strong enough feeling of shame, they might fail to resolve an issue and perhaps even let it proliferate. The longer it goes on, the greater the issue becomes, the more the shame paralyzes them, and the deeper the spiral goes.
In many cases, the prospective client is sitting across from you because of choices they made, something they did, and/or need help. Whatever your profession, there are four gifts you need to give to your potential clients in order to set yourself apart from your competition and serve the client.
1. Confidentiality
When your prospective client is feeling shame, it’s crucial that they know that nothing they share with you will be shared with anyone else unless absolutely necessary to solve the issues, even if confidentiality isn’t a requirement, legally or otherwise. This will help them open up and share everything with you that you need to know so that you don’t lose time and energy by having to circle back and re-do something later.
2. Understanding
In situations like these, it is likely the client is holding themselves in judgment. It’s important to let the client know that you aren’t looking at them through that lens. Almost everyone makes choices that are out of alignment with their goals or desires. it doesn’t make them stupid, foolish, bad, or any other judgment. It simply makes them human.
3. Compassion
Even if your client is in a situation in which you could never imagine yourself, you can have compassion for how it is affecting them. They might be experiencing any number or combination of feelings: Anger, sadness, fear, shame, etc. And while the situation might not be something to which you can specifically relate, you can certainly relate to their experience.
4. Acceptance
Once you have assured confidentiality, shown understanding of the issues AND the clients’ experiences, and shown compassion, you can move the client into a place of acceptance. Wishing the situation was different doesn’t help. The situation is as it is and that is why you are there to help. Because the shame and judgment are no longer in the way, it will be easier for the client and you to deal with the situation.
By providing these gifts, you create a safe space in which you can address the PERSON, as well as the issue. In doing so, you’re likely to see a shift in your clients’ experiences and differentiate you from your competition. This is effective because the part of the brain that addresses the issues is different from the part that determines how someone experiences it – and THAT is the part of the brain that drives behavior and decision-making (like, whether or not to hire you).
Consider a client you recently spoke with or one that you have a meeting with soon and think about when/how you might have offered/be able to offer these gifts. Share your ideas, suggestions, and/or experiences on Facebook! And for inspirational messages (or random goofy stuff) follow me on Twitter, and get more “behind the scenes” stuff on InstaGram.
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About the Author -

Executive coach and motivational speaker Chris M. King facilitates the mind shift necessary for professionals and organizations to achieve authentic success and empowerment. Clients experience productivity increases of up to 40%, freedom from burnout and overwhelm, clarity in times of transition, dramatically improved work/life balance, answers to "what's next," creative solutions for innovation, and an overall increase in satisfaction in career and in life. And he does all of this without ever giving advice! Chris doesn't show them THE way. He guides them in finding THEIR way. An emerging thought leader in the men's movement, Chris also works with professional men and women on accountability, vulnerability, and empowerment. He specifically addresses the issues associated with mid-life crises and Peter Pan Syndrome. He is a volunteer for ManKind Project International, a contributing author to The Good Men Project and Elephant Journal, and is honored to be working with Sam Morris as a contributor to Zen Warrior Training®, helping people achieve self-mastery. Chris is also a coach at Project Bully Buster, coaching teens as they navigate the challenges of adolescence. He is honored to work with and support organizations dedicated to the men’s movement, to women's issues, and, as brother to a special needs sister, the US Special Olympics. Chris is currently working on his first book.

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