You know what I mean- clients who show up late, clients who always want more time than they paid for and clients who talk too much! This is about getting rid of the discomfort when a client doesn’t respect your scheduling boundaries.
First of all, I hope you’ll remember that most people are not naturally malicious and out to ruin your life (or scheduling system). Most people are generally good. I can tell you that clients who do these things are probably well meaning and just enjoy meeting with you.
Think of yourself as a client - you get much more relaxed when you are not the one keeping track of time or delivering services. Try to remember many of your clients are feeling and doing the same thing. And, if you haven’t set time boundaries with your clients (we’ll meet for this amount of time, this many times a month), it’s time to start!
Now, on to solutions!
If someone is talking too much or going over their time, it’s OK to tell them. You can be funny, polite, whatever your style, just let them know.
Most coaches and service providers are trying so hard to be nice that we forget that it’s OK to ask for what we need, too.
Your (logical) client will not get mad or leave you because you reeled them back in. If they do, they may need some clearing work in that area themselves! Bottom line - you have every right to cut the convo short.
Some clients just want to connect with you. Make sure you give about 5 minutes at the start of the session for connecting and talking. If you don’t, some clients will be trying to connect with you the whole session and making the session longer by talking too much!
Sometimes, that’s the reason for all the chit chat - they just want to connect. If you don’t do this already, you may find the sessions going more smoothly and comfortably once you start. If you find it hard to transition from chit chat to doing what they came for, just call it what it is.
“Alright, let’s get down to business.” or “I could talk with you all day - let’s get started.” Whatever feels comfortable.
In fact, most people will respect you for asking for what you need and try to be more cognizant. If it’s too hard to ask for what you need, you may have false messages about time boundaries to clear. I have a meditation to help with that!
Give reminders. If you have a client that is late once or twice and they’ve been with you for a while, I would suggest not making a big deal about it. Especially if they are apologetic and generally respectful of your time anyway.
However, if this is happening more than three times, especially within a 1-2 month period (depending on how often you see them), there may be a pattern starting to form.
After the third time, speak with the person IN PERSON (Zoom, however) and let them know that this is disrupting your schedule.
Give solutions - Ask if they need a different time slot. Try to accommodate them without putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Nothing worse than scheduling a client in a time slot you hate for the next few months! I’ve done it.
Most people will make an effort to follow your rules, if you lay them out clearly.
If you’ve tried all kinds of ways to accommodate them and it’s not working, it may be just that they’re not a good fit. Only you can decide if it can work out.
One you may not have considered - determine if your session time is appropriate. I’ve had to change my session times based on what I was offering and the number of clients I was working with at a time. Build in time for chit chat and connection, but not more than you’re comfortable with.
If you know you can give them everything they need for a session in 30 minutes, consider offering 45 minute sessions. Some people just want to discuss your work afterward. This can be very helpful for them and enjoyable for you. I know that recapping has helped many of my clients see where they were making progress and they hadn’t even consciously thought about it on their own.
Remember, most of your clients are working with you because they like you. Most clients have a choice in who they are working with and time to be human and connect can make a big difference.
BONUS - Go within. Are you allowing others to disrespect your time because of fear or scarcity? Are you afraid that the client will leave you if you try to set boundaries around time? Do people do that to you outside of your business?
If you suspect that you may be allowing people to use your time in a way that doesn’t honor you, you can use my Clarity Meditation to find out why. This guided meditation helps you to quiet your mind and hear from your subconscious about what’s bothering you.
You can use it to hear solutions and information about any topic. You can use the meditation as much or as little as you like, whenever you want to go within for guidance. Enjoy!