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Aha! This is a biggy. All the coaching books talk about how client needs to be accountable, and most give tips on how to achieve this. Often these tips include making the client feel beholden to you so that they agree to what you suggest and do what they have agreed. Also they talk about ensuring that the client is motivated to achieve and that they set appropriate goals.

These ideas are all absolutely fine, of course, but ultimately the clients ARE accountable only to themselves, as we all are in life. Part of what you will be encouraging will be autonomy for your clients; you must beware of promoting this with one hand and taking it back with the other.

One theory that is useful in this area is Neurological Levels as you can work with the levels to see where to target. For example if a person has a strong identity of “honest” then you can “call them” on tasks they haven’t completed!

Guilt also ties in with this area. While we couldn’t advocate pushing your client’s guilt button, it is something that you need to be aware of. In fact, if the client is undertaking tasks in order to avoid feeling guilty for disappointing you then you need to be looking at better motivations!


So, this is a difficult line to walk, and we suggest that you bring this factor into the open as soon as possible, and often if necessary!

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