how will you respond if a client gets angry at you?

Whether you work 1:1 or with groups, there will likely come a moment when a client gets mad at you.

They may get mad for a legitimate reason – something you’ve done that wasn’t quite right. 

Or, they may get mad because they’ve gotten activated by something stretchy you’re working on, and anger/blame is easier than facing what’s coming up. Or they may get mad because they’ve had a bad day and your space is a safe space for them. Or maybe your good work together is finally unlocking for them the anger at another that they’ve repressed for a long time…and the emotion at first is messy and may come at you.

Whatever the reason, the first thing any practitioner needs to know is that sessions & client interactions are not going to be harmonious ALL the time. And it doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all. If handled masterfully, it can be the thing that creates the most learning and gold for your client (& possibly even for you).

If you are attached to a client never getting angry at you, you are bringing your own fears, held beliefs, and possibly misaligned energy into your containers with you.

Those fears and held beliefs then become a block in your client work – for you, and for your client.

Beyond that, if you are attached to your client never getting angry at you, then if it does happen, you’re more likely to REACT versus to RESPOND to the situation because all of your survival instincts will be activated. You may end up in flight, flight, freeze or fawn. And from that place, you may say or do things that don’t serve anyone.

Instead, do the inner work to be OK if anger comes up and know that it’s not out of the realm of ordinary. And that it doesn’t mean anything has necessarily gone wrong. 

From there, respond instead of react:

Can you first open your heart and have compassion (for your client and for yourself), and then from there assess what the anger is actually about (is there a legit reason for you to apologize, or is something else happening?), and guide your client from there.

Masterful navigation of client anger can lead to deep transformation. Knowing what to say to support that transformation first starts with you – the practitioner – being conscious of the beliefs and energy around anger that you bring to your work.

Join The Conversation


55 Highly Effective
Breakthrough Coaching Questions

You might also like