A client I've been working with for a couple of months has been an absolute gem. I wrote about her a few days ago - she does all her assignments and really takes to heart the changes she needs to make. As a result she's reaching the goals she set really quickly. I'll have mixed feelings when I finish working with her - pride that I've had a small part to play in her success and sadness that I probably won't work with her again for quite a while. She'll be flying solo and doing it very well. She's also referring people to me for business coaching, as she's so pleased with the quick results.
By contrast, I offered to help someone who was really struggling. I don't often take on pro-bono clients and I certainly won't do it again in a hurry after this experience. I've been working with this person on building their business on and off for over a year. She has been a bit of a nightmare with not wanting to work on assignments and keeping to appointments - which should have warned me. I've shared what I do in my business. In business coaching or any kind of coaching, the relationship is built on trust - which I believe works both ways.
This person has repaid me in the last few days by competing head to head with a workshop I'm running (coming in at a lower price and just a week before my published date). I still can't believe it, even some of the content description was obviously lifted from my web page. I cannot begin to describe how hurt I feel.
The reason I decided to share this experience is, firstly to show the contrast between how wonderful some clients can be, and secondly to call for some good business etiquette and manners! I have plenty of other competitors in my geographical area and we manage to avoid treading on each other's toes (most of the time!).
To finish the story, I emailed this ex-coaching client to express my hurt and disappointment and to terminate the coaching relationship. The reply I received was full of denial (different content, different location, about 20 miles away), it was obvious that she didn't accept that what she was doing was in direct competition. I chose not to reply.
This afternoon, I found a notice that this person is delivering a talk to a group of small business owners (that we both belong to). This talk has the same title and subject as one that I deliver and is being held just 5 miles down the road. If that isn't copy catting, I don't know what is.
Trust is a vital part of my business but sometimes it can leave you feeling a bit battered and bruised. Still, as Scarlett said : "I can't think about it now. I'll go crazy if I do. I'll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!"