There are times when ending your coaching relationship is the best solution for both you and the coachee. Of course as a coach once you have helped your coachee to reach the goals they had identified at the outset of the coaching process your current working relationship will reach its natural conclusion but there may also be times when you have to take responsibility for ending the relationship sooner than expected. (see reasons for ending a coaching relationship).
Whatever the reason it is important that you end the relationship in the most positive way so that your client still feels good and your own reputation remains intact. After all they may recognize that although you cannot help them at this point in time you may be able to help them in the future or others they know.
Just because the coaching relationship needs to come to a close it doesn’t mean than you have to end with ill-feeling. Remember your reputation is at stake and you need to give your coachee every reason to think and speak positively about you.
Unless distance is prohibitive and telephone coaching has been the accepted norm, it is ideal to end coaching relationships during a face to face conversation when there is less opportunity to any misunderstandings. Avoid at all costs ending a coaching relationship by email!
Apart from perhaps in the case where legally you have to end the relationship because a crime has been divulged which you have to report, it is better if you get ownership from your coachee for ending your coaching relationship. Establish from your coachee what their perception of the situation is - how do they feel the relationship is going, what is working, what isn’t working.
If their perception is different from yours state your perspective. Remember integrity, honesty and openness are all qualities of a good coach. Remember the rules of good feedback stating how you feel rather being judgemental.
The key is to get commitment from them and if the relationship between you has deteriorated they are likely to say they would like to end it.
If they are struggling to see an alternative way forward you may want to offer your suggestions as to who else may be able to help.
Where possible end on a positive note summarizing what they have gained from their relationship and wish them luck. If appropriate offer your help in the future or offer to contact them in say 6 months.
Pre Coaching Conversation
Pre Coaching Questionnaire
First Coaching Session
Intake Session Checklist
Coaching Programme Design
Reasons To End Your Coaching Relationship
Post Coaching Relationship
Professional Coaching Practice