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Morgana’s Life Coaching Tip: Overcoming Resistance

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Here’s a question I came across from another life coach:

“Can anyone recommend some really good ideas, techniques, resources for helping clients identify the core of their resistance and helping them move beyond it?”

Here’s my response:

The source of your life coaching client’s resistance is your failure to establish rapport. You are pushing too fast or not fully respecting and validating your client’s experience. YOU are resisting THEM.

One of the core precepts of neuro linguistic programming–one of the more interventionist forms of life coaching–is that resistance is a signal that the coach has lost rapport with the client.

Back up to the last time you were in sync and FOLLOW the client until you re-establish rapport.

This is called pacing and leading. Pacing is simply mirroring and validating your client’s experience without pushing them anywhere else. When a client feels safe, seen, heard, and understood, resistance disappears.

At this point the coach can become a leader, as long as the coach stays in rapport with the client. When you feel the least bit of resistance, stop pushing, and back up to the last moment you were in rapport. Follow the client’s POV and energy until you’re back in harmony. It’s a progression. Resistance, in this regard, is the responsibility of the coach to re-establish rapport.

And make sure you’re not pushing your client somewhere that isn’t right for them. Maybe your client should be resisting.

In the end if you really, really can’t establish rapport (it happens), then this isn’t the right client for you. There’s no shame in that. Some clients aren’t–and never will be–energetic fits.


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