13 June 2023

How to Handle Unmotivated Clients (or Clients Who Ghost) as an Online Coach

If you’re a coach struggling to handle clients who aren’t showing up and doing the work, you’re in the right place.


First things first: Please know that you are NOT alone. Every coach has been, or will be, where you are – it’s just part of what happens when you’re dealing with humans.


I know this from experience. I’ve been a full-time online coach for more than 8 years (formerly a fitness coach, now a business coach), and I’ve definitely had my fair share of unmotivated clients… and clients who’ve ghosted me altogether.


Today, I’m sharing my top strategies and tips for approaching clients who have fallen off the wagon or completely checked out. You’ll get my best advice for reconnecting with your clients in a kind, nonjudgmental way and supporting them by meeting them where they are – not where you want them to be.


Don’t Take Your Clients’ Low Motivation Personally


It’s easy to blame yourself or the quality of your program when some clients aren’t showing up as you’d hoped they would, but the vast majority of the time, your clients’ behavior has NOTHING to do with you – and it’s not your fault.


There are MANY reasons your clients may be struggling to stay on track, including:


👉🏼 Time of year – summertime is often busy and filled with vacations, while the holiday season is usually packed with family celebrations. Some clients may simply not have the time, energy or desire to check in with you.


👉🏼 Personal issues – your unmotivated clients may be going through a rough patch in their personal lives that you know absolutely nothing about. Completing their workouts and sticking to their diet may not even be on their radar.


👉🏼 Shame, guilt or embarrassment – some clients have a hard time showing up again after they’ve gone rogue. They may think they’ve messed up too much and it’s too late for them, so they might as well just quit.


Obviously, there ARE ways you can structure your programs and client communication to help with these issues – but ultimately, you cannot force anyone to do anything.


What to Do When you Notice a Client is Struggling


While you cannot take your clients’ lack of motivation personally, you CAN reach out and try to get them to re-engage or recommit to the program.


Remember: Your clients came to you looking for help – many of them WILL struggle at times. As a result, it’s a great idea to have a plan for when clients seem to be falling off the wagon.


Here’s what I recommend:


1️⃣ A couple of days after a missed check-in, send your client a message letting them know you’d love to hear from them and reconnect. If they don’t respond, wait a couple of days and try again. Make it clear you aren’t upset with or disappointed in them – you just want to help.


2️⃣ If your unmotivated client DOES re-engage with you, have a compassionate conversation about what’s going on so you can provide the appropriate support – what are their specific struggles? What are their barriers to success? What feels most challenging or overwhelming for them?


3️⃣ Consider scheduling a call with your client. Their goals or ambitions may have changed, or they may feel overwhelmed and unable to move forward. This is the perfect time to lower the bar and help your client get a win or two under their belt so they can feel confident and capable again.


How to Respond When a Client Refuses to Engage


No matter how hard you try, some clients will choose to ghost – that’s OK.


Some coaches will release ghosting clients from their programs after a certain amount of time of unresponsiveness, but others prefer to keep reaching out until the contract ends. Either way, it’s essential that you stay grounded and avoid creating stories about being a bad or unqualified coach – that’s not helpful, and it won’t get you anywhere worth going.


Keep in mind that the point of a coaching container is NOT to force anyone into compliance; it’s to hold space, provide education and resources, and help those who want to be helped.


In other words: Don’t take ownership of what was never yours to carry in the first place, coach.


Want More?


I’m sharing more on this topic on the⚡️The Best Coach Ever Podcast!⚡️ Listen to Episode 82: How to Deal With Unmotivated Clients (or Clients Who Ghost) wherever you get your podcasts, and don’t forget to leave a quick review – I’d love to hear from you! 💜

For more tips, strategies and tactics to grow your online coaching business, follow me on Instagram @lynettemarieh and join my private FB group, Coaching With Impact!

Hey, I’m Lynette!


I’m a fitness coach turned 7-figure CEO and business coach.

With 8+ years of experience in sales, marketing, program development, and content creation, I help women take their businesses from shaky start-ups to thriving empires. Why? Because I know it can be done!

Once upon a time, I was trying everything I could to get people’s attention and sell my offers. (Well, everything short of standing naked in the town square!)

Now I’m running the 7-figure business of my dreams.

Your Step-by-Step Plan for a Six-Figure 2024 as an Online Health & Fitness Coach

How to Overcome Price Objections with Leads as an Online Coach