How best to handle a client who always cancels because she or her children are sick?
I am currently working with a client who has a number of health issues and who seems to recognize the importance of an exercise and fitness program, based on my health coaching assessment with her. However, she constantly cancels our appointments at the last minute, stating that either she or one of her kids is sick. She also refuses to complete any worksheets (like a weight loss readiness questionnaire) or maintain a food journal, saying that she "doesn't have time" and she is usually unreceptive to my phone calls and emails. I don't want to throw in the towel and I don't want to think that she is just making excuses... but I have a feeling that she is just making excuses! How would you handle this?
She's not ready
I hope you are charging her for "last minute" cancelations?
Sounds like she is not ready to change. You've made a good effort to motivate her, but it won't happen if she is not ready. You can always be straight up with her. Let her know what your expectations are of her for you two to work as a team.
Charging her for those sessions should put a stop to the last minute cancellations.
I would charge for the last minute cancelations since they seem to be so often. Maybe you could explain that completing the worksheets would give you both a better picture of a starting point.
If need be, I would find a way to explain that she may be better off working with someone else at this time.
Not all business is good business.
Good luck to you both.
NAPS 2 B Fit
Oh yes, been there! I work with a ton of moms and they often have their children at our sessions.
Here is what I have learned:
1. I give them the benefit of the doubt. And will usually give them a credit the first time of a cancellation for the FIRST last minute cancellation due to illness. I let them know that in a written notice, with a reminder of the cancellation policy and that next time I would have to charge them for the late cancellation. This way both them and I have written documentation of reminder.
2. I also let them know in the email that they can do ABC to continue toward their goal till we meet for our next session.
3. At the next session, I ask how everyone is and if they were able to do any of the "homework" they were given.
4. If they cancel again, I charge them for the session. I always hope that this brings more attention to their health and their committment to it, but it doesn't.
5. At our next session, I discuss with them my concerns to their commitment to reaching their goals. We revisit their goals, why they want to reach them, if their current behavior is helping or hindering them in reaching their goals, etc. I've seen this work for the favor of the client where they recommit to and we work together to reach their goals or where they see that they're just not ready to make the changes necessary to reach their goals at this time. Either way, progress is made.
Sorry that you're going through this, but its a great learning experience for how you'll handle similar experiences going forward.