I had a couple come in together to talk to me about lecturing them. I was wondering how does a trainer motivate their clients to complete challenges on their own without feeling like their trainer is lecturing them? I felt awful that they had a terrible week because they wanted to be defiant and do exactly the opposite of what I was saying. They felt I was just telling them that they were wrong and they had to do things my way. That wasn’t my intention to make them feel bad for being themselves. I felt, on the other hand, that I was giving them ideas for how to plan out their week. Am I doing something wrong?
as you have experienced: what you say and what another person hears are not necessarily the same. I read your comment to Susan’s response where you state that you got a long just fine until you tried a different approach which blew up.
Ultimately, the question is not whether you said anything wrong but how it was perceived. I am sure it happened to all of us, whether in our professional or personal lives, that somebody takes great offense to something we said and which takes us completely by surprise because it was not at all what we meant.
Fortunately, they came to you and vented which gives you an opportunity to sit down and explain. It would have been much worse if they had quit coming and vent to other people.
You are asking how to motivate clients. Differently for every single one of them, and it sometimes takes a while to find out what motivates a person and what is the right way for this individual. Dealing with a couple can often be more challenging, particularly when you train them together because they may, individually, have different styles and may be motivate by different approaches.
Your situation was not one of right and wrong but of a mismatch between sending and receiving.
Ultimately, it’s still up to you who to handle this. I would sit down with them and explain my intentions. I would then ask them how you should have phrased it so that you will not have another misunderstanding in the future. I am sure that they will have an answer for you.
Hope this helps.