15 Business Coaches Share The No. 1 Issue They Counsel Clients About

15 Business Coaches Share The No. 1 Issue They Counsel Clients About

While many of the challenges business leaders face revolve around the stress of running a company, other problems they need to tackle may be of a more personal nature. Whether leaders need guidance on building a stronger workplace culture, speaking with greater confidence or finding a better balance between their professional and private lives, they often turn to mentors or coaches for help.

Business, career, leadership and other types of coaches work through many of these challenges with their clients. The most common concerns among a coach’s client base will vary according to the main focus areas of the coach’s practice and the industry they serve. Below, 15 Forbes Coaches Council members share issues their clients commonly seek help for and explore reasons why these same issues impact so many leaders.

1. Creating Deeper Team Connections

I often counsel clients who have a need for a deeper connection with their team and themselves. As an executive speaker coach, I see clients who want to share their stories, but they are afraid of not being accepted or that they will appear “weak” if they are vulnerable in any way. However, as I have seen throughout my career, vulnerability elicits vulnerability. Doors open to building true connections and a stronger sense of work culture safety. – Meagan O’Nan, People Are Good Consulting, LLC

2. Recognizing The Real Problem

I get asked this often: “Why don’t my people deliver?” This mindset often takes hold when leaders assume that people are problems that need to be fixed. My coaching approach focuses on helping leaders shift their mindsets from people being the problem to one that seeks to understand what prevented others from being successful. Removing people won’t solve the problem; removing obstacles will. – Dr. Monika Sumra, BUNKA Inc.

3. Empowering Employees To Adapt

My clients are primarily employers seeking to empower their members to thrive through change. With the rise of remote and hybrid work, integration of our professional and personal lives and challenges with burnout and retention, businesses are keen to engage their members in authentic, meaningful ways that foster community and inspire mental strength and well-being. – Parul Somani, Silver Linings

4. Setting Norms Of Behavior

People problems are solved when a CEO decides to create a self-directed leadership council. I recommend leaders help this council set norms of behavior and post them to the whole company. After a few months of monitoring, turn people problems over to this council of peers. No more complaints knocking at your door! Now, you have a self-directed organization. – Dr. Jayne Gardner, The Gardner Institute


Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?


5. Speaking With Confidence

Speaking with confidence is a skill that can elevate all areas of our lives. I work with entrepreneurs and professionals who have a wealth of knowledge and experience, yet sometimes get held back by insecurities and a lack of communication tools. Connecting with your purpose, reminding yourself about your accomplishments and getting empowered with great speaking techniques makes you truly shine! – Sonia Maslovskaya, SoniaMPower

6. Getting ‘Unstuck’

Coaching clients are often trying to improve their performance in some area of their life, whether it be work, relationships or personal growth. They may feel “stuck” in their current situation and need help figuring out how to move forward. As a coach, help clients identify their goals and create a plan to achieve them. Lead and push them. – Giorgio Genaus, Genius Institute

7. Crafting A Personal Brand Story

My clients struggle with their personal brand stories. Many of them do not have a horrible life event they overcame—such as having to live in their car at one point—and so they feel irrelevant to their audience. They don’t feel special and don’t feel seen. The key here is that everyone has a story regardless of what it is, and there are elements of every story that will resonate with people in your audience. – Lauren Najar, Lauren Najar Coaching LLC

8. Thriving Despite Loud Inner Critics

As a coach for highly ambitious women and emerging leaders, the number one issue for women is thriving despite their loud inner critics. Many of us have inner critics, and they’re especially loud for women. For emerging leaders, it’s the art of managing up and demonstrating authentic presence and leadership that magnifies their strengths. These are the two most pressing issues that I see in my clients. – Sohee Jun, S.J. Consulting, LLC

9. Highlighting Skills Employers Look For

As a career specialist, I often counsel job seekers on the importance of highlighting the skills, experiences and values employers are looking for—which isn’t always what they hope to highlight in their professional documents. Researching a company’s website and the job description can aid in pinpointing what a prospective employer may want, as can consulting with a professional résumé writer. – Alana Henry, The Writique, LLC

10. Upskilling And Staying Relevant

The No. 1 issue faced by clients globally is what to upskill in/how to continue to improve their market value and stay relevant. Most clients are not fully aware of the faster pace of change of new business models, more competitors driving new leadership skill sets required to secure promotions/external roles, and the critical need to increase digital visibility so that they can be found. – Richard Chiumento, The Rialto Consultancy

11. Understanding The Stories Behind Data

An important issue for any business is to understand and take responsibility for the story behind the numbers. Numbers drive us, but they are just an indication of the story that creates them. When we engage with the stories, we’re going to find the best way to change the numbers they are producing. Because I deal with companies in the area of culture and business modeling, this is key. – Kathi Laughman, The Mackenzie Circle LLC

12. Managing Business-Related FOMO

Due to a fear of missing out, most executive coaching clients find themselves saying “yes” to additional marketing, products, partnerships and so forth in pursuit of economic success. Creating time for clients to reflect on their purpose allows them to manage any anxieties around what they may be turning down. – Shamila Mhearban, Shamila M. Ltd

13. Combining Data With Intuition

I coach clients to combine data with their gut feeling. Most people use just one of these approaches. However, if they focus on data only, they miss what is beyond the data; if they rely too much on their gut feeling, they miss data—so their gut feeling about the current situation can also be mistaken. – Aina Alive, Bee Agile

14. Understanding People’s Strengths

People problems are the No. 1 issue for all of my clients. There’s often misalignment among strengths, motivation and what people are tasked to do. It’s common because businesses tend to come up with goals and results they want to achieve without first intentionally assessing the behavioral fit of those tasked to get results and then making those difficult, but necessary, personnel changes. – Wendy Fong, Chief Gigs

15. Connecting With Others

A leader’s currency is influence. They drive results and scale their impact by influencing others, whether it’s staff, peers or executives. Yet, influence is often overlooked as a critical skill for success, and many leaders do not prioritize activities that cultivate influence. I coach clients to spend more than half of their time in connection-nurturing activities such as listening to, developing and enabling others. – Jamie Lewis Smith, Pixel Leadership Group, LLC

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/09/23/15-business-coaches-share-the-no-1-issue-they-counsel-clients-about/