Why is it so difficult to work with some clients?

GeorgianaMuntean
2 min readMay 10, 2023

You might be asking the wrong question

You have a difficult client and it has become a problem. You’re stressed, you don’t enjoy your work so much when you do it for them and you can’t keep up with their demands.

Even if you didn’t declare it yet as a problem, your body knows. As it feels drained and tired, the body does what it automatically does so it looks for a solution using our rational mind.

What our mind knows most of the times has been learned through memory and association. Associative learning is when the learner associates a stimulus with an outcome and memory is the one who archives the associations.

Memory’s favorite question is “why?”. In our mind, when we find out why something happened, we are able to manipulate and change the outcome.

This works perfectly in the material world. If we know why we have a certain pain, we know how to treat it.

But when it comes to interacting with our clients, memory and associations bring a lot of problems and “why” is the worst question to ask.

Why?

1. Because people’s minds are completely unpredictable! We can never know why our moods change with the speed of the sound.

2. It’s accusatory and judgmental. Notice the first thing that comes to your mind when I ask “Why did you do that?”

3. It is associated with fault. We are usually asked “why” when we make a mistake.

4. It is not relevant when our intention is to find a solution.

While “why?” can lead to confusion, frustration, offense, blame, resistance and a limited perspective, the question that opens possibilities is “what?”

The question “what” can bring:

1. Care : “What do you need?”

2. Clarification. For example: “What do you mean by…?” or “What exactly are you proposing?”

3. Brainstorm of ideas: “What do you see as potential solutions to the problem?”

If you notice the transition between these two questions, you will notice that “Why” happens only in our minds. It stimulates unnecessary mind activity without suggestions about concrete actions.

In reality, however, we must know “what” in order to solve a problem. We must be present in the reality to notice “what” happens and “what” is needed.

When we are anchored in reality instead of being carried away by our thinking, we see the solution right in front of us without feeling drained and tired.

The invitation for you is to now write down all the “Why” questions you have around your difficult client regardless if it’s about you or them.

Notice how it feels.

Now transform these “why” questions into “what” questions and see what happens.

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