Helping Clients Overcome Resistance – A 2024 Guide
By Angela Cox, last updated July 3, 2024

In the world of modern-day coaching, one of the most common challenges faced by both coaches and clients is resistance. Resistance can manifest in various forms, from procrastination and denial to outright refusal to engage in the coaching process. It is a natural, although frustrating, part of personal development and transformation. Recognizing and addressing resistance is crucial because it can significantly impede progress and prevent clients from achieving their goals.

Overcoming resistance is essential for the success of any coaching engagement. When clients are resistant, they are less likely to embrace new perspectives, take necessary actions, or make meaningful changes. By effectively managing and reducing resistance, coaches can help clients move forward more smoothly, leading to more significant breakthroughs and lasting transformations.

This is where the Paseda360 coaching method becomes incredibly vital. Developed by world-leading coach Angela Cox and leadership expert Martin Cox, Paseda360 is a revolutionary coaching method designed to cover the entire coaching spectrum, addressing every facet of the client’s journey. One of the standout features of Paseda360 is its comprehensive approach to overcoming resistance. Through innovative techniques and a deep understanding of the psychological underpinnings of resistance, Paseda360 helps clients unlock their potential and achieve remarkable results. Let’s discuss in detail.

Recognising and Addressing Resistance in Coaching

Resistance in coaching can often surface as a client’s reluctance or opposition to change, to explore certain topics, or to fully engage in the coaching process. It’s crucial for coaches to recognise these signs to effectively address and navigate them. Resistance can be subtle or overt, but being attuned to its manifestations is key to facilitating client growth.

Common Signs of Resistance

  1. Defensiveness: Clients may become defensive when their beliefs or behaviours are challenged. This defensiveness often manifests as a lack of openness and receptiveness, hindering the coaching process.
  2. Procrastination: Delays in taking action or making decisions are common signs. Procrastination can stall progress and keep clients stuck in their current situations.
  3. Denial or Avoidance: Avoiding certain topics or denying the impact of specific behaviours can indicate resistance to self-awareness and growth. Clients may steer conversations away from uncomfortable but necessary discussions.
  4. Repetition of Patterns: When clients repeatedly engage in behaviours that conflict with their goals, it suggests a resistance to change. This can be a significant barrier to progress.
  5. Lack of Commitment: Inconsistent engagement or reluctance to implement agreed-upon actions can signal a lack of commitment to the coaching process.

By identifying these signs, coaches can tailor their approaches to address the underlying causes effectively, based on their respective coaching styles.

Common Causes of Resistance

Understanding why resistance occurs can help coaches develop strategies to overcome it. Some common causes include:

  1. Fear: Fear of the unknown, failure, or the consequences of change can lead clients to resist stepping out of their comfort zones.
  2. Lack of Trust: Without a sense of trust and safety, clients may resist fully engaging in the coaching process.
  3. Self-Doubt and Limiting Beliefs: Deep-seated beliefs about their capabilities can create resistance to growth and change.
  4. Unresolved Emotions or Past Experiences: Unresolved emotions or past experiences related to coaching topics can hinder progress. These issues require careful exploration and support.
  5. External Influences: Societal norms, family expectations, or peer pressure can influence clients to resist certain changes or topics.

By understanding these causes, coaches can employ targeted strategies to help clients overcome their unique challenges and achieve breakthroughs in 2024.

Building Trust with Coaching Clients

Building trust is fundamental to a successful coaching relationship. Trust creates a safe and supportive environment where clients feel comfortable exploring their thoughts, emotions, and goals. Two essential aspects of building trust are establishing rapport and creating a safe, non-judgmental space.

Establishing Rapport

Rapport is the foundation of any coaching relationship. It involves creating a connection and mutual understanding. To build rapport with clients, consider these strategies:

  • Active Listening: Show genuine interest in your client’s thoughts and feelings. Give them your full attention, maintain eye contact, and use verbal and non-verbal cues to demonstrate engagement.
  • Empathy: Understand and empathise with your client’s experiences. Validate their emotions and perspectives, and strive to see things from their point of view. This empathy fosters a sense of trust and rapport.
  • Building Connection: Find common ground or shared interests to establish a connection. Explore their interests, background, or personal experiences. Authenticity in these interactions is crucial for building a genuine connection.

By focusing on these elements, coaches can create a trusting, open, and productive coaching environment that addresses resistance effectively and facilitates client growth.

Other Methods and Theories to Overcome Resistance

In coaching, addressing resistance effectively requires a nuanced approach, leveraging various methods and theories. Here are some of the most effective techniques.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well-established method that focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns. In the context of coaching, CBT helps clients recognise the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their resistance. By questioning these thoughts and replacing them with more positive and constructive ones, clients can overcome the mental barriers that hinder their progress. For instance, a client who believes they are incapable of success might be guided to explore evidence contradicting this belief and develop a more empowering mindset.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a client-centred approach designed to enhance clients’ motivation to change by resolving ambivalence. It involves engaging clients in a collaborative conversation where they explore their motivations and the reasons behind their resistance. Coaches using MI techniques listen empathetically, affirm clients’ autonomy, and help them articulate their values and goals. This process often leads to increased motivation and commitment to change, as clients begin to see the benefits of moving forward and the costs of staying stuck.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) shifts the focus from problems to solutions. Instead of delving deeply into the issues causing resistance, SFBT encourages clients to envision their desired future and identify the steps needed to get there. Coaches ask questions like “What would be different if the problem were solved?” and “What small steps can you take right now?” This method empowers clients to take actionable steps towards their goals, reinforcing a sense of progress and reducing resistance by focusing on achievable outcomes.

Mindfulness and Acceptance

Mindfulness and acceptance techniques are powerful tools for increasing self-awareness and reducing resistance. By encouraging clients to practice mindfulness, coaches help them become more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judgment. This heightened awareness can reveal patterns of resistance and underlying issues. Acceptance involves helping clients acknowledge and accept their feelings and experiences rather than fighting against them. This approach can reduce the intensity of resistance and open the door to deeper self-exploration and change.

Each of these methods offers unique strategies for overcoming resistance, and they can be integrated into a comprehensive coaching approach like Paseda360. By using these techniques, coaches can effectively address the root causes of resistance, facilitate breakthroughs, and support clients in achieving their goals.

Paseda360 Limitless Light Therapy

Paseda360 Limitless Light Therapy is a groundbreaking coaching method designed to stabilise trauma responses and provide a positive belief system. This unique modality, developed as part of the Paseda360 coaching spectrum, combines the most effective coaching practices with ACCPH-accredited neuro-scientific methods and Havening Techniques. By integrating these elements, Limitless Light Therapy offers a powerful approach to identifying and reprogramming limiting beliefs, neutralising trauma, regulating the stress response and solving resistance issues. This allows clients & coaches to bond and achieve significant progress in a remarkably short period.

How Limitless Light Therapy Helps Uncover Root Memories

One of the key aspects of Limitless Light Therapy is its ability to help clients uncover root memories that contribute to deep-seated resistance. During a session, clients are guided to relax and close their eyes, facilitating a state of calm and openness. In this state, clients can explore and discover root memories where unhelpful beliefs or perspectives were initially formed. By identifying these root memories, clients can understand the origin of their self-limiting beliefs and resistance.

This process involves reprogramming these memories to change future behaviours. By addressing the initial formation of these beliefs, clients can release the limitations that have been holding them back. This neuro-scientific approach ensures that the changes are deeply ingrained, leading to lasting transformation and growth. This is one significant part of the comprehensive Paseda360 method, which covers the entire coaching spectrum. This holistic approach ensures that all aspects of a client’s journey are addressed, leading to more thorough and lasting results.

The Transition Curve

Understanding the transition curve is crucial in managing how individuals adapt to change, whether in personal life or within an organisation. The transition curve illustrates the emotional and behavioural stages people go through when faced with significant changes. Two prominent models that depict this process are Virginia Satir’s Change Model and Adams, Hayes, and Hopson’s Transition Model.

  Anticipate and Manage Resistance

Understanding the transition curve allows coaches to anticipate and manage resistance effectively. By recognising the emotional and behavioural stages that clients go through, coaches can tailor their strategies to support clients at each stage. For example, during the Resistance stage, a client may need reassurance and clear information about the benefits of change. In the Chaos stage, providing structure and stability can help clients navigate confusion and maintain productivity.

Practical Strategies for Supporting Clients

Late Status Quo

Prepare clients for upcoming changes by setting clear expectations and explaining the benefits of the transition.


Address fears and concerns by actively listening, providing reassurance, and offering evidence of past successes.


Maintain open communication, provide consistent support, and help clients prioritise tasks to manage the sense of overwhelm.


Encourage clients to experiment with new behaviours and provide feedback and support as they integrate changes into their routines.

New Status Quo

Celebrate successes, reinforce new habits, and help clients reflect on their growth to solidify the new status quo.

By understanding and applying the transition curve, coaches can provide targeted support that helps clients navigate change more effectively, ultimately reducing resistance and fostering growth.

Final Words

So, in summary, overcoming resistance in coaching is essential for facilitating meaningful personal and professional growth. Resistance manifested as reluctance or opposition to change, can significantly harm long-term progress if not addressed effectively. By recognising signs of resistance and understanding its underlying causes—such as fear, self-doubt, or past experiences—coaches can tailor their approach to support clients through each stage of their journey.

Paseda360 stands out as a comprehensive coaching method that integrates various effective practices, including Limitless Light Therapy. This innovative approach not only identifies and reprograms limiting beliefs but also neutralises trauma and regulates stress responses, enabling clients to achieve rapid and profound breakthroughs. By embracing such holistic approaches, coaches can enhance their ability to guide clients towards sustainable change and success in 2024 & beyond.

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