What to do if a client is 'copying' your work

So what do you do if your long time client starts to sound like you?

Or if your client is sharing your teachings publicly without acknowledging you or giving you credit?

First, you might feel shame about the fact that you care that a client seems to be copying your voice or using your information without crediting you. You may think that you’re over reacting and that you should just be more chill and happy that they are using the material you’ve taught them to do better in the world - recognition or not.

It’s not uncommon to go through this problem as a coach. Usually, if you’re good at your job, your clients will feel transformational benefits from their session with you.

Perhaps, you’ve discussed a psychological concept that they adored and then go on to make a social media post about their epiphanies without crediting you and it feels like you don’t exist in their world - this can feel like your devotion to helping them is completely dismissed.

Maybe you have shared with them valuable insights and information about our health and how to heal from chronic illness, but they are crediting bigger figures to gain popularity online instead of thanking you for your words of encouragement and education provided.

Perhaps the client is using your voice to talk to their audience and it doesn’t feel authentic so no one is signing up for THEIR programs. So they aren’t getting the results they want anyway.

No matter if you feel like you have a right to be upset that a client is copying your work or not, the truth is just because someone pays you for a session does not mean that the information you share with them is now theirs. They are paying you to share information, not to own that information.

In fact, it’s highly likely that a lot of the information you are handing out in sessions isn’t completely yours either.

So, if you don’t already, make sure to source your teachers. And then, as students, let’s continue that.

Highlight protocols you expect to follow prior to...

I let my clients know BEFORE we start our work together that they are welcomed to share that our work together is impacting their lives, in which ever way it is, publicly. However, I do ask that they credit the body of work we are working within (usually nervous system health, Peter Levine’s teachings) or share that their epiphanies came from our work in a session instead of crediting the whole transformation to themselves as though I didn’t facilitate.

This is yes, so that as a coach, my work can be seen and validated. But also, this is because, as a student myself, I don’t pretend I get to places without my support team. I don’t think that is right.

Beyond a coach-client relationship, I don’t think it’s right to do this societally either, because we should be giving acknowledgement to those who help us, instead of keeping them invisible.

If someone makes a new discovery, let’s celebrate it and further its message, not copy it and try to blast it as our own.

What if you didn’t set up structure around recycling information properly with your clients and you’re already IN the problem?

I look at it from the perspective of it’s vulnerable to admit that you get help. Some people don’t want to admit they have a coach or a therapist. For reasons such as looking weak or like they don’t have it all figured out.

I often find that clients don’t want their business to go to their own coaches if they too, are in the wellness industry.

Here’s what I do..

If I feel like a client is using my voice (my mannerism or my ideas without putting her own experience in the mix), I help her feel comfortable using her life and her ideas that come from her experiences to create connection in her writing. Instead of using my mine because that won’t ever work anyway! And yes, I fully bring it up and directly speak to the fact I’ve noticed her posts are sounding a lot like how I’d express myself, we explore that, and then we help her gain full excitement about using her own voice.

As for the business going to your own coach vs. you; I believe we have soul contracts with our clients as coaches. Although I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, I do believe in some magical happenings that I can’t quite explain, and this is one of them.

I fundamentally believe as a successful entrepreneur that the people who are meant to work with you will ALWAYS find you if you’re available. Even if you’re coach is the best (for example, mine is - Jane Clapp, look her up!), if someone is meant to work with you, they will. That is if you are fully in integrity and interested in doing your soul’s work.

Sure, all my clients could go to Jane instead of me. She is my mentor at the moment after all. Where I learn my information.

But Jane and I are different people with different backgrounds filled with different experiences. I have things she can’t offer because of that. And vice versa.

Plus, not to stop making this about you, but there are a lot of people who need help and if you think you can handle all of them, take a breath and release that crazy idea. We need each other.

It’s not shocking that we need more than one people doing good work because we all have our own needs too and we can’t be working and serving people all the time!

Point being: we need to work through our collective and individual trauma that says there is not enough for me, thus I cannot celebrate/ credit/ admit that others have helped me get here.

It’s a problem in over idolizing independence, and forgetting about how strong we are in community biologically.

It’s disconnected experiences such as being lied to, used, betrayed, abandoned, rejected, bullied and humiliated that make us not celebrate each other freely because we’ve lost trust in ourselves (about who to trust) and in others, which makes us want to keep the resources we have to ourselves so that we don’t run out.

After you process some of that with a trained professional, spend your time doing productive helpful things for people and see the results that follow that.

Hope this helps navigate this sticky issue.

WorkEmily Aube