Join our FREE practice success portal and accelerate your practice growth

Audere Coaching & Consulting logo
Search
Close this search box.

I received an awesome question this week. It’s one that I’ve got personal experience with, and one that I know a number of people will have too.

Should we take on friends as clients? If so, what are the things to do differently?

Personal confession time. I have lost friendships as a result of this. It’s not because of anything in terms of our professional relationship. The friend in particular I’m thinking of got value from our work together and there was nothing but positive business outcomes.

The problem was what working together professionally did to our friendship.

To cut the chase and not share the whole depressing story in its full glory, over time we went from being mates who sometimes talked business, to most of our interactions being about business.

I’ll take part blame; I should have done something about it sooner, but at the end of the day friendships are about reciprocity. When it becomes one-way traffic, then it becomes about one individuals personal benefit. Under those circumstances, friendship will usually wither and die.

It’s easy to become friends with people you work with. Working with people who are friends can often be a good way to lose friends.

Unless you take certain steps.

When this question came through, I didn’t just rely on my experiences. I spoke to a few people who have had experience with this and found it’s not an uncommon thing.

Still, there are some steps you can take to make sure that the friend who needs your professional advice, remains a friend as well as becoming a client.

Here are 7 key things to think about.

1. Spend additional time making sure you’ve understood the scope. It’s vital that despite being friends you don’t make any assumptions. Make sure your file notes use their words as much as possible. That reduces the risk of a later “I-said-you-said” situation.

2. Spend additional time ensuring you set expectations. Make sure your friend is under no misconceptions about the fact that there will be ups and downs, and understands what you can and can’t do.

3. Get clear on why they need your help now. If the request for help is coming off the back of a bad experience with another professional, make sure you understand clearly what they didn’t get from the last person. You want to be 100% sure it’s not an expectation problem at their end.

4. Make sure they understand that you will be getting insight into parts of their financial affairs that you wouldn’t otherwise discuss as friends, but that your discussions about that end at your door.

5. Keep professional discussions in a professional context. A big danger here is your role as their adviser spills over into your social engagements. You don’t want to find yourself delivering a review when you’re supposed to be having dinner as friends. It’s key you keep the separation

6. Don’t discount. You will look after your friends as you would your top clients, but you don’t want to feel like you’re both looking after that person and being underpaid. That can bring resentment and you don’t want that.

7. Say no if you need to. If you don’t feel it’s right, there’s nothing wrong with instead helping your friend to find someone you feel can help better. This is what friends do, and it’s the higher responsibility..

There’s nothing wrong with working with friends in a professional capacity if you know you can help them.

However, in my experience, you both need to be clear that there must be a separation or the friendship can suffer.

Did I miss anything? If you’ve had experiences with this, good or bad, would love to know what additional advice you’d give.

Keen for more tools, templates & insights?

Join our free best practice portal

Working with a coach shouldn’t be a guessing game.

That’s why we want to invite you to sample for yourself the unique body of training, tools, templates and resources we created specifically to help practices grow, expand and evolve.

Check out what you'll get access to
A man in a collared shirt is seen with words "Tools & Templates," "Special Access," "Training," and "Masterclass" surrounding him against a blue background.
Free portal

Access a free comprehensive portal with tools and guides designed to increase revenue by 20% and more.

Ready to talk 1-to-1? Let's chat.

Related articles

Master The Initial Meeting And Sell Advice Better

Read more »

Enhancing Your New Client Engagement Process

Read more »

How to Drastically Improve Your New Client Meeting Outcomes

Read more »

How New Clients Could Be Holding Back Your Business

Read more »

How to get a new client “Yes!” on the day

Read more »

Engaging new clients like a doctor

Read more »

Why prepping before new client meetings may be holding you back

Read more »

Closing Slow

Read more »

Why Wait?

Read more »

Before we meet…

Read more »

How to trim your first appointment

Read more »

Put your Deck Away

Read more »

And then Matt asked me what the “throw” was…

Read more »

Nailing Goal Conversations

Read more »

How pre-meeting questionnaires may be costing you clients

Read more »

Contact us

Let’s talk about how we can potentially help you and your practice to grow and evolve. We believe great advice is becoming more valuable than ever.

Be First To Know

Register your interest to become a participating practice owner or, as a BDM or PDM become an accountability coach

Register for free

There are a lot of insights waiting in since our goal is to provide value first.

Join List

Join our list and get the latest best practice insights in your inbox every fortnight