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Why I Fired This Client

October 15, 2013

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It’s not something I enjoyed. In fact I felt terrible, as though I had failed.

I was asked to coach a director of the client company who was behaving inappropriately, albeit he wasn’t aware that his behaviour was inappropriate. That worked well and I was asked to help some other key people in the company who were deemed to have difficult attitudes or behaviour.

All that worked well and improvement in all people was noted.

What didn’t work was that I wasn’t getting paid in the timeframe we had agreed to. It first came to my attention when the HR manager told me that they were going to be a bit slower paying this current invoice. In fact I hadn’t been paid at all. Not that the amounts were huge – the biggest invoice was $2500.00

When the non payment blew out to three months I called the chair, who had hired me in the first place, and asked if there was a problem. He appeared shocked that I hadn’t been paid and said he’d get straight onto it.

At the time I was coaching a member of one of their regional offices who complained that he was being heckled by suppliers for not getting paid. He then told me that he knew that the chair and the CFO would meet each week to decide who to pay. The reason for this cash flow dilemma was the high rate of their growth.

I waited another month and then still not having been paid I rang the CEO and said I shan’t be doing any more work until I was paid what was owing. He apologised and said he’d rectify the matter immediately.

A fortnight later, I had still not been paid so I emailed the CEO saying I couldn’t work for the company again and to pay up immediately. He emailed me back saying they had just been preparing my payment and he was sorry our relationship had to end this way.

That sort of breach of trust and respect hurts everyone. Instead of me feeling I was in the right for taking the action that I did, I was spending time reflecting on what I could have done differently.

Ultimately I decided that the values being lived by that client just didn’t match mine and I was better off working with clients who have values that do match mine.

What’s been your experience?

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