Linkedin Twitter  YouTube

My most successful clients

I really feel privileged to have partnered with thousands of people one-on-one in a business and executive coaching setting in the last 27 years. I have worked with people from so many backgrounds, seniority, and in different corners of the world. Still do and absolutely loving it!


What can I tell you about my most successful clients? First, there is a huge, huge (!) difference in what people take away from the programme. How they integrate what they learn into their life. How they automate new habits. How they apply new management tools.


We can offer the greatest insights. We can tell our clients what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. We can give our clients tough love. We can hand them a new toolbox so they can run a larger business. But if they are not ready and open to it, it is a waste of the investment and time.


However, when the person is ready, and there’s a partnership with the business coach, WOW, that’s when the magic happens! You just know it and you can feel it!


I’d like to share some of the similarities I see in my work with some of my most successful clients:


  1. They were all prepared to look deep into the mirror. Even, when it hurts! They don’t play games and don’t fool themselves, or me. They ask me for feedback. They take real ownership of their good and bad habits. They show the ability to self-reflect. They take the leap of faith. They deeply understand that what made them successful, may not be the same as what they need for the future. They know that change will help them to continue to be successful.
  2. They see their time with me and the programme they follow as a mutual responsibility. We’re in it together and it’s a bit like dancing a tango.
  3. They view it as a deep investment. Meaning that they continue for at least 18 months. If you want to create meaningful changes, you must give it some time to automate new behavior. There are many people looking for a quick fix. But at the end of the day, it’s bad for them and it’s bad for the industry. Its money burned away. Some of my best clients continue for a long time. I’m a trusted soundboard for them. A place where my only interest is to help them to continue to be successful. When you’re in a very senior position, everybody wants something from you. I’m working with some of my longest-term clients already for decades. Not every week, but we move through our professional lives together. And that’s one of the greatest privileges of my professional life. Their success is my success!
  4. My best clients are ambitious. And I show them the way forward. I nudge them in the right direction and…… off they go! My best clients move forward themselves. It’s the navigation and the direction with which I assist them. When we are in session, they do most of the heavy lifting.
  5. With my best clients we don’t have a negotiation about the financial side of the agreement. Really, never. They know the return and accept it as a part of the deal.


One of the lessons I’ve learned personally over the years, is to be much sharper about deciding whether a client is ready. Of course, I’ve made my share of mistakes. They were part of my learning.


Hope this inspires.

Paul Donkers

Paul P.J. Donkers is a sought-after global business coach and management consultant. More about his work and projects can be found via and via

Paul and his partners work since decades with leaders to assist them create more value. If you want to have a confidential conversation, just reach out to us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

Share this column: