My client embarrassed my colleague in front of a full class
Can I Ask You A Question?
"Something incredibly awkward happened the other day and after thinking about it for a few days, I still don't know how I should have handled it.
I have a regular private client who has a very good heart and means well, but is socially awkward. I've been working with her for a few years and I see the good in her and how she tries, but is just slightly off in her instinct in what's appropriate conversation, jokes or even clothing. I know nothing she says is meant to offend and have learned how to stay in a energetic rhythm with her.
Till last week.
At the end of our session, my client, in an awkward attempt to be "helpful", walked across the room to a new teacher, interrupted her 8 person reformer class to tell the teacher that her perfume was too strong and could be offensive to clients who are instructed to breathe deeply.
Everyone was stunned. I was already at the front desk and but was so caught off guard I couldn't even think of anything to say. The teacher was frozen speechless and the clients in the class were so uncomfortable. My client smiled and waved to everyone as she left completely clueless to incredibly inappropriate situation she had just created. The teacher wasn't even wearing perfume. She had just showered after teaching a spin class and the scent was her body wash. What should I have said or done? What do I do now?" ~ Stunned Speechless
Dear Stunned Speechless,
I'm cringing as I read this to be honest. There are so many levels of awkward going on it's almost difficult to keep track of. But you have to address this with your client for your sake, your studio's sake and your colleague's sake.
As you mention, she's a socially awkward person and boldness doesn't seem to bother her so I suggest you set aside any "confrontation" fears that you might have. If she hasn't come back into the studio yet, I would make a phone call and let her know that any suggestions, ideas or constructive criticism she has for the studio should be given to you or a manager directly and in private. While you know her heart was in the right place when she approached your colleague, the timing, the public-ness and the fact that she's a new teacher all contributed to it being and embarrassing and unprofessional situation. If you feel like you want to go one step further in defending your colleague, you can also bring up that she had just showered after teaching spin and that showing up clean and fresh to the studio was important to her.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!