How far are you willing to go for a pay check? When you are starting your business, you may not want to fire your clients right and left. I would still set the boundaries, prevent yourself getting walked over. And rule of thumb, make sure you set yourself up for success! Always.
I personally do fire clients, usually when I realize I can not bring them from A to B. When I know I can not bring them, and they can not bring themselves to success! (Because for instance they fail to show up in your office, and lie to you.) It is not that I easily give up. I do some techniques to get rid of the problem, or I openly discuss with the client, or educate, or do different techniques, etc. And sometimes I need to work on myself instead of the client.
Sometimes it is over time that I may fire a client. Sometimes it is on the spot, usually this is the case in a value conflict. I am not going to coach someone doing something that goes against my values. Instead of finding a solution for it. And if I can not find congruence within myself, or build rapport, I know I can not be successful. My coaching would be superficial, and on a small portion of quality of work I know I can provide. I also fire clients whom see me instead of a medical doctor. Though I am willing to work in cooperation with a doctor, which means I will be in touch with this person.
I actually often have to work on secondary gain a client may have, before I do the actual work on the presenting problem the client wants me to work on. And provide them solutions for, guide them towards change.
The best way to prevent firing clients is:
1. Be careful hiring them. I always do an introduction meeting/phone call. You can tell a lot from that. Listen to your little voice. And be honest with yourself.
2. Educate the client.
3. Run business with passion, care AND common sense.
4. Set the right expectation with the client as to what you can do and are willing to do.
5. Set the right expectation as to what they need to be willing to do, to achieve their goals and their change.
Other questions you could ask yourself are?
1. What is non-negotiable for you as to what a client can do?
2. Have you tried everything in your power to help/change your client, or help/change yourself?
3. Are you really the best person to help the client? Is the client better off elsewhere, and how can you find an alternative NLP Practitioner, coach, or other professional.
4. Have you clearly communicated the rules, the process, or your boundaries to the client?
I also recommend learning and living the presuppositions of NLP, which are a great to use in coaching. Actually, they are a requirement to use in coaching. It will prevent you firing clients.