Here’s our 5 Steps of an Effective Coaching Session that we teach in our relationship coach trainings:
Step 1: Opening the Session
- Center yourself in your coaching space/presence
- Access your intuition
- Connect with your client
- Ask for their agenda (e.g. “Where would you like to start today?”)
- Consider a centering process (can be setting an intention, a visualization, or as simple as taking 3 deep breaths together)
Step 2: Checking In
- Inquire about events and progress since previous session (review assignments, progress, etc.)
- Ask clarifying questions
Step 3: Working Phase
- Ask powerful open-ended questions
- Ask questions to create awareness
- Ask questions to move the session forward
- Don’t dwell on obstacles, assume they can be overcome
- Ask permission to use coaching tools/paradigms
- Remember to ‘hit the ball’ back to the client (don’t lecture or spend too much time explaining, coaching is a dialogue, not a monologue)
- Dance in the moment with your client
Step 4: Action Planning
- Elicit ideas and strategies from your client, help them be creative (don’t be in a hurry to suggest solutions)
- Ask permission to brainstorm and make suggestions
- Use the S.M.A.R.T. goals process (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely)
- Make sure your client is in full alignment and agreement with the plan
Step 5: Closing the Session
- Summarize what was addressed and accomplished in this session
- Review agreements and action plans for follow up
- Acknowledge your client for their courage, commitment, progress, accomplishments
- Be sure to manage the session so you cover all 5 steps and don’t spend too much time on any one step (it can be tempting).
- Remember that your job is to help your client access the power and answers within them (you are a coach, not a consultant or guru).
- If you feel stuck, check to see if you are taking too much responsibility for having the answers and solving the issue for your client.
- If your client is resistant, first check yourself for attachment to a particular idea as well as supportability/coachability of your client (the former is more common than the latter).
- Remain as outwardly objective and neutral as possible. If you notice your own judgment coming forward, keep it to yourself.
- Take ownership of your time. You are the one responsible for orchestrating the session, watching the clock and bringing the session to a timely close.
- Enforce your professional boundaries and make sure your client is clear about your policies and procedures, scope or focus of coaching, payment, session time, contact between sessions, etc.
- If you’re struggling or your client is not progressing, be sure to consult a Mentor Coach.