5 Elements Of A Successful Coaching Session

Do your coaching sessions run longer than necessary? Your sessions are supposed to last for an hour, but no matter how hard you try you consistently run over time. That's not fair to you, your client, or even the client that's now waiting on you. How can you keep to the allotted time and still give a client a great coaching session?

While in the middle of a session when you get a really great idea for homework, do you tell your client right away or do you wait until the end?

Have you ever been left wondering if the client learned anything during your time together? Sometimes honestly, it’s hard to tell, and your spidey sense is telling you something is wrong. So how can you ask the client how the session went without coming off as insecure and needy?

Do your coaching sessions wander aimlessly without any sense of direction? As new coaches, we sometimes forget that it is up to us to set a strong foundation. Think of this a foundation of a building. You don’t see it, but it’s necessary to keep the building from crumbling to the ground. So how can you build a strong foundation and follow the client's agenda?

When I entered the coaching world, I was seriously confused as to how to conduct a coaching session. I would forget to pay attention to my time, and I would let my clients go on and on until we ended up nowhere. Unfortunately, the clients would get "okay" coaching, and I would feel horrible about it. What I didn't realize at the time is that I was missing structure.

The client's role in coaching is to maintain their agenda, and your task is to stay in charge of the session structure aka keeping time, making sure the client stays on track with goals, keep them out of the story, and give them the awareness they came for.

You can do that by using these 5 elements to a successful coaching session.

  1. Check-In - Don’t just jump right in and get to business. Ask the client how their weekend was or what mood they are in. You don't have to spend a lot of time here, but it’s essential to check in and see how they are feeling. The client's mood sets the tone for the rest of the call. It also builds the rapport that you need with new clients. Think of it this way, how would you feel if your dentist just walked into the room and started to work on your teeth without a "hi" or “how are you?” It’s just weird and not a good business practice.

  2. Clarify the topic - Where the check-in sets the tone of the session, this section sets the foundation for the entire session. Sometimes clients will come to you with not one, but five different topics. Getting them clear on one goal will set you up nicely for the third stage - the coaching session.

  3. Coaching Session - This section is the juicy part of the coaching session and its where you should spend the most amount of time. This is where you get to ask great questions and create all kinds of awareness. This is also where you make sure your client stays on the topic so you can quickly get to the next stage.

  4. Wrap Up/Learnings - Leave some time at the end to ask the client what they have learned. Did they have any key takeaways or learnings? Did they get want they wanted out of the session or did they get even more?

  5. Homework/Accountability - Leave some space to discuss whatever actions they would like to commit too and how you can support them.

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