What Makes a Great Coaching Session? - International Coaching Federation
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What Makes a Great Coaching Session?

Posted by Ajit Nawalkha | November 2, 2020 | Comments (1)

Have you heard the saying, “The power of the transformation lies in the power of the conversation?” It means that the true power in creating results and transformation for your clients depends on how powerful the conversation is.

Great coaching sessions will deliver great results. So, what makes a great coaching session? A solid session structure. These are three steps you should follow in any and every coaching session to make it extra powerful.

1. The Lead-Up

This first step is how you should start any session. It’s the “warmup,” and it’s important because it allows for the building of rapport and creation of a safe space for your client to feel comfortable. Use this time to release any tension or to-do’s from their mind, and get ready for the actual coaching conversation.

A great way to do this is by guiding them through a quick meditation or mindfulness practice to make them feel present and ready set an intention for the session.

Ask questions to understand your client’s current state of mind, what they are thinking and feeling, and what’s been going on in their life. It will be a solid starting point to uncovering their core issue and where they’re coming from, allowing you to better adapt the conversation to their needs at that moment.

A successful lead-up will allow you to guide the conversation effectively and make the most out of your time with each client.

2. The Breakthrough

Once the lead up is done, it’s time for the breakthrough.

Now is when you use your favorite and most effective coaching techniques and methodologies to coach your clients and create results. There are many tools you can use, but the secret to nailing a powerful conversation is being fully present and mastering the art of powerful questions.

Powerful questions are ones that elicit reflection, thoughts and ideas from the client that will take them closer to their goals. It’s about helping the clients step out of their comfort zone and create the shifts they need to move forward.

You can also use different coaching techniques that will help your client gain clarity on their goal and how to get there. A great tool for this is creating a roadmap in which your client identifies where they are, where they want to go and what’s standing in the way. Then you work on the latter in your coaching sessions for the magic to happen. But no matter what methodology or process you prefer using during the conversation, always keep in mind the purpose of the session, the problem or obstacles the client is facing and how you’ll guide them to find a solution by the end of the session.

3. The Takeaway

Now, your coaching conversation is coming to an end, aha moments were created and ideas have been generated. What’s next?

The takeaway is the last part of the coaching structure, and the goal is to reflect on the key findings and insights from the session. It’s important to allow the space for your client to reflect on their session to ensure they’ve retained the key elements that will support their journey and, ultimately, create lasting transformation.

We know that once a client leaves a session, they’ll forget most of the conversation. So the takeaway and wrapup is a great point for your client to write down what they want to remember and the action steps they will take ahead of the next session. Without clearly defined action steps, it’s less likely your client will progress and may delay results.

If you want to go a step further in the takeaway part, you can share their key takeaways and next steps in a follow-up email and remind them to take action.

Whether you’re a new or experienced coach, having a solid structure to follow in your coaching sessions will help you guide your client and earn better results. Once you’ve become familiar with this structure, it will start to appear naturally in your sessions, and you’ll find yourself tweaking and adjusting it to your style along the way.

ajit nawalkha evercoach headshot

Ajit Nawalkha

Ajit Nawalkha is the co-founder of Evercoach by Mindvalley and Global Grit Institute. He is also the author of Live Big, The Book of Coaching and Business Book of Coaching. Find helpful guides at www.evercoach.com/coaching-guides. Learn more about the three-step coaching structure here!

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (1)

  1. JoAn Smith says:

    I love the simplicity of your three points. I printed this out to put in my coaching binder to remind me of what the basics are in good coaching. Sometimes, in an effort to grow, improve and be the best, we forget those fundamental principles. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

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