ANATOMY OF A COACHING SESSION
Each coaching session can have a different length. Most coaches prefer 30-40 min.
The reason for these short sessions is, that the coachee has to focus on the essential points and shorten the story – this helps to touch the true learning and insights much faster. It is also quite difficult for the coach to stay present for longer then 45 minutes.
1. Define or Re-define Expectations and Coaching Relationship if necessary
At the first session, you should clarify in depth how your coaching relationship should look like. Take enough time to clarify all expectations from both sides. This can save a lot of time later. After around 3 months of a coaching relationship, you should re-define your coaching relationship, to check what works and what not.
As the coaching continues, ask: Can we change something in order to make the coaching relationship more effective?
2. Starting the session
Questions to start the session:
- What’s occurred since we last spoke?
- What would you like to focus on?
- What’s new/the latest/the update?
- How was your week? Where are you right now?
- On a scale of 1-10, where are you today?
- How would you know if you are one degree higher?
- Have you experienced situations where your goal/dream was already visible?
- How did you manage that?
Remember that there’s no coaching without a goal.
The coachee should become clear about the problem he/she wants to work on, or what he/she wants to achieve.
3. Various Experiments
There are numerous ways and tools to create an environment of openness, change and commitment to an action plan. A good way of achieving results is the GROW model. Good basic tools to become clear about the current reality: value examination, wheel of life.
It’s the task of the coach to anticipate which ways could be suitable for the client and suggest coaching tools, ask powerful questions and give feedback based on true evidence. Nonetheless, it’s always the client that decides and leads. The light should always be on the coachee, and he/she decides which tools are appropriate and where to go.
If coach and coachee run into a problem-centric view, they can come back with powerful questions, tools or exercises like the miracle.
4. Action Plan / Learning
The goal of a coaching session is not always to work on goals. Sometimes a deepened understanding of your personal situation, and learning maybe enough. In most coaching situations coachees and coaches will find it beneficiary to work out at least one action plan towards the goals of the coachee.
The task of the coach is to read between the lines and find out how much commitment the coachee has developed for taking action. A good question could be: how much commitment on a scale of 1-10 do you feel to actually do your action pan? If its less then 7, there is probably another obstacle that could be investigated.
The action points should be written down in order to track results and have a start for the next session.
Possible questions for taking action (CTI toolkit):
- What action will you take? And after that?
- What will you do? When?
- Is this a time for action? What action?
- Where do you go from here? When will you do that?
- What are your next steps? By what date or time will you complete these steps?
- How will I know your action plan is successful?
5. Summarizing / homework / requests
- Was the session useful to bring you closer to your goals?
- What could we do better next time?
- What is needed to come to a good end?
The coach can ask a request or homework: this can be a tough action tasks or powerful questions that have multiple answers. (“What is success for you”, or “What do you really really want?”)
The coachee can say yes, no, or make a counteroffer.