What to do During a Paid Coaching Session
This is article 3/3 on how to manage a coaching client through those first most important encounters.
The stages covered in the full series are:
- How to Book a Free Coaching Session
- What to do During a Free Coaching Session
- What to do During a Paid Coaching Session
The First Paid Session
So, you’ve made it through to the first paid coaching session! Well done!
The Coaching Agreement
During the first 10 minutes of the first paid session, you may want to guide your client through your Coaching Agreement.
Your Coaching Agreement is a document that spells out the basic conditions of your coaching relationship and should include things like, where coaching will take place, session length, how to cancel and reschedule sessions, confidentiality and any other conditions that you feel are important to make your client aware of up front. If you are concerned about the legalities of your agreement you can run it past a lawyer.
Be sure to discuss each point of your Coaching Agreement with your client and then you may want to ask if she would like to add anything additional to the agreement. One time one of my clients wanted to add, “sessions must be fun”. So we added it, and as her coach, that was great information for me know up front!
After you’ve gone through the document together, get your client to sign 2 copies right there. Give one to her and keep the other for your files. If you are coaching over the phone you’ll need to do the process electronically but it can and should still be done!
Once the Coaching Agreement is signed, I usually ask my client, “What would be an excellent outcome for you for today’s session?”
Once I understand my client’s desired outcome, I may proceed with any number of Advanced Coaching Models to guide my client to an outcome.
I use several different Advanced Coaching Models with my clients and my choice at the time really depends on what they need. However, at a high level, my questioning approach is usually aimed to help clients clearly describe ‘how their problem is a problem for them now’. Sometimes I have to ask that question, respectfully, several times in a row to get the client deep enough to be able to frame a clear problem!
Once we have the clear problem, I’ll try to loosen up and remove any limiting beliefs around the problem, open up new opportunities and get the client to try them on. We then wrap up with some actionable ways forward.
Summarize Action Items
To conclude any coaching session it is good to recap the action items and due dates that your client has agreed to do as a result of the session. I usually ask my client to tell me what he’s agreed to (to make sure he been paying attention and taking notes!). Then I clarify any points I think need more detail and remind my client of any actions that I’ve noted that the he may have missed.
Once the actions are all clear for both of us, I will usually do a quick future pace for my client. This means that I paint him a picture (with words) of how his life will be now that he has taken these new ideas (from the session) on board. Within the future pace I elaborate on new possibilities that may come up for him this week, in 2 weeks and in the next 3 months, “as new thoughts are allowed to fully integrate into him as a result of having taken action”.
Sometimes I feel silly doing my future paces but clients ALWAYS love them. This technique really helps clients to see themselves as if they have already integrated what you’ve discussed and as if they have already taken action. It’s an easy gift that a coach can give to a client that gives them an unconscious kick-start into the changes they’ve committed to during your coaching session together.
Once the session is mostly wrapped up I always ask my client, “What else can I do for you to make this session even more complete?”
This is a great question because either way he answers, just by answering it, he unconsciously accepts that the session was complete and that allows him to start to integrate changes even sooner. If he comes up with something that he’d like to add, we address it. However, 9 times out of 10 the session is already 100% complete, the client is totally satisfied AND ready for a break! My clients are always grateful that I ask though.
After the session is finished and the client has left your office or hung up the phone it is helpful to quickly and briefly summarize your notes by capturing 3-7 of the essential key points from the session. I use an awesome template for this that I call the Client Tracking Worksheet. It’s a simple tool that lets me see the summary of 6 sessions all on the same page. I can quickly review months of coaching sessions with a client on just a few bits of paper and in a matter of minutes!
Before I had this tool I had pages of notes, printed emails, worksheets and millions of coloured flags sticking out of my notebooks. Now, I get what I need on a single A4 page! These days a file for one of my clients consists of Client Tracking Worksheets, our Coaching Agreement and that’s all (at least until I moved over to using Life Coach Office – now, everything is online – no paper at all!).
Note About Pro-Bono Work
If you are doing pro-bono work, which is coaching clients for several sessions for free, you should still follow all of the steps outlined in this stage. Just because you are not getting paid does not mean you don’t have to be professional. Remember that pro-bono clients often become clients or referrers down the track, so it is essential to the success of your coaching business that you make your best impression on them.
|1.||At the start of the session, review the Coaching Agreement and get it signed by your client.|
|2.||Ask your client, “What has been on your mind lately that our coaching session today can help with?” Then proceed with any number of Advanced Coaching Models to guide your client to an outcome.|
|3.||Recap the actions that your client has agreed to do during the session.|
|4.||Do a future pace for your client (see paragraph 5 above for tips on how to do this).|
|5.||Ask your client, “What else can I do for you to make this session even more complete?”|
|6.||Quickly and briefly summarize your thoughts on the session by capturing 3-7 of the essential key points. I use an awesome template for this that I call the Client Tracking Worksheet.|
Tools to Have
|Coaching Agreement||Your Coaching Agreement is a document that spells out the basic conditions of your coaching relationship and should include things like, where coaching will take place, session length, how to cancel and reschedule sessions, confidentiality and any other conditions that you feel are important to make your client aware of up front.Template included within our Coaching Starter Kit.|
|Advanced Coaching Models||An Advanced Coaching Model is basically a series of coaching questions that aims to assist a client get from where he is now to a new and different place that he may not have previously considered on his own.7 Advanced Coaching Models are included within our Coaching Tool Kit.|
|Client Tracking Worksheet||The Client Tracking Worksheet is a document you can use after each session to capture 3-7 of the essential key points from the session. You can see the summary of up to 6 sessions all on the same page enabling you to quickly review months of coaching sessions with a client on just a few bits of paper and in a matter of minutes! By using this single tool, you can shrink your client files dramatically.Template included within our Coaching Starter Kit.|
That concludes the last part of the series on coaching client management in those important first encounters! I hope you’ve enjoyed it! If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share with other coaches, please leave a comment at any stage in the series.