Identify the specific problem for the time allotted to the session and set the purpose of the session. When starting a coaching conversation, the coach watches from the bench and arouses his curiosity and amazement as he observes the client. Many trainers find it a bit difficult to “establish a training agreement”, as they often seem to have to choose between being in the training flow or sticking to steps or indicators to establish a tangible result for the training session. If the client's goals are not concrete or seem vague despite your efforts to gain clarity, there is a temptation to abandon the establishment of the coaching agreement entirely.
The first step in any call should be to establish a good relationship. How you do this depends on how well you know the customer. If you already know this customer very well, you can establish a good relationship by referring to past sessions with them and asking them how they felt after the previous session ended. But if this is your first session with this client (aside from the discovery session), you'll need to look for something different to start with.
Make it clear that they must answer questions before a specific time. For example, if you need at least 24 hours to review their answers, let them know that they need to submit the form 24 hours before the session. Depending on your training style, you can also incorporate anecdotes and examples, role-playing game scenarios, worksheets, roadmaps, and other resources into this part of the session. Because life coaching is such a personal service, you may stray off course from time to time during a session.
Every training session is unique, so taking the time to build a rigid session structure may seem unnecessary. The training flow is not a straight line, it is rather a spiral in which there is an ebb and flow and a loop back and forth between current and new ideas, thoughts and beliefs, as well as between possible obstacles or necessary resources. The job of a coach is to move the client from where they are now to where they want to be, and to do so in a way that allows them to take charge and direct the process. Your purpose as a life coach should be to get your client to take action, so your client will have to agree to the plan in order to carry it out.
You can lead one of the most incredible life coaching sessions for your client, but it won't do any good if your client doesn't act later. In this step, the coach shares observations for the client to consider about where the gap exists between the current situation and the one they want. If it helps, print out the structure of your life coaching session as a reference when you feel like things are going wrong. If the process is too prescriptive, it means that the coach follows his own agenda instead of addressing the client's problem.
If this isn't your first time training this client, review your previous notes from previous sessions to remember what you've already worked on. Before deciding how you'll structure a life coaching session, you'll need to figure out the purpose of this session. If this is an initial life coaching session, be sure to send an intake form to your client so they can answer some initial questions. In his book The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier lists several questions that make a training session productive.
Check if any questions have arisen since your last counseling meeting or call and encourage your client to reflect on the progress they have made since starting their program.