5 Steps to Build Your Coaching Program (+ Free Template)

Article by Nelli Gevorgyan / Updated at .30 Aug 2023
11 min read
5 Steps to Build Your Coaching Program (+ Free Template)

Powerful & Professional coaches help clients overcome lifelong obstacles, build skills that level up their lives and help them to reach their full potential.     

But, how to build a coaching program that is effective and professional, a program that will build your reputation as a coach? Well, we will review that in today’s article.     

So, if you are ready, let’s start!     


What is a coaching program? 

First of all, let’s get clear on the definitions.     

We all know that coaching is a continuous process of guiding the client or teams to achieve the desired results/goals. Coaching can aim for long-term behavioral and mindset shifts, as well as for achieving a specific set of goals and objectives. It all depends on many factors, including coaching style, who your client is, and the coaching methodology you implement.    

The coaching program is, in a sense, a “Development or Goal Achievement Plan.” It consists of multiple sessions (which also have to be structured right) and has an approximate plan with a timeline of getting to the result. 

The importance of the right structured program

Well, we know what is coaching program is, but why is it vital to have a well-structured one?    

  • Provides you and your clients with clarity - a structured program, first of all, is structured in terms of schedules so that both your clients are aware of when to meet, what to discuss, etc. 
  • Structured programs allow you to set time-specific goals and better measure the progress & performance of the coachee. 
  • Consistency allows you to ensure that your clients have a high-quality experience.     

Simply put, a well-structured coaching program improves the overall client experience and contributes to their success. 


Coach structures coaching program zero to success

What makes a great coaching program?

Multiple elements must come together to make a great coaching program that will bring clients the desired results and give you the reputation you deserve.     

So, let’s look at the main elements you should consider before creating a coaching program. 

Element 1 - Mastery 

It is no secret that professionalism is the key to success.     

You have to be well aware of what you are doing. As an executive coach, you may be used to working with businesses and teams, so unless you learn everything about life coaching, you should not just out of nowhere switch your focus. If you do so, the results will not be efficient, and it can harm your reputation.     

Of course, that does not mean that you should always do executive coaching; you must be ready and eager to learn about the new niche before stepping into practice.     

So, if you are a beginner, we recommend you choose a niche, take some coaching courses (preferably ones that give internationally accredited certifications, as you can later use those as testimonials), and get started after you are educated enough.     

Also, you can look at a series of educational articles related to coaching. We cover styles, models, philosophy, questions you should ask, and other basics every coach should know. 

Element 2 - Coach-Cleint Relationship

Do not underestimate the power of a good relationship.     

If you want to be the trusted coach, you should work on building that trust. Make sure you have established good communication up front to make it easier moving forward.     

Especially vital this element is for life coaches, as people usually come to them for a transformation and mindset shift for which they truly need to open up. 

Tips to Build a Good Coach-Client Relationship 

Here are some tips to help you build a working and efficient coach-client relationship.    

  • Be an empath - to better understand your client, you need to have high Emotional Intelligence, one of the main elements of which is empathy. 
  • Supportive - do not judge the client; give them real constructive feedback they will be able to work with and generally be supportive without forgetting to acknowledge their progress. 
  • Be committed to guiding and helping the client to achieve the results they want 
  • Develop your listening skills.

Element 3 - Identification of Obstacles 

Another vital aspect that makes a successful coaching program is the ability to guide the client to identify the obstacles that they are facing (or, in some cases, identify those yourself and point them out).     

To achieve this, you have to know what questions to ask your clients so that they can see the situation from a third point of view and judge with a “cold head.”     

You can use various assessment tools for this aspect to help you and your client understand their strengths and weaknesses in general.    

Here are some questions you can ask:    

  • What stands in your way of doing X or from the achievement of X?
  • Who stands in your way?
  • Why X subject or Y person stands in your way? What do they or can do?
  • What can you do? What are your options?
  • What would you do if you did not fear the circumstances?

Element 4 - SMART Goal Setting

Creating a working coaching program would be hard without SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific) goals.     

Besides the client identifying their goals and results they wish to achieve, you should know what you aim for by the end of the program and how you can help the client to achieve what they want.

Element 5 - Quetions 

A good coaching program has well-structured sessions aimed at discovering and guiding. In order to do so, those need to contain certain types of questions. Questions, once again, may vary depending on your chosen coaching model. But there are general question categories you should ask.    

There are many other elements and vital aspects that make an effective coaching program. However, we have listed the PRIMARY ones. Now, let’s move to the next session. 


Woman coach prepares questions for her coaching session

Structure your coaching program with 5 Simple Steps

Finally, the practical guide of this article is on How to Structure your Coaching program with 5 Simple Steps. If you have read till now, then you are ready to keep on!     

Let’s go!

Step 1 - Identify Your Coaching Tools

First of all, get clear on your coaching tools. What are the models and methodologies you are familiar with? What is your coaching niche? Who is your target client?     

Get clear on what models of coaching you know and can implement in practice, as well as who your client is and what will work for them. Also, be aware of the various coaching styles. Down below, you can see the primary models and styles that are out there.  

The Main coaching Models

  • The Grow Model
  • The Steppa Model 
  • The Clear Model
  • The Oscar Model
  • The AOR Model
  • The WOOP Model
  • Solution-focused Coaching Model
  • Student-centered Coaching Model
  • Instructional Coaching Model    

Check out the article Top 10 Coaching Frameworks To Make Your Program Powerful to find out more. 

The Main Coaching Styles 

  • Democratic Coaching
  • Authoritarian Coaching
  • Holistic coaching
  • Autocratic Coaching
  • Vision Coaching
  • Laissez-faire Coaching
  • Bureaucratic Coaching
  • Developmental Coaching 
  • Group Coaching 
  • Transformational Coaching 
  • Mindful Coaching     

Check out the 11 Coaching Styles: Detailed Definition, Examples, And More article to find out more.     

If you are a complete beginner, then also get clear on a niche and how to build a coaching conversation.     

The Top 9 Niches 

  • Life Coaching 
  • Business Coaching 
  • Fitness Coaching
  • Finance Coaching 
  • Career Coaching 
  • Dating Coaching 
  • Leadership Coaching 
  • Executive Coaching     

Check out the Top 9 Coaching Types and Niches With Explained Examples article to find out more. 

How to Structure Coaching Conversations?

Finally, the main steps that will help you to build coaching conversations are:

  • Identification of the goal of the conversation
  • Listening 
  • Asking the right questions
  • Being flexible 
  • Implementing various activities and assessments, e.g., the Wheel of Life     

When you are aware of everything listed above in detail, you will know better what will work best for the particular client and how to customize the general template plan according to their needs. 

Step 2 - Identify the Goals for the Program 

The next step you need to complete to create a successful coaching program is to identify the program’s overall goals.     

While doing so, you also need to keep in mind a specific timeline, as those goals also have to be SMART.     

Also, keep in mind that although the final outcome usually is to bring the client or the business to the results they desire, minor aspects may vary depending on the client.

Step 3 - Activities and Tactics 

The next step would be to plan activities and tactics. Those also vary depending on your niche of coaching; examples are:    

  • Diet Plans for your clients as a fitness/nutrition coach 
  • Various exercises or personal assessment tests 
  • Roleplay, storytelling, etc.     

These activities are vital as they provide your client with better insight into themselves as well as improve commitment levels keeping them engaged. 


Coach and his coachee during coaching session

Step 4 - Structure Coaching Sessions & Conversations 

Then, it is time to structure coaching sessions and conversations. We have briefly covered how to structure coaching conversation under Step 1 - identify your coaching tools; now, let’s take a look at how to structure coaching sessions. 

Main elements of Great Coaching Sessions 

First of all Great Coaching Session consists of a few main elements that are:

  • Dialogues - coaching’s main element is the right and productive dialogues 
  • Your Skills as a Coach - as a coach, you should be able to communicate effectively, listen and be supportive to ensure the success of a coaching session.
  • Establish and maintain a clear focus on the specific goal of a session throughout the whole session.
  • Asking the Right Questions - to identify where clients are at, what skills they need to improve to move forward, and have better insight into their reality     

Let’s elaborate on the last point a bit more. First and foremost, keep in mind that good questions are those that stimulate thought and keep the conversation going, which in most cases are open-ended questions.      

The main types of questions are:

1. Questions aimed at identifying goals & Current reality


  • What makes you happy?
  • What are your expectations from this session/program?
  • What are the results you want to achieve?
  • How would you feel when you have what you want
  • Where are you now?
  • What can you do to move forward?

2. Questions aimed at discovering Obstacles and Options available to overcome those

We have covered a few examples in Element 3 - Identification of Obstacles     

3. Open-Ended Questions

As a coach, ensure that you avoid:

  1. Close Ended Questions - that can potentially discourage conversation
  2. Judgemental Questions 
  3. Statements - do not jump into assumptions, rather guide the client 

How to Build a Successful Coaching Session?

Now, as far as we are clear on the main elements of a coaching session and examples of questions you should ask, let’s move on to the practical part.      

Answer these questions for yourself:     

  • What is a program’s goal, and how will this session contribute to its achievement?
  • What is the goal of this session?
  • Who is your client?

Then, decide on the format of the session online, offline, one-on-one, or group coaching to organize all the other steps accordingly. 

Step 5 - Create a lesson Plan Week by Week 

After you are done with everything, it is time to create a week-by-week lesson plan that will break down the long-term goal into baby steps (short-term goals) to ease up and clarify the process of achieving it.      

For that, have a goal for every week that adding up to one will help you to reach the final one. Also, keep in mind that week-by-week plans can be flexible, and you do not necessarily have to stick 100% to everything. Ease up, let clients talk, share and progress. 


Coach presents lesson plan

Use LMS for more effective Online Coaching

Online Coaching has never been this accessible and easy. LMS platforms allow you to easily create a whole business website to host and sell your coaching sessions with.     

One of the best platforms to create a coaching business on is - Uteach.     

Uteach is potent automation that will provide you with all the necessary tools & features for creation, management, and further coaching business expansion. It offers:     

  • Visual Drag & Drop website builder 
  • Lots of customization options 
  • Course Builder 
  • All the necessary integrations 
  • Live Sessions 
  • Allows you to sell both digital & physical products,
  • Many more     

Also, it is worth mentioning that Uteach is extremely affordable, SEO-friendly, and gives you control over every aspect of your business, including marketing and payments, from one single, easy-to-use dashboard.     

So, it is your time to start!


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