For the training and sessions to be efficient and bring results for the client, they must be clearly structured and have a specific direction.
The question of the day is How to Structure Effective Coaching Conversations, and throughout this article, we will answer it. Besides, we will cover the concepts, the importance of coaching conversations, and generally how to prepare for the session tips.
The following article covers:
What are coaching conversations?
First of all, let’s take a look at what coaching is:
“Coaching is the facilitation of learning and development with the purpose of improving performance and enhancing effective action, goal achievement, personal satisfaction, and fulfillment of potential. It invariably involves growth and change, whether that be in perspective, attitude or behavior.”
Peter Bluckert (Founder of Courage and Spark, Executive Coach & Team Facilitator)
Now, let’s understand what coaching conversation is. A coaching conversation is a shift from a usual conversation where you would give advice or help to resolve a problem towards guidance through conversation to equip the client with necessary awareness so that they are able to come up with a solution of their own.
Coaching conversation implements questioning and the so-called “ask” approach. So, essentially what you do as a coach throughout the conversation is - listen, ask questions, and help the client come up with their own solutions.
The importance of the right structure
As far as we are clear on what coaching conversation is now, it is time to understand its vitality of it. Well, you can continuously ask questions and be not efficient.
- What to do?
- Ask effective questions.
- How to do that?
- Have the right structure, Johnny!
The client will likely come to you with a specific goal in mind, so you have to structure the overall program in a way that will help them achieve it, and each session should be a logical continuation of the path. This means that the very first reason structure is vital for coaching conversations is because the structure allows you to be an effective coach and brings leints the desired results.
Another reason is that your sessions won’t be 5 hours long with a good structure. Instead, 1,5 hours will be enough to achieve effective conclusions. Your session should lead towards something, and this (the structure) will save you a great deal of time.
- Oh Ben, what about other reasons?
- We do not have time for this, Johnny, but believe me; there are plenty of others. Let’s just get to the main part.
- What’s it about?
- How to Prepare for a Coaching session
How to prepare for a coaching session
We are all clear on what coaching conversations are and the vitality of structure for those, so let’s take a look at steps on how to prepare for a coaching session.
Step 1 - Regulation of Emotions
Your emotional baggage may be anxiety because it is your first session, etc.; you should be able to leave those behind when starting a session. It is vital to regulate your emotions to be efficient throughout the sessions with the client. So, you can practice some techniques such as positive affirmations or meditation before starting the session.
Step 2 - Enter with a Blank State of Mind
Leave your ego behind each time you start a session; there is no place for your attitude; you are there as a coach who will guide clients towards achieving the desired results.
Step 3 - Have your Structure for the Session prepared
Know what you are going to discuss throughout the session and why because everything should lead to the final result desired by the client.
Questions to ask during your sessions
- Okay, okay, Ben, thank you so much, but can you give me some sample questions I can ask during coaching sessions?
- Indeed, I can; here they are.
Asking the right questions is as vital as having structured conversations that lead somewhere.
“Coaching is the unlocking of a person’s potential to maximize their own performance.”
John Whitmore (Author of 5 books on Leadership, Executive Chairman of Performance Consultants, and one of the original developers of the GROW model)
So here are some of the most potent questions that coaches simply must ask their clients:
- What do you want to achieve through this coaching program?
- What makes you happy?
- If you achieve X goal, will that make you happy?
- How will you know that you are happy?
- What does happiness or success feels like to you?
- What aspects of your life would you like to improve or completely transform?
- What are the biggest obstacles that you are facing?
- Why do you think those challenges cannot be resolved?
- How can you overcome the challenge if you separate people from the problem?
Etc. There are various sets of questions for various goals of the conversation. Stay tuned because we will publish 57 questions to ask in a coaching session.
5 steps to structure effective coaching conversations
It is time to review the Top 5 Steps you need to complete to structure effective Coaching conversations. So, if you are ready, let’s dive into it.
Step 1 - Identify the Goal of the Conversation
Before even starting the conversation, you should be prepared for it by knowing the main goal of the conversation. When you are aware of the goal and how it is connected to the final goal for the training program, you will be able to structure the wholesome conversation effectively.
Step 2 - Listen
Effective coaching conversation’s main element is listening, do not judge, and do not jump to conclusions. Simply, listen to what the client has to say.
Step 3 - Ask the right questions
When you are clear about the goal of the conversation and have trained your listening skills enough, it is time to come up with the questions that will help you achieve the conversation’s goal. E.g., maybe the goal of the conversation is to improve the self-awareness of the client, then your questions should be built around it.
Or, if the goal is to identify the aspects of life that the client would like to improve, then the questions should be created and structured accordingly. Also, for that, you can implement the wheel of life exercise.
Step 4 - Be Flexible
No matter how structured everything is, it is almost impossible to follow the exact structure, therefore, do not try to resist the coachee and let them talk even if the conversation expands. Just be aware of the techniques to bring the focus back on the main topic but never interrupt the client rudely, be more flexible.
Step 5 - Activities
Your session most likely won’t consist only of conversations, so do not forget to implement certain activities that will also increase self-awareness and contribute to deeper conversations.
Sample of a good coaching conversation
Finally, let’s review an actual sample of a good coaching conversation.
Conversation’s goal is to identify the main obstacles the client is currently facing.
- What does happiness feel like to you, and when would you know if you are happy?
- X response
- What obstacles stand in your way to happiness?
- The X thing, and Y, Z people
- If you separate the people from the problem, what resolution of the quandary would you suggest?
- I think in that case, because I won’t have any emotional ties, the logical resolution would be X
- Why aren’t you separating people from the problem to implement the resolution that you have suggested?
- Because of X, Y, Z
So, the conversation goes on and helps the client and the coach to find out the obstacles, the solutions, and possible emotional ties that also are, in a sense, obstacles to implementing possible solutions. Therefore, it makes it easy to understand how to overcome emotions and implement solutions that benefit everyone, not hurting clients or their close ones.
Make your coaching more effective with online
By the way, did you know online coaching is officially more scalable than offline coaching? It is actually true because online coaching eliminates the location barriers and gives coaches access to international audiences. So now you are not tied up to your neighborhood or city!
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Uteach is with you all the way towards success.