Your 5-Way Guide For Great One-on-One Coaching Sessions

Article by Nelli Gevorgyan / Updated at .23 Jan 2024
12 min read
Your 5-Way Guide For Great One-on-One Coaching Sessions

Online coaching has become increasingly popular as it assists people in reaching their full potential alongside their main goals. However, there are certain difficulties in one-on-one coaching sessions, and to be a successful coach, you need to take several steps. 

In this article, we will review coaching styles, proven strategies, questions & much more successful coaches use to conduct effectively-structured sessions.


There are dating coaches, career, lifestyle, business, and all the other coaches in today's market. Depending on the area of specification, each of them helps clients develop individual development plans that guide coachees throughout their journey.  For this purpose, they choose coaching styles, strategies, methods, and approaches based on their mutual goal with the client. 

3 individual coaching styles

These coaching styles are the most efficient and famous ones. They include  Autocratic, Democratic, and Holistic styles. Each of these works well for different types of people. 

If one client's Holistic approach worked, you could not be sure it would also work on another one. Therefore it is vital to master all the styles to provide an individual approach depending on the client. Plus, the efficiency of the chosen strategy also depends on the circumstances and time limits.  

#1 Democratic 

Democracy is good both in leadership and coaching. In a democratic setting, the client plays a huge role in strategy formation. This style works best if there are no too pressuring "deadlines." 

With democratic coaching, the coach and coachee can have introductory sessions, set goals throughout the training, and decide on vital aspects of the training process together. 


# 2 Autocratic

Autocratic coaching revolves around the idea that the coach knows best. The autocratic style works best when there is a specific goal that has to be achieved in a short time. 

Therefore, there is little or almost no input needed from the client in goal-achievement strategy formation, rather than just listening and doing what the coach says. 

# 3 Holistic 

Holistic leadership is focused on creating an environment comfortable enough for the client to feel free to explore. Also, it is, in a sense, a combination of democratic and autocratic styles. 

For example, many health coaches have adopted the Holistic style. However, in terms of coaching, a holistic style focuses on spirituality and how spirituality can affect one's aspirations. 

Once again, a reminder that for the coaching session to be successful, you must analyze the client and the circumstances to evaluate which strategy will work best for them. 

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5 proven strategies for effective 1:1 coaching sessions

The main part of this article is - The Top 5 Steps to Create Effective Coaching Sessions.

#1 Set Clear Goals 

When someone comes to you as a coach, they expect personal growth and keep a particular goal in mind. However, no one said the goal is formulated correctly. It can be too general. You need to help your client identify the main objectives they want to achieve in a specific period. A good technique is to set SMART goals. Each goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific.    

Also, set goals throughout the training session, such as expected outcomes, progress, etc. This way, you can clearly understand what the clients came in with and what they will leave with.

#2 Ask the Right Questions 

As we have mentioned before, the whole success of coaching depends on asking the right questions. As a professional, you cannot just give away answers because those will be one-time usage. You need to guide your coachee throughout the way and help them find the answers to what they are looking for with the set of guiding questions. E.g., questions like: 

  • What is your main goal, and how will it change your life?
  • What is your biggest strength?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • What are your biggest fears, and why do you fear those?
  • What differentiates you from the rest?
  • What do you need right now? 

The set of questions presented above is aimed at increasing the client’s self-awareness levels, which is an essential part of Emotional intelligence

#3  Have the Right Structure & Frequency 

Individual coaching sessions should be held weekly. The most widely used frequency is once a week, from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. Coaching sessions should be regular to have progress. You can present information and add details discussed in the meeting in a digital flipbook for more interactivity.

#4  Have Feedback Sessions 

Your client came to you to grow. They expect your feedback on progress. Track your progress and give constructive feedback. Be careful with the wording to motivate and not accidentally demotivate them. 

#5 Effective Body Language 

Individual coaching sessions require effective communication. As you know, communication is not just oral but also body language. On a subconscious level, people tend to feel more or less comfortable near others, depending on their body language.    

Therefore, your last MAIN STEP is to work on your body language. For example, practice in front of the mirror and learn how to communicate more effectively. Moreover, you can read materials or watch educational videos on each posture or gesture.    

Besides learning to control your body language to become a more effective communicator, you must also read the clues in the client's body language to develop an efficient strategy for further work.

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4 questions to ask during 1:1 coaching

Besides the main steps to hosting successful coaching sessions, you also have to ask a certain set of questions. The power of coaching relies on questioning skills, as questions aim to awaken the coachee's potential.    

Of course, it is only natural that questions vary depending on what type of coach you are (career, dating, etc.). However, there are questions any coach should ask. Keep in mind that a professional does not give away answers.    

The whole point of coaching is to make the client independent and ask questions that unlock the potential. The answers to those questions make them more self-aware and open to further personal growth.   

So, here are examples of four questions you have to task throughout the session. 

Question 1 - What are your goals and expectations from our meetings? 

With these questions, you will be able to understand their goal and have a clearer idea of how you should guide them toward it. Also, you will be aware of their expectations, and in case of confusion, explain what coaches do and what clients should expect. Some clients need to learn what coaching is about and expect answers from the coach rather than questions.  

Question 2 - What other areas of your life concern you and you would love to improve?

With this question, the coach will understand the client better, including what bothers them and what fo they truly want to improve. Any type of coaching touches more than one aspect of life. 

Question 3 - What does success look like to you, and how would you know if you have reached it? 

Clients often do not know what success is, which is different for everyone. When they understand what success is like for them and how it makes them feel, this will be the step where they will be ready to take practical steps towards it.

Question 4 - Why is it important for you to reach your goal? 

If you do not know why you want the X thing, then you cannot get the X thing. So, make sure your client fully comprehends the vitality of their goal.

Check 57 coaching questions to ask during your sessions. 

Coaching session questions

5 steps to structure individual coaching sessions

Let's suppose you chose the perfect coaching style and a working strategy. Is it enough for the sessions to be effective? Of course, you will also need to map out the structure of your sessions. It can be done in five simple steps. 

#1 Understand the client’s expectations and needs 

Understanding what the coachee expects and their desired outcomes is the first step to getting started. An effective session implies that you have achieved the desired goals. For this to occur, conduct an initial consultation. Ask questions that will help you better understand their situation and listen actively to their responses. 

You already know what the client desires to achieve by the end of the discussion. Thus, your session will easily address their unique needs. 

#2 Summarize what the client has done so far 

Unless you are conducting the first meeting, ask your client how successfully they applied strategies or methods discussed in the previous session. Such questions may help the coachee reflect on their own progress. It can also help to develop a greater sense of self-awareness and spot areas where they need to focus their efforts.

On the other hand, you will be able to identify whether your approach toward the client's situation worked. 

#3 Identify areas for growth  

Now, you can clearly know where the client stands in the goal-achieving journey and where they desire to be. At this particular stage, you will need to discover 

  • What keeps the coachee from being where they desire to be?
  • Is there anything they have not tried to achieve that goal?
  • What possible challenges separate coachee from desired outcomes?

Communicate ideas to come to a better working solution. Provide constructive feedback that is specific, actionable, and focused on solutions to help the coachee improve.

#4 Discuss solutions 

Once you know where the problem lies, work with the coachee to explore potential solutions. Galvanize them to brainstorm ideas and continue to provide guidance wherever necessary. 

After choosing the solution, it is time to develop an action plan. 

  • Clarify the specific steps to be taken
  • Set a timeline for each step
  • Find out what resources or support are needed to implement the plan

Remember to check in regularly and help your client stay on track. 

#5 Wrap up the outcomes  

Lastly, sum up the coaching session with your client. 

  • Start by summarizing the progress you have made during the session.
  • Ensure the client has a clear understanding of what they need to do next
  • Recap the key takeaways and highlight insights that can be helpful
  • Set a follow-up plan or specific actions the coachee needs to take before your next section. 

And this is how you structure coaching sessions. Remember to allocate a particular amount of time for each of these steps so that you do not miss anything. 

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Example of a one-on-one coaching session 

As you follow the models, steps, question examples, and tactics presented above, you will have a session that is

  • Well structured
  • Goal-oriented
  • Free of judgemental atmosphere 
  • Productive 

Here is a piece of a possible conversation between you and your client. 

Coach: So, how are you feeling today?

Client: To be honest, I feel a bit overwhelmed. I’m up to my ears in chores and work, and I’m not sure how to manage everything. 

Coach: I understand. Let's start by speaking about your priorities. What are the most important things you must focus on right now? 

Client: Well, I have a project due at work next week, so that's definitely a priority. But I also have a family vacation coming up that I need to plan for. Besides, I have some personal goals  I want to work on, like exercising more regularly and good habit formation

Coach: Okay, those are all important things. Let's talk about your work project first. What steps have you taken so far to complete it? 

Client: I've researched and gathered some information but haven't started putting it all together yet. 

Coach: Okay, it sounds like you must break the project into smaller tasks. Let's work on creating a plan for that.

As you continue to ask open-ended questions you will be able to come to a working solution together. 

Why make your 1-on-1 coaching online?

Individual coaching sessions can be held online, bringing both sides even more benefits than traditional ones. For example, if the session is offline, you will have to:       

  • Invest in a space/rent the place 
  • Spend time & money on transportation 
  • Waste energy on tidying up the space before the client comes, and the same for every next client  

Also, the client will have to spend time & energy on transportation; maybe they have social anxiety, and it is easier for them to join the session from the comfort of their own houses. Creating a coaching website with an AI website builder can be beneficial, as this  is both cost-effective and lets your client connect with you by a few clicks on your simple website. So continue reading to explore Uteach, the best solution for your coaching website.

Start your one-on-one coaching today

Stop wasting your time overthinking, grab your laptop and start your e-learning business immediately. 

With the features Uteach offers, you can 

  • reach more clients all over the globe by building your coaching website in less than 2 minutes
  • creatе & schedule productive coaching sessions
  • stay in touch with your clients round the clock

The marketing tools will ensure your published materials and SEO-optimized website rank higher in SERPs. 

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  ? Too Long; Didn't Read

One-on-one coaching is a process that aims to support individuals in achieving their personal or professional goals through guidance, feedback, and encouragement. In other words, this is individual coaching.

One-on-one coaching allows personalized attention and customized strategies to be developed based on the person's specific goals.

Individual coaches have high earning potential. For example, you can potentially earn more than $62,500 per annum. However, this number is also based on several factors, such as how much you charge, how many clients you have, and your experience level. As you see, the income amount is highly individual.