Module 4: Anatomy of a Coaching Session

New coaches, especially, will prefer to not enter into the first coaching session with a client cold. Having a base of information about the client in advance makes the first coaching session far more efficient. You won’t be wasting time gathering information that’s just as easily obtained beforehand. The client is paying you not just for the hour you spend with them, but also for this essential preparation time.

Information You Need from Clients

Before the first session, gather and organize all of the documents you need. This includes the client’s completed self-assessment worksheet, an overview of their personal and professional background, and the goals they hope to attain through your sessions. Take a few minutes before each session to review these documents and get acquainted with them. If you’re still relatively new at coaching, allow extra time for this.

Expectations For The Session

Discuss with the client and outline realistic expectations for your sessions together. These expectations should include the amount of time for each session, a typical session agenda, and how you will communicate with them. Define specific outcomes that they will walk away with from your coaching sessions.

Anticipate Questions

Try to anticipate questions or concerns they may have. This shouldn’t be rehearsed or scripted. Instead, write down a few questions you can imagine your client asking and have an answer prepared. When you’re just starting out, try putting yourself in the client’s shoes and figuring out what you might ask.

Once you’ve been coaching for some time, these questions will be second nature because you’ll have heard them over and over again. If the questions are generic to most clients, you can put all of them onto an FAQ page on your website so that you can save time during your coaching sessions.

Getting Into The Zone

Before the session’s start, make sure there will be no distractions. Close doors, turn off phones, and if you’re working at home, let family members know not to disturb you. Prepare a system for taking notes during the session, either on paper or electronically. Some coaches record their calls so that they can go back later to hear exactly what was said. Prepare a glass of water, cup of coffee, or anything else you might need.

Mentally prepare yourself and get into the zone. You can do this through some type of pre-session routine that gets you into a positive, social mood where you’re ready to talk. You may try a grounding technique such as deep breathing. Whatever method you choose, remember that coaching sessions should be fun. Get into a state where you’re enthusiastic and eager to help your client break through their obstacles and achieve success.

Wrapping Up

Finally, make a plan for wrapping up your sessions. You need to stick closely to the time schedule created by you and your client, but the end of the session should be smooth and natural, not abrupt. It feels inconsiderate and unfeeling for a client if you terminate the session suddenly. You may want to designate the last five minutes of the session as a cooling down, questions, and review period. This is a good time to lay out expectations for your next session.

Todd McCall


I help practices who are marketing professional services get the attention they deserve by developing an online presence that converts visitors into clients.

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