Module 2: Creating an Individualized Coaching Plan
The main goal of your first coaching session with a client is to create a plan for all of the sessions that will follow. It establishes a form of contract between coach and client. This first session is also referred to as an ‘intake’ session. It’s a session in which both of you take in information about each other. It’s important for you in learning about your client and the same goes for them.
This process of information gathering can be done either during the first session or as an initial consultation. Some coaches offer it for free, especially if they charge a great deal for their sessions. Offering an initial consultation clears away all of these basic considerations so that during the first session for which the client is paying your coaching fee, you can jump right in and start helping them solve their problems.
This free consultation can also be considered part of your sales process. Through your initial communication, the client gets a taste of your expertise and sees that you’re serious about what you do. After speaking to you about their problems and goals, they’re much more likely to buy your coaching services.
Decide whether to do a free pre-coaching initial consultation or perform this consultation during the first session, and make sure each potential client you speak to understands this.
The main part of this consultation is to walk through your client’s self-assessment worksheet with them. Go through each item asking questions for clarification. Most importantly, clarify the client’s goals. If goals are too vague or unrealistic, help them improve them so that they’re more achievable.
Define the responsibilities of both client and coach. In any type of coaching, the client and coach are equal partners. There’s no such thing as coaching sessions where the coach simply solves clients’ problems for them. There is work for both sides to perform, and this includes ‘homework’ that needs to be done outside of the sessions. Lay out the expectations for both of you. Establish ground rules in case either side falls behind or fails to carry out their responsibilities.
Your client needs to see how they’re improving as a result of your coaching sessions. There needs to be some solid way to show them this. It could be an analytic such as traffic or sales, or it could be the steps completed in a large-scale project. During your initial consultation, decide how progress will be measured.
At some point during the consultation, nail down the specifics of your coaching sessions. Agree on how long each session will be, how often you’ll meet, and how you’ll communicate (by phone, Skype, or other method).
Decide all of these details and put them in writing, but don’t be completely rigid. It’s best to stick to the plan as closely as possible, but if circumstances or situations change you may need to revisit your coaching plan and make amendments.