You’ve secured your first client. Great! Now you need to prepare for your session with them. Without proper preparation, it’s easy for both you and your client to drift from topic to topic only to realize by the end of the session that very little has been accomplished.
Often, a client may come to you emotionally-laden and eager to talk about something that's outside the scope of the set agenda for your meeting. If this happens frequently, client-dissatisfaction will soon start to build once they realize that they’re not advancing towards their goals. Sooner or later, they’ll end up dropping you as their coach.
You, therefore, need to know how to prepare for a coaching session to get the most out of it. Without further ado, here are 7 steps you can follow.
1. How to Prepare for a Coaching Session 101 – Work on the Logistics
First things first, you need to think about where you intend to hold your sessions. You may have an office where clients can come to see you, but you can also meet in less formal locations like coffee shops, virtually through remote communications, or even in wellness centers.
Regardless of where you’re meeting, arrive at the venue early and find a comfortable and private area with minimal distractions. If you’re working remotely, make sure that your family or pets are not in the vicinity to interrupt you during your meeting.
Another important part of the prep process has to do with the date, time, and venue confirmation. Clients often forget that they had an appointment with their coach. So send out a reminder a week before and a day ahead of the meeting. You can even get in touch with them a few hours beforehand.
2. Coach Prep
With the logistics ironed out, you now need to prepare yourself for the session. Part of it involves doing some mental housekeeping to help erase any baggage you may be holding to. You can’t be present and “in the moment” for your client when your mind is racing, thinking about a hundred other things that might be going on in your life.
3. Establish the Purpose of the Session
The next phase of coach preparation involves giving thought to what the goal of your session is. Review your notes to go over what the client’s goals are. Prepare your mindset to ensure that you remain open-minded and positive throughout. Be aware of the language you should use to make your client feel comfortable and confident during the session.
You also need to create the agenda and make sure your client is aware of what’s going to be tackled. It’s always a good idea to co-create it with them as this will be the road map that ensures you stay on track. Ensure that it is confined to their overall health and wellness plan.
4. Have the Right Tools
As you prepare for the session, gather all the tools you need beforehand. Have the client handouts, notes, and writing materials ready. If you intend to use visual aids or video content from your iPad or tablet, keep it plugged-in or charge it beforehand.
Load the content so that it’s ready to go once the session starts and do pre-checks on your devices for seamless transmission. Envision how you want everything to go to avoid having to get up from the table to pick something you forgot.
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5. Set the Ground Rules
Before you begin, have an honest conversation with your client to establish some ground rules. This is important to get them to show up at the appointments on time. Remind them of the importance of being present and have them turn off their phones and remove any potential sources of distraction that may get in the way of their full concentration.
6. Help Get Your Client in the Right Mindset
Before you begin, take a few moments to do some deep-breathing exercises with your client to clear their mental and emotional space. This will help them let go of whatever fears and issues that may be plaguing their minds at that moment. Get them to clear their energy and release anything that could be standing in the way of being fully present.
Once you do that, begin with some small talk and let them share any new and positive updates in their lives. Avoid generic questions like, “How’s your day coming along?” The whole idea is to get them to focus on something positive to start the discussion on a high note.
7. Begin the Coaching Session
A typical coaching session should start with providing any information or educational material you had promised in the previous meeting. Next, go over the positive changes your client has implemented so far since the last meeting and the tangible changes they’ve observed. Discuss their progress towards their goals.
At this point, you would then come up with new changes and an action plan for them to work on before the next meeting. This is also a great opportunity to address any concerns they might have or any new goals they would like to include.
Check on their sleeping patterns, mood, weight, and energy levels, and take note of anything that may be out of place. Once the coaching session ends, make good notes so that you can pick up from where you left off next time.
You Can Never Be Too Prepared
Every effective coaching encounter needs preparation. Now that you know how to prepare for a coaching session, you can work confidently with your clients to keep them on track and get the most out of it. You’ll be surprised by all the ground you’ll cover in a short amount of time.
While coaching sessions are all about helping your clients, it is essential that you always come prepared. As a health coach, you are not just chatting with your clients about life, you are giving them guidance and support to overcome issues.
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