The Coaching Session, Step-by-Step
What should your coaching session look like? Some people lead with a health history, others wing it and asks what the customer wants to discuss, some coaches have a list of questions to go through hoping not to run short on questions and long on time. The truth is, a good coaching session runs a middle road where you’re organized but flexible to change course when needed.
This doesn’t cover coaching techniques. Listening, decision making, goal setting, problem-solving, behaviors, assertiveness, and other coaching skills are not included in this article. We’ll be talking about the technical and mechanical steps to prepare for, meet and follow-up.
This is based on a one-on-one coaching appointment and can be applied to any type of coaching. If you have a group coaching situation, depending on your goal as a coach, you’ll want to keep the group small and time everyone’s participation.
First – Choose your tools
If it is a weight loss program, Physician’s Weight Loss (Healthy Habits) is the best. It can be used with a group or an individual. It does not promote a diet theory but offers recipes for plant-based, standard and paleo. It gives you and your client absolutely everything a health professional could provide to succeed; videos, workbooks, modules, daily emails and accountability and support.
If you’re leading someone through a Plant-based transition, PURE is the program of choice. It’s a 12-week intensive course is followed by months of support and additional information.
Life Coaching would require upLife or A Lighter Life, or a combination of both and maybe a Spiritual Cleanse.
As a customer of The Health Coach Group, you have a lot of tools in toolbox box. The 12 Day Detox and 28 Day Programs are meant more as lead-ins to a solid one-on-one health coaching program.
We are going to suppose that this isn’t a weight loss client (or, you are not sure yet – you can always move them up) So, we are going to choose the 6-month program (from the 3-6-9-12 Month Program). The program is not really meant to do the coaching for you – but to educate your client and support your efforts. It is designed to be modular to customize to the needs of your client. It starts out VERY basic and modules may be shifted for advanced information on nutrition, exercise, and other needs.
Founder, The Health Coach Group
Cathy helps health coaches build and maintain successful businesses that improve the lives of others.
Set the appointment
You can do this online with a tool like Appointmentcore (the online software I use). It collects the money, lets you schedule available times, posts the appointments in Gmail and allows the customer to schedule at their convenience. I put it in a tab on Facebook. There are many others too…this is just one to give you an idea and that I am familiar with and works with Infusionsoft.
You can set the appointment the old-fashioned way…by phone or email. That takes a little longer and requires messages back and forth, but it establishes a human connection. It requires that you carefully schedule (don’t double book and be careful to transfer to your calendar). Email is sometimes easier than reaching each other by phone.
Decide where the meeting will take place
You may meet in person – at your home, a Whole Foods or your office. It is easier to read nonverbal communication and it is more personal. For clients dealing with important issues, it is not always the most comfortable.
You may meet by phone, skype or conference call. If you meet by conference call with screen sharing ability, that can give you options to share materials in a new way. Skype allows you a version of the more personal one on one “in person” meeting. It may take a little time for your client to become comfortable. The phone is not as personal but can be more convenient and comfortable for the client. You may not be able to read nonverbal cues, but pauses and raising or lowering voice may be easier to perceive over the phone.
Sometimes this isn’t a choice. If you live in another country or, even city or state, Skype, phone or conference call are your alternatives. Be sure you are in a quiet space where you will not be interrupted and don’t multitask – pay attention to them just as if they could see what you are doing.
Decide how to deliver your client’s materials
You will want to provide the modules, workbooks, preparation materials and emails to your client on a regular basis.
Healthie is the easiest and most professional way to deliver materials. Your programs are loaded in and preset to deliver on cue. Your client pays for it through your site, they automatically receive access to the prep materials in a membership download page, they are scheduled to receive the modules and emails at just the right times and you are hands-free (except to meet with your client).
You may also set up an autoresponder and a place to hold your larger modules (to give you a URL instead of a big package you can’t deliver). You will then schedule each client to be emailed as you want them to receive the program (1 week before your meetings).
You may also print and hand your client the modules in person at your meetings…for them to read for the next meeting. The programs are expensive to print and use up natural resources, digital is preferred, but sometimes touching and notating is the preferred learning method. Then, you will still want an autoresponder to email regularly.
OR, you may manually email one week before each meeting. This is a lot harder on you.
Prepare your client for the meeting
If you have Healthie, this is done for you. Otherwise, send the materials or access to the materials for preparation to your client.
- Session Plan
- Session Schedule
- Wish List (what they want to accomplish in the next 3 months)
- Health History (if allowed in your state)
This preparation package covers 3 months. You will send another preparation package in advance for the next 3 months.
Send the first module ahead for reading. (#1 of 12 for the 6-month program)
The actual meeting
Your First Meeting:
This is it!
You will go over:
- the agreement, clarify expectations and roles
- wishlist (goals)
- health history (unless you aren’t allowed in your state or you used the health history as a sales aid and it is already done).
This meeting is for getting comfortable with each other and goal setting. Of course, if your client needs to talk about something else…just be ready to ask questions or listen. Just because the module material covers something, doesn’t mean that you have to stick to the module. You are the coach and will get a sense of what your client needs. Goal setting should be a part of the first meeting…even if it is to set a small goal and action steps.
A Typical Session
- Start off with any educational material you promised from the last meeting.
- Go over (5) wins (positive changes since your last visit), what did they do well since your last meeting.
- Go over tangible results.
- How did they move toward their goal(s)?
- What are 5 things they can do in the next week or two to bring them closer to their goals? (new action steps)?
- Are there any new concerns?
- Are there any new goals?
Some things you may want to check on: How did they feel; energy, sleep, weight, and/or mood.
If you’re working with a coach/client program, this will all be in order and planned out for the coach. If the client is keeping a daily journal, you can go over the items in the journal, specifically set to lead them toward their goals.
Our programs have assessments that the client completes – or you go through with the client to manage and monitor their progress.
Once you get to a point (like a movement from 6-12 month), be sure to ask for referrals and a testimonial. Expand on new growth opportunities and offer a program that suits their next step.
You did it! The meeting is over – now what?
Make good notes. Spend a few minutes after your meeting being sure you have right session notes so next time you meet – you know what you covered before and can pick up from there. If you promised to get the additional educational material, note it and schedule a time to follow through on your calendar.
If you have Healthie – all you have to do is take notes and show up for meetings and listen and ask high mileage questions. If not, schedule time into your calendar to follow up on emails and delivery of modules. With Healthie, you’ll also be able to follow up through the actual software platform, and the client can quickly check in with you. Be sure to use the app and the tracking features.