6 essentials to providing a great coaching service

As a coach, do I provide a great service to my clients? Is there more I could do? I am busy with this question every day!

I decided to review what I have learned about my client’s needs as they have arisen out of our work together, and I found some surprising truths about what my clients really need from me.

1. I need to be trustworthy and, above all, kind kind kind.

One client recently told me he appreciates that I don’t make him feel ashamed if he doesn’t do his homework. And moreover, he felt it worthwhile to mention that I don’t play games with him. Do people generally play games with their clients, or in relationships with others? Needless to say, I was surprised that this was important to him, and a great eye opener to the fundamental need for transparency and truth, given with care and warmth and kindness, in order to foster trust.

2. Just about bending over backwards with flexibility.

What the client needs is what the client gets, within the framework of what I can provide. Scheduling is flexible, the needs of the moment in the session all important, how the client wants to engage with me is up to them. Does so much flexibility actually serve my client as well as myself? I am surprised to find it does, because this is the top feedback I get: they appreciate that I am flexible to their needs – they feel met. Moreover, they are encouraged to actually think about what they need, not often an easy thing to know. We can together discover a lot about what is important to them when there is a safe space within which to do it; the permission is there to throw a spanner in the works if need be. They know it is safe to change their minds, to ask for a course correction, to speak about their unmet needs, and they know I won’t have a problem with it.

3. Setting the agenda to provide direction and focus for the sessions.

This is how I provide structure within the flexibility. I always send out suggestions for the agenda the day before our session. This way the client gets a gentle reminder that the session is happening (no one has ever forgotten to turn up, or got the time of the session wrong), and they have a think about what they want to work on. It gives a focused and strong start to our sessions together and feels supportive. They know I am thinking about them outside of our sessions, helping to hold them and the challenges they are facing.

4. Knowing the outcome needed for my client.

I have found that the more I know about the outcomes my client needs – even if they don’t know themselves – the better the process is. I don’t know how we will arrive at the outcomes needed, and that is best left up to the wisdom of the client and the emergent process – we discover that together. But as a facilitator holding the space, I must know what the outcome needs to be, especially when my client doesn’t. For instance, I coach a couple that brought me in as a business coach, but I soon saw they needed to learn to work in more harmony together and with their employees, in particular in their communication styles, as this was what was holding them back. Without this coaching intervention, they were not going to be able to grow their business. This was not an assessment I shared with them, preferring instead to support them to find out in their own way which is always much more powerful. However, because I was clear about this, I have been able to guide the process in this direction, resulting in watching their eyes open to the blind spots operating in their personal lives as well as in their business that have been the real reasons for the stuckness in their business.

5. Sending a re-cap after the session.

I go over the agreements we made in the session about what they will get done that week, and I mention some main points or discoveries or insights that came up. The feedback I have gotten from my clients is that they have two hard copies of the main notes to help them (theirs and mine), and they appreciate the structure this provides – the sessions continue to work in them during the week. It is a little more work, but using my google calendar to remind me and last week’s notes (I am a copious note taker) I am now pretty efficient at it.

6. Providing structure and organization.

The rhythm of emailing an agenda, the session, and then a re-cap the next day, provides a structure that is dependable and supportive to the process we are in together. Moreover, I am walking my talk; one of the keys to success in anything – relationships, communication, business building, management, kids, the health of the inner soul life  –  is being organized (I have tried this theory every which way and it hasn’t failed me yet). Some people start out better at it than others, but everyone can learn to be so. I speak here from painful experience! It is a capacity that must be practiced regularly, and as one does so one develops this, like building a muscle but in the soul. Without organization, there can only be chaos which results in lost creativity, dis-empowerment, confusion, lost opportunities, and bad business! This would have to be the second most common feedback I get, that the structure I provide both within and between our sessions helps them find the clarity they need to make the developments and changes around which they were previously stuck.

Post a comment.

  • Louisa Barnum DOWNLOAD E-BOOK: "Extreme Inner Development - The Raven Life Coaching Model"

    "I thank you so much, since, because of you, I feel lighter, I feel even more committed than before to take myself and my dreams as a priority."

    - N.G., Germany

    "I will be grateful to Louisa for the rest of my life!”

    - R.D., Holland

    “Louisa is by far the best life coach there is.”

    - K.S. CA