Coaching is an equal interaction between client and expert. In most cases, coaches will ask questions and gently guide clients through the session. This makes it seem like the sessions are free-flowing and organic, but that’s not always the case. Experienced coaches understand the value of planning the sessions carefully and strategically approaching the client. While a free-flowing session can feel liberating, it isn’t nearly as effective or beneficial to the client. It is easy to lose track of the most relevant concerns and go off on tangents. Even the most experienced coaches struggle will struggle with it.
Why is Structuring the Transformational Coaching Session Important?
Any transformational coaching professionals shy away from structure and planning. They want to keep the sessions organic because they believe that maintains creativity and ensures there’s a free flow of ideas between both parties. Transformational coaching relies on digging deep into the client’s mindset and find the root causes of what’s holding them back. It is easy to understand why people believe structure can compromise this.
However, experienced coaches know better. Structure doesn’t confine you, it gives you room to safely explore the situation with your client. Setting a structure ensures you don’t drift too far away from the topic that needs to be discussed, which is always a likelihood when you keep the discussion flowing freely.
For example, it is easy to become distracted by a discussion of external factors like social media, phones, or family, when you want to focus on internal issues that are compromising the client’s productivity. Transformational coaching is all about finding the root cause and altering it to help stop a bad habit. The goal of a session is to determine why the client can’t help but be drawn back to social media repeatedly when they need to focus on their work instead.
If you have a set structure for such a session, it is easier to remain on this topic and understand the true cause of the problem. In a free-flowing session where both the client and coach have the freedom to guide the session as they like, reaching the right conclusion can take a lot of time.
Coaches and Clients Both Have an Easier Time
Without structure, it is easy to get lost in details and discussions. Coaches have to keep consulting with their notes or trying to recall important points of the conversation. Such a disorganized approach can cause a lot of stress to both parties involved. Clients will also struggle because it would seem like their coaching sessions are leading nowhere and they’re walking in circles.
Clients will see that you have a purpose behind every question and are focused on a specific target for the session. That will help them gain some confidence as well. They will trust you more when they know there’s actual planning going into every life coaching session. Building a bond of trust with people is an important aspect of transformational coaching. You need to dig deep and find the client’s innermost insecurities and concerns.
If a client trusts you, they’ll be more willing to share these inner concerns and your sessions will be much more effective.
How Do You Develop a Session Structure?
Developing a session structure isn’t very straightforward but it shouldn’t require a lot of effort. In most cases, coaches alter the structure based on the client’s unique requirements. However, most transformational coaching sessions can be divided into three parts and they are mentioned here:
- Leading Up – During this process, the coach asks guiding questions and gently prods the client to open up. These questions usually lead to a discussion and the discussion slowly unravels the client’s thought process bit by bit.
- Breakthrough and Realization – Clients can stumble across a breakthrough or realize it slowly during the session. It is often something that completely transforms their outlook of the situation. For example, a client may be reaching for their phone repeatedly instead of doing the work because they’re being under-stimulated.
- Takeaway – Once you have reached the breakthrough point of your session, it is time to examine it and understand how it affects the client. The new awareness can help the client change the problem at the root and you can provide strategies to help tackle that.
Creating transformational coaching sessions gives you structure and can help build the client’s confidence.