The Perfect Coaching Call – 10 Expert Strategies (2021)

6 min read

You’re about to discover 10 steps to delivering the perfect coaching call.

These steps will prove undeniably helpful to trainee coaches. If you’re a coaching client, it will help you understand what to expect.

There’s also a template of coaching call questions waiting for you at the bottom of this guide. 

Coaching Call
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10 Steps To The Perfect Coaching Call

In my role as a life coach, I make sure to always practice these steps during a coaching call. 

1. How Do You Prepare For A Coaching Call?

It’s important for coaches to spend at least 10-15 minutes reflecting on where your client is in their journey, and what they might need from the upcoming call.

Recap on the goals that were set in their previous call, and any concerns they were experiencing at this time.

This preparation time allows you and your client to maximise your time together on the call. 

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It also builds a lot of trust within the client for them to see that you remember exactly what you left off with them. 

If this is your first coaching call with this person, it’s necessary to do a bit of extra work to prepare for this.

For more information about preparing for a client’s first call, check out this guide: Your First Coaching – Facts Checklist.

2. Let Your Client Tell You What They Need

In coaching, it’s important that your client sets the agenda. You’re not there to tell them what to do. You’re simply there to help them figure out what they want and how to get there.

So, resist the temptation to set a fixed agenda for your coaching call. Your client should steer the conversation and take leadership over the theme of the session.

Instead, ask questions to discover what your client thinks is most important to them right now.

For example, you could ask: 

  • How are you feeling right now?
  • What is on your mind?
  • Are there any thoughts you need to let go of before we get started with the call?
  • What challenges are you facing right now?
  • What skills do you feel you need to learn?
  • What are your hopes for this session?

It will often prove helpful to ask why they feel that way too. The more information you can gather about your client’s mindset, the more you’ll be able to help them get where they want to be. 

3. Hold Your Clients Accountable

A large chunk of your coaching sessions will involve setting goals for your clients. Indeed, goal-setting is a great way to push clients toward measurable progress.

However, there is no point setting a goal for your client if you’re not going to address whether they’ve achieved it.

You’ll be able to gain a lot of information about where a client is at, simply by checking up on whether they achieved their targets.

If they haven’t, that’s a sign you need to discover more about what was holding your client back. What were their stumbling blocks, and what can you two do to help the client overcome them?

If they’re completely on track, you know it’s time to focus on creating a plan to help them build on their success. 

4. Praise Your Client

A great coach will always take the opportunity to champion their clients for any success they’ve achieved. 

Indeed, a lot of clients are so focused on their main goal that they become blind to their improved performance. 

The confidence boost they get from their coach can go a long way to helping them up their performance and achieve more lofty success in the future. 

A good coach will always view their client in a positive light. Their conversations with clients will be constructive, and mostly positive topics such as what’s going well, what’s wanted and what’s needed to get there.

If it becomes clear that the client is struggling with mental hurdles holding them back from success, it’s your role as a coach to convince them they can overcome these.

This might involve helping them develop a different perspective of fear, or allowing them to brainstorm different strategies to get around their problems.

Either way, this will always come from a positive mindset.  

Everyone makes mistakes and has setbacks. The key is to learn from them.

5. Listen

In a great coaching session, the client will be doing most of the talking. You’ll find they get the majority of their breakthroughs when this is happening.

Yes, you may have done all this training and your mind might be packed with solutions for your client to try.

But, it’s far better to shut up and actually listen to your client talk.

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When necessary, feed them with open-ended questions to lead them towards the solution they need. 

They’ll get a lot more value when they figure out their own solutions through this process on their coaching calls.  

In your life coach training, one of the key skills you’ll learn is active listening. This involves strategies to ensure you fully understand what your client is trying to tell you – and it’ll prove crucial in your coaching sessions.

6. Create An Action Plan

Once again, it’s crucial that your clients set their own actionable goals to achieve before your next call.

Your job as a coach is to give them the guidance to set appropriate targets that lead them towards their personal definition of success.

Here are some example questions for them to answer after they’ve explained where they want to be. 

  • How could you get closer to this in the next week? 
  • How do you see yourself achieving this goal?
  • What steps do you need to take?
  • What opportunities could you take advantage of? 
  • What obstacles could get in your way?
  • How could you overcome these obstacles?  

By having your clients answer these questions, they’ll be able to set themselves a handful of targets to reach before the next coaching session.

What’s more, these will most likely be targets they’re confident of hitting and excited about moving towards.

Yes, the client may have questions or concerns at this stage, and what’s where your value and  experience as a coach comes in… 

Create An Action Plan
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7. Define A Strategy For Success

Often, your value as a coach may come from your life experience, whether that’s in a particular field or at overcoming challenges in general.

A client may ask you for assistance for overcoming a particular personal challenge. They may not know how a certain situation is likely to play out, nor how to execute a certain process to get where they want to be.

This is where you can point out resources, tools or a third-party program to help them out. 

Of course, this still isn’t you telling them how to live their life. You’re simply having a conversation based on your own life experiences and allowing them to be free to use this information how they see fit.

They might want to run their strategy through you and get feedback, but ultimately it’s up to them to decide the best path to improve. 

8. Suggest Exercises For Your Client In Between Coaching Sessions

Yes, your coaching calls should be very useful for your clients, but these will only take up an hour or two of their week. The majority of their journey towards success will take place outside of these coaching sessions.

That’s why a great coach will suggest exercises for their coaching client to complete outside of their calls.  

If you’re looking for some ideas of what these exercises might look like, check out these resources:

9. Summarise Your Coaching Session

At the end of any coaching session, it’s important to summarise what was learned and what steps will be taken before the next call.

This helps clients to clearly see the value of the call. It also helps clients to clarify exactly what is expected of them.

Ideally, they have 3-5 bullets to take away and work on.

Of course, you’ll want to write these bullets down, so you can hold them accountable on your next call. 

10. Seek Feedback On Your Coaching Session

At first, this might not seem like something a confident professional coach would do. But your performance isn’t measured by how useful you think your coaching calls are, it’s about how much value your clients see.

That’s why great coaches will often ask example questions like these to their clients:

  • Does it feel clear what you need to do to progress before our next call? 
  • How capable do you feel to take on your challenges after our call? (on a scale of 0-10) 
  • Is there something I can improve in upcoming calls to be more effective? 
  • How does our conversation make you feel? Is there a better process for me to talk to you during our sessions? 

Remember, you’re here to focus on your client’s needs, not your own ego. Your job is to put them first. This feedback will help you to serve them better and to improve as a professional. 

Coaching Call Strategies
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Coaching Call Template

I have created a template of questions to help you improve your coaching calls. Click here to access it.

Any More Questions About The Structure Of Coaching Calls?

Thanks for reading my blog post!

I hope you were able to learn more about the structure of a great coaching call.

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If you’d like to build on any of the points made in this post, feel free to ask a question in the blog comments section below.

I’d be excited to address your queries.  

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