What Is a Coaching Plan and How Can You Build One? (Example & Free Template)

coaching plan

Do you have a plan when coaching your clients, or do you wing it and hope for the best?

Winging it can only bring you so far. But if you want to support clients on a deeper level, preparing a coaching plan becomes necessary.

Creating an effective coaching plan requires careful thought, strategic planning, and consistent execution. Without these elements, you might as well throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks! 

Let’s tackle the details to better understand the concept of a coaching plan and how to create an effective one. Keep reading to discover: 

  • What a coaching plan is
  • The benefits of having a coaching plan
  • How to create a coaching plan
  • A coaching plan example
  • A coaching plan template

What Is a Coaching Plan?

A coaching plan is a strategic tool and a structured roadmap that guides the coaching process as you collaborate with your clients. 

It’s a comprehensive outline that helps you, as the coach, and your clients to understand and navigate the journey toward achieving specific goals or improvements. 

For example, let’s say you’re a career coach working with a sales professional who wants to become the leader of his team. The coaching plan should outline what it will take to get there and in what order, since you can’t get from sales newbie to sales leader overnight!

This plan typically outlines the goals, objectives, strategies, and steps that will be taken during the coaching relationship.

In more detail, coaching plans typically include:

  • Goals and objectives: Clear and specific goals that your client aims to achieve through the coaching process, for example, personal or professional objectives.
  • Assessment and evaluation: An initial assessment of the client’s current situation, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth. Periodic evaluations are often included to track progress and make necessary adjustments.
  • Strategies and action steps: The methods and approaches that will be employed to help the client reach their goals – for example, skill development, behavior changes, mindset shifts, and more.
  • Timeline and milestones: A rough timeline outlining the duration of the coaching relationship, along with milestones to mark significant progress points.
  • Resources and support: Any materials, coaching tools, or resources that will aid the coaching process, including the types of support you will provide.
  • Accountability measures: Mechanisms for tracking progress and holding the client accountable for taking action towards their goals.
  • Flexibility and adaptation: A recognition that the plan may need adjustments along the way based on the client’s evolving needs and circumstances.
  • Reflection and feedback: Opportunities for both the coach and the client to reflect on the coaching process, provide feedback, and make improvements.

4 Benefits of Having a Coaching Session Plan

A coaching plan (or coaching session plan) serves as the play-by-play guide to complete each coaching session you give, providing a range of advantages that streamline the coaching process and boost productivity for you and your clients!

Let’s go over each benefit in more detail. 

1. Maintaining organization and focus

The primary benefit is better organization. A strong overall plan provides a clear roadmap and framework to develop a well-structured coaching session plan for each meeting. You get to make sure all important topics are addressed within your set time frame. No more going overtime with every session!

Beyond facilitating organization, a strong coaching plan also sharpens your focus. With precise objectives laid out in every session, both you and your client stay on track toward achieving specific goals.

Instead of getting distracted by shiny objects, both you and your client follow the plan and keep your eyes on the ball.

2. Fueling motivation

An organized development strategy can significantly increase your client’s motivation levels. 

Not only are they more likely to see tangible progress, but they aren’t blind to what’s coming next, which means they have something to look forward to!

3. Easier sales process

One of the biggest roadblocks when selling coaching to someone is lack of clarity.

What will your signature coaching program look like in theory and practice for your potential client? If they don’t have clarity on this, how can they truly picture themselves working with you and getting the results they want?

Once you create a coaching plan for your program, you can clearly articulate how everything works. Of course, you should still tailor your plan to every unique client. But it’s easier to customize the plan on the fly once you have a foundation ready to go.

How to Create a Coaching Plan

coaching plan

Creating your own coaching plan is a strategic process to ensure your coaching sessions are focused, purposeful, and effective. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your own plan with every single client you encounter!

1. Define clear goals

Identify the specific goals you want to achieve through the coaching relationship. These could be personal, professional, or skill-related objectives. 

Make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

For example, if you’re a mindset coach, what mindset issues does your particular client have? How do they want to feel after their time with you has come to an end?

While your coaching program can have specific goals that apply to every client, you’ll still need to go granular with each individual person you work with to make sure you’re starting on the right track.

2. Assess the current situation

Evaluate the current status of your client. Understand their strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities to know the baseline for tracking progress.

The more you get to know your client on a deeper level, the better you can customize your coaching plan to their unique disposition. 

3. Establish strategies

Determine the strategies and approaches you’ll use to help the client reach their goals. They should align with your coaching objectives and be tailored to your client’s needs.

In some cases, you may already have a strategy in mind, especially if you already have a signature process in place. In that case, you should decide which approach is best for this client to execute said strategy.

4. Break down action steps

Divide your strategies into actionable steps that can be taken to work towards the goals. 

Each step should have a clear purpose and contribute to the overall objectives.

Action steps can be specific exercises you need your client to work on, such as journaling, practicing a skill, or breathing techniques. But each coaching session can also be an action step.

5. Set milestones

Define milestones or checkpoints that indicate progress. These are key points where you’ll assess how far the client has come and whether any adjustments are needed.

Not all coaching niches have clearly established milestones. For example, it’s difficult to clearly assess where someone is in terms of mindset. If that’s the case, simply put checkpoints in place to gauge how your client feels about their progress and the action steps they’ve been taking.

On the other hand, some niches have very clear milestones. For instance, if you’re a social media marketing coach helping someone grow their following, you can establish follower count milestones or engagement metric milestones.

6. Determine the timeline

Create a timeline using a PowerPoint timeline template for the coaching plan to manage expectations and ensure steady progress. 

Assign a timeframe to each action step and milestone.

Without a timeline, it’s difficult to gauge whether the client is progressing as they should be. It’s also difficult to keep them accountable since they can easily say they’ll “get to it later.”

7. Identify resources

Determine the resources, materials, training, or tools supporting the coaching process, including books, workshops, online courses, or other learning opportunities.

If needed, you can develop your own signature digital resources to share with your clients to complete action steps. 

8. Remain flexible

Acknowledge that the coaching plan might need adjustments as circumstances change or new insights emerge. 

Plans are important, but not everything always goes according to plan. The best coaches know how to adapt when they get a curveball!

Coaching Plan Example

Here’s a sample coaching plan for clients who want to develop their leadership skills.

Coaching Plan: Leadership Development

Coaching goals

  • Develop effective communication skills.
  • Strengthen decision-making abilities.
  • Foster conflict resolution skills.
  • Enhance team collaboration and leadership.

Assessment

  • Conduct a 360-degree assessment to understand current strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Identify specific communication and decision-making scenarios for evaluation.

Strategies and action steps

  1. Communication skills:
  • Attend communication workshops to learn active listening and articulation techniques.
  • Practice giving presentations and receiving constructive feedback.
  • Engage in role-play exercises to enhance communication in various contexts.
  1. Decision-making abilities:
  • Study case studies involving complex decisions and their outcomes.
  • Develop a decision-making framework that balances data analysis and intuition.
  • Role-play decision scenarios with a focus on timely and effective choices.
  1. Conflict resolution:
  • Participate in conflict resolution workshops to understand different conflict styles.
  • Analyze real-life conflict situations and strategize approaches for resolution.
  • Role-play mediating conflicts and finding win-win solutions.

Team collaboration and leadership

  • Attend team-building retreats to enhance interpersonal relationships.
  • Lead cross-functional projects to develop team management skills.
  • Receive mentorship and coaching on leadership best practices.

Timeline and milestones

  • Month 1-2: Communication skills workshops and presentation practice.
  • Month 3-4: Decision-making framework development and case study analysis.
  • Month 5-6: Conflict resolution workshops and real-life scenario analysis.
  • Month 7-8: Team-building retreats and cross-functional project leadership.

Resources and support

  • Communication and leadership books and articles.
  • Expert-led workshops and training sessions.
  • Regular coaching sessions for progress tracking and guidance.

Accountability measures

  • Weekly or bi-weekly coaching sessions to review progress, discuss challenges, and strategize.
  • Regular check-ins via email or messaging for ongoing support and motivation.

Flexibility and adaptation:

Be open to modifying the plan based on client feedback, evolving needs, and emerging challenges.

Coaching Plan Template

Now that you’ve seen an example of a coaching plan, how do you build your own? No need to start from scratch: swipe this coaching plan template to launch your program faster!

Coaching Plan: [Client’s Name/Goal]

Coaching Goals:

  • [List specific coaching goals or objectives.]
  • [Example: Increase self-confidence, improve time management skills, enhance leadership abilities.]

Assessment:

  • [Describe how you’ll assess the client’s current situation.]
  • [Example: Initial discussion, self-assessment exercises, analysis of past performance.]

Strategies and Action Steps:

  1. [Goal 1]
  • [Detail specific strategies or techniques.]
  • [Example: Attend workshops, practice daily affirmations, track progress.]
  1. [Goal 2]
  • [Detail specific strategies or techniques.]
  • [Example: Develop an action plan, set milestones, prioritize tasks.]
  1. [Goal 3]
  • [Detail specific strategies or techniques.]
  • [Example: Role-play exercises, study successful cases, practice active listening.]
  1. [Goal 4]
  • [Detail specific strategies or techniques.]
  • [Example: Identify challenges, brainstorm solutions, cultivate resilience.]

Timeline and Milestones:

  • [Weeks 1-2]: [Describe activities and goals for this timeframe.]
  • [Weeks 3-4]: [Describe activities and goals for this timeframe.]
  • [Weeks 5-6]: [Describe activities and goals for this timeframe.]
  • [Weeks 7-8]: [Describe activities and goals for this timeframe.]

Resources and Support:

  • [List resources, materials, and tools.]
  • [Example: Training materials, articles, coaching sessions.]

Accountability Measures:

  • [Describe how progress will be monitored and reviewed.]
  • [Example: Regular coaching sessions, check-ins, progress tracking.]

Flexibility and Adaptation:

  • [Explain how the plan can be adjusted based on feedback or changing circumstances.]
  • [Example: Stay open to modifications based on client’s needs.]

Create a Winning Coaching Plan to Achieve Outstanding Client Results 

Creating a coaching plan is more than just setting goals. It’s about designing a roadmap that guides your clients to reach those objectives and achieve massive transformation.

Having clear, measurable milestones and being able to effectively track your client’s progress can help you go from good to a great coach. And when your clients win, so will you!

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coaching plan
By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
August 28, 2023

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