So you want to become a life coach. Congrats – you’ve chosen a fulfilling career that will not only help you build your own business, but also help others overcome their biggest challenges and make lasting positive changes in their lives!
If you’re new to life coaching, running your first life coaching session with a client can be a bit scary. You know how to help people, but structuring it in a session is a different beast altogether.
Here’s everything you need to know about planning, structuring, and running your life coaching sessions, to leave a positive impact on your clients.
Free Life Coaching Session Template
Want to stay on track with your next life coaching session? Keep reading for your step-by-step template!
How to Structure Your Life Coaching Session
Before you decide how you’ll structure a life coaching session, you’ll need to figure out the purpose of this session.
For example, is this coaching session a standalone call with a client who only booked you for a single session?
If this is the latter, you’ll need to structure the session with the bigger picture in mind. Each session in a signature program needs to take your client one step closer to achieving the outcome they’re looking for.
On the other hand, a standalone life coaching session will need to achieve a smaller outcome in a shorter amount of time.
In both cases, you need to establish the desired outcome of this individual session first, before you can break it down.
Discuss this with your client beforehand, to understand what they want to achieve during this session. You’ll ask them to dive deeper into this when the coaching session starts, but more on that later.
1. Establish rapport
The first step of any call should be to establish rapport. How you’ll do this depends on how well you know the client.
For instance, is this your first time coaching them? Or is this one of several sessions you’ve already had with this client?
If you already know this client very well, you can establish rapport by referencing past sessions with them and asking them how they felt after the previous session was over. But if this is your first session with this client (other than the discovery session), you’ll have to find something else to begin with.
You can start by thanking them for putting their trust in you and reassuring them that both of you will work together to get where they want to go.
2. Spend the first 5 to 10 minutes on accountability
Once the step of rapport is complete, you’ll need to hold your client accountable for the results of the life coaching session.
Yes, you are the life coach, and you’re in charge of guiding the client to where they want to go. But ultimately, you cannot make the changes for your client. Your coaching client needs to be accountable for their own journey.
If this is the first time you’re running a session, there may be nothing you can do to hold them accountable, because you’ve never worked together before.
But if you’ve had a life coaching session in the recent past, follow up with whatever action steps you asked them to take.
Did they follow through? If they didn’t, was it because they were stuck?
You can ask the following questions to help them take accountability:
- How did [action step] go last week/month?
- Did you run into any obstacles?
- What worked for you and what didn’t?
- Are you currently blocked anywhere?
- What have you learned from these action steps?
Spend about 5 to 10 minutes on this step, and feel free to spend more time on this if your life coaching sessions last for longer than an hour.
3. Identify today’s issue
Next, you and your client will need to figure out what they want to be coached on that day. Once again, this will depend on the type of coaching you offer – if you have a signature program, the topic of this session may already be established.
Whatever the case, you’ll need to dissect the issue at hand with your client. For instance, does your client know where this particular issue came from? Why is this issue stopping them from going where they want to go?
In addition to clarifying the issues, you’ll also need to establish goals for today’s session. You can’t solve every single challenge for your client in a single session, so make sure to set reasonable expectations for the time frame you have.
4. Reframe your client’s challenges to find solutions together
Once you know what challenges you’re dealing with and what your goals are for this coaching session, take some time to reframe the issue with your client.
Help your client see their issue from a different perspective so that you can both find a way to approach it effectively. This alternative perspective is one of the most valuable tools a life coach can provide to their clients, since your own life experiences and coaching experience can provide a unique point of view for someone who is stuck.
5. Walk your client through relevant strategies
Based on what you’ve uncovered from your client, you can break down some strategies to help them deal with their challenges.
It’s important to collaborate with the client first in the previous step, to look at the problem together, before providing them with strategies. The more your client can come up with new perspectives on their own, the better they’ll become at dealing with issues independently in the future.
Remember that you want to empower your clients, not hold their hand forever!
With that said, they will still need some strategies to overcome what’s blocking them.
6. Come up with an action plan
In collaboration with your client, build an action plan that your client needs to take for the foreseeable future.
This could be until the next section a week or a month from now, or it could be for the next several months if they don’t intend on booking another session right away.
Work together with your client to establish this action plan. Your purpose as a life coach should be to get your client to take action, so your client will need to be on board with the plan, in order to act on it.
Should You Follow a Coaching Call Structure or Not?
Because life coaching is such a personal service, you may find yourself veering off course from time to time during a session.
Keep in mind that it’s difficult to structure a life coaching session down to the minute, so there should be some space to improve, but it’s still important to stay on track.
If it helps, print out your life coaching session structure as a reference when you feel things are getting off track.
How to Prepare for Your Life Coaching Session
Before your coaching session, you should take some time to plan and prepare so that you can expect the best outcome for your client.
If this is a kickoff life coaching session, make sure to send an intake form to your client so that they can answer some initial questions.
Make it clear that they need to answer the questions before a specific time. For example, if you need at least 24 hours to review their answers, let them know they need to submit the form 24 hours before their session.
If this is not your first time coaching this client, review your past notes from previous sessions to remember what you’ve already worked on. Additionally, if this session is part of a package or signature program, take a look at your program outline to remember the purpose of the upcoming session.
This will help you plan out the strategies and action plans you’ll bring to the session.
However, if this is your first and only call with a client – meaning that it isn’t part of a bigger package – you won’t be able to plan the session in as much detail. Instead, you’ll get to know the client during this call and establish a plan from there.
Just make sure to send this type of client an intake form too, so that you have something to work from!
What to Do Right After a Life Coaching Session
You can lead one of the most amazing life coaching sessions for your client, but it won’t do any good if your client doesn’t take action afterward.
Of course, they should be held accountable for taking action, but it’s your job as a coach to do everything you can to help them.
Once your coaching session is complete, review your notes and ask yourself:
- What did I learn from this session that I didn’t know beforehand?
- What potential roadblocks could my client run into before our next session?
- What can I do to help them overcome these roadblocks?
Next, write a follow-up email that emcompasses the action steps you and your client agreed on, as well as any additional advice or strategies you may have from the above brainstorm.
In this follow-up email, let them know what they can do if they get stuck in between sessions. This will depend on your agreement with them. Some coaches offer email or Voxer support, especially for high-end packages, so if this is the case, remind them of how they can get in touch with you as needed.
If you don’t offer this type of support in between sessions, you could give them the option to book a shorter session as needed.
Help Your Clients More Effectively with a Structured Life Coaching Session
There you have it – a simple way to provide a life coaching session and help your clients make a positive impact on their lives.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with handling intake forms, your coaching schedule, and payments for your coaching sessions, we get it. Managing the back end of a coaching business takes energy from actually helping your clients achieve massive transformations.
That’s why we designed Paperbell life coaching software to run your business in a clean, elegant, and organized way. Try Paperbell for free with your first client to see how easy it can be!