Session Structure for Ongoing Coaching Sessions

(For standard active coaching sessions rather than unique sessions, such as feedback or development planning meetings)

Greetings, reactions to the last session, and ideas that resonated.

Client’s current feelings and stress level

Client’s goals or agenda items for the session

Coach’s agenda items

Debrief on-the-job action plans implemented or other (homework) fieldwork activities

Consider progress and topics from the development plan

Discuss and contract for actions aimed at development progress

Reflect on learning, motivation, and situational variables; encourage feedback-seeking behavior

Confirm current phase of coaching engagement and next session

Questions helpful in moving through the session structure:

What interactions have you had since we last met that you were pleased with?

What’s a recent situation that presented an opportunity for you to try something new, and how did it go?

What are your goals for this session?

What ideas from the last session have been helpful?

What barriers and obstacles to development exist?

How difficult were the changes attempted?

What challenges are coming up?

Session Preparation 

To encourage clients to reflect in preparation for each coaching session, coaches often require that a session “prep form” be completed and emailed before the session. The answers provided by the client do not replace structured inquiry, which is an integral part of the coaching session itself. Client responses to questions in the preparation serve as a backdrop to the coaching conversation. Use any or all of the following prep questions in a message to your clients.

Session Preparation 

To help you get the most out of your coaching session, I invite you to answer the following questions and email me your answers before our next meeting.


Date and Time of Session: 

What have I accomplished since our last session?

What did I want to accomplish but did not?

What are opportunities related to my coaching available to me at this time?

What are the challenges I am facing right now?

What are some insights I have had recently?

What do I want to focus on during this upcoming coaching session?

Other reflections or comments you’d like to share with me: 

Some More Practices, etc. 

Group Practices 

Circle practice: Getting to know each other better; Dropping the waterlines; Getting real with each other.

“.. introduce yourself using: …if you really knew me, you would know…”

drop into the heart and be sure you will be lovingly accepted.

Limiting Beliefs

There are constraints; some are structural, some are cultural, some are skill or competency constraints, and some are the so-called internal constraints.

All constraints are linked and interwoven, so some internal constraints may lead you to interpret some structures as constraints. In contrast, another person without the same inner constraints would not interpret the same structural situation as a constraint.

Enablers ~ allies

Blockers ~ distortions



We take care to begin coaching sessions to make the most positive impact in our client’s life.

We start on time as scheduled, ready, in place, and prepared.

A positive welcome note to the client helps them feel at ease, relax, and gain confidence. Say what is sincere and spontaneous. If you can, share with humor without strain. Be authentic.

“Thank you for inviting me to connect with you for this session. I have been looking forward to meeting with you. We are going to have a productive time together. Let’s get going and start opening doors for you.”

In the first session, give the client a brief overview of what the coaching entails. Let your client know the session framework, including both of your roles, to put them at ease and point them in a productive direction. For example,

“Our session is an opportunity for you to get clear on any issues you are facing or make progress toward your chosen goals. Whatever is most important to you is valuable for us to look at.

Our session is confidential, and your authenticity will be a big help.

My role is not to give you answers or tell you what to do. Instead, I will help you come to your own answers and empower you to move in the direction you choose.

If it’s okay with you, we will start with a brief, one minute, opening centering, and then we can explore whatever you like.”

Use an opening exercise in alignment with your client’s beliefs and comfort level. An affirmative statement can serve as a generic opening centering exercise. Practically all businesses and corporations have vision and mission statements, so when you make a vision or mission statement for your coaching session, your client will be aligned with this practice.

A brief centering might go like this,

“To slow down a bit, we might deepen our breath slightly, relax and come to the present moment together. Just release any experiences from your day and drop into a sense of openness and allowing for the best possible results of our meeting together.”

Keep going for a minute until you feel yourself and your client coming into a peaceful space.

An affirmation might go like this,

“We now open the door for you (say your client’s name) to receive the most valuable information, inspiration, and direction from out time together. We recognize that the answers you seek are available to you, and we see you revealing the clarity, peace, and direction you require. We envision and claim positive, practical, observable results from our meeting. We enjoy the journey as we. May this serve us all well.”

Give your client a clear invitation to express and share what is most important to them.

This is your time. These sessions are for you, so what would you most like to talk about? What would make this session valuable for you?

What’s happening in your life that motivated you to have this session?

Is there something specific you would like to address?

What shift in your life would be most meaningful to you?

The purpose of the session is to empower our client to find their answers with your support. No asking, “what can I do for you” or “how can I help you” or a similar question that puts you in the driver’s seat as an authority figure.

Invite the client to be specific about her intention for the meeting. No asking, “how are you” or “what’s up” or “what’s going on” or such generic questions without context.

With a first-time client who is hesitant to express their need, use a “permission slip,” such as a magic wand or a “fast-forward” question to jump-start the session.

“If you could wave a magic wand and change something in your life for the better, what would it be?”

“Let’s fast-forward (three months) (a year) (five years) down the road of your life. In this scenarion, what positive changes have occurred that make your life better?”

Keep all opening exercises light and welcoming, brief, positive, and open-ended. Do not lead the client in a particular direction or set up a response of your choosing. Intend these to stimulate your client toward movement.

End of Session Feedback

Outcome Rating Scale (ORS)

{Miller & Duncan, 2000.}

Name: Session #; Date:

Who is filling out this form? Please check one: [] Self [] Other

If other, what is your relationship to this person?

Looking back over the last week, including today, help us understand how you have been feeling by rating how well you have been doing in the following life areas, where marks to the left represent low levels and marks to the right indicate high levels.

If you are filling out this form for another person, please fill it out according to how you think he or she is doing.

Individually (Personal wellbeing) I–——-.———I

Interpersonally (Family, close relationships) I–——-.———I

Socially (Work, school, friendships) I–——-.———I

Overall (General sense of wellbeing) I–——-.———I

Session Rating Scale (SRS V.3.0)

{Miller & Duncan, 2000.}

Name: Session #; Date:

Please rate today’s session by placing a mark on the line nearest to the description that fits your experience. 



I did not feel heard, understood, and appreciated. 


I felt heard, understood, and appreciated. 

Goals and Topics 


We did not work on or talk about what I wanted to work on and talk about. 


We worked on and talked about what I wanted to work on and talk about.

Approach or Method 


The coach’s approach is not a good fit for me. 


The coach’s approach is a good fit for me. 



There was something missing in the session today. 


Overall, today’s session was right for me.