Luis Goncalves
Last updated on | Agile Coaching/Team Coaching

Steps to Establishing a Structured Coaching Session

by Luís Gonçalves
coaching session


Hi guys, In my previous blog I explained 10 Top Mistakes That We Do When Asking Questions. In this blog post, I bring you the normal steps to establishing a structured coaching session. I want to highlight the source of this blog comes from Tony Stoltzsfus and his book “Coaching Questions: A Coach´s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills”.

If you like this topic I have been writing a lot about it. Below you can find three of my favorite blog posts on this topic:

While a coaching session should feel natural and organic to those in attendance, these events do not become successful by accident; to be effective, a coaching session needs to be structured in the manner outlined below:

1. Begin With Open, Caring Questions

One should begin a coaching session by asking questions that are both emotionally significant and open-ended; by doing so, the coach invites clients to express whatever is on their minds. It’s important to be aware of factors that may be influencing the coachee’s motivation and ability to work, after all, before one gets started on anything else.

Try asking questions like:

• “What´s been the best (or worst) thing to happen to you this week?”
• “What in your life is interesting you the most right now?”
• “Have you experienced any major changes in your life since we last met?”
• “What´s new with you? Has anything interesting happened this week?”

2. Engage in a Progress Report

While the interim report is only a brief step—taking about 3 to 5 minutes—it’s nevertheless essential. By reviewing the action steps from your last session, you can organize the current session effectively, making sure that you leave time to cover all the items that need attention. Simply ask the coachee to update you on the progress of his or her action steps, noting what has and has not been accomplished since the last session.

3. Set an Agenda

Following the interim report, you will know which actions require follow-up steps, as well as being aware of any new or continuing action steps. You should assess this information in tandem with a general review of your overarching coaching goals, and then build an agenda based on what needs to be done to ensure that progress continues. You should ask the client’s input through using the following questions:

• “Which action steps from our last session do you think to require a follow-up?”
• “Are there any actions you want to discuss with me? What’s on your agenda today?”
• “Is there anything you need to focus on today to meet your goals?”

Using a conversational model, such as GROW, is often helpful during this stage of the session, focussing the efforts of everyone involved in a new set of action items is developed.

4. Review the New Action Items

Finally, you and the client should review each new action step that has been created during the session, making sure that you are both on the same page regarding what needs to be done. Asking the client to describe the action steps he or she has listed is a great way to make sure the process has been properly absorbed; likewise, ask him or her to repeat which steps are scheduled for the coming week before closing the session.

Picture credits go to Naturhotel Waldesruhe


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Luís Gonçalves

About Luís Gonçalvesçalves1979

Luis Gonçalves is an Entrepreneur, Author & International Keynote Speaker. He works with Senior Executives to implement his ‘Organisational Mastery’ system so they can greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their organisations; enabling them to become recognised and highly rewarded Leaders.


Share your point of view

  1. Remember, the coaching session should never be completely controlled by a process or framework. It should be allowed to flow based upon the needs and desires of the coachee. Some times the coachee will just need to “blow off steam”, we should create a safe and inviting container to do allow that to happen.

    It’s not about us as coaches, it’s about being there to listen, guide, and enable the coachee to get better at their own pace.

    Be Safe and Be Agile