Quick and elegant techniques for a powerful, productive close to your coaching sessions
Just as in life and in relationships, it’s really easy to feel a sense of incompletion at the end of a coaching interaction. In coaching this is likely to happen when you feel rushed for time during the wrap up portion of the interaction. When this happens it sets you up for self doubt especially when some things don’t get resolved or fully addressed.
I’ll remind you of the message from the April, 2015, Heart and Soul program on Slow Coaching. When you slow down and drop in – fully drop in – to present moment, you are far more likely to:
- Acknowledge aha’s, insights and shifts
- Invite the articulation of those aha’s……into learning
- Invite the translation of learning into application or action
- Partner, partner, partner.
When you inhabit present moment so fully you weave all of these in throughout the entire coaching interaction, then action, commitment and accountability (ACA) are no longer relegated just to the last 5 minutes of a coaching session “because you’re supposed to do this.”
Also, any aspects of conversation related to ACA can be used to invite awareness and learning, and can be an active part of the invitation to choice for your coachee. You can partner to move to ACA at any point in the session, as soon as an insight emerges. So you no longer have to feel rushed to fit all of that in during the final moments of the session when it’s easy to feel crunched for time.
Some examples of language you can use to include ACA and other elements of completion (such as learning) in the conversation:
- It sounds as if you’re seeing that in a new way. Did I hear that correctly? (acknowledgment and confirming question)
- Now that you have this new perspective, what changes? (invitation to articulate learning and possible application of that learning)
- Is this a good place to explore how you apply that insight or would something else be more productive for you now? (partnering while inviting translation of insight into learning and possibly action)
- We have about 10 minutes remaining. Would this be a good place to look at how you will use this session moving forward, or is there something else you want to be sure we address before we wrap up today? (naming the container [10 minutes], invitation for coachee to claim her/his learning from the session and translate that into application, partnering with regard to determine where to focus next in the discussion)
- Are you ready to translate this (insight, idea, shift, etc.) into action, or is there another place to focus that would serve you better? (invitation to move to application via partnering approach)
Notice also how the invitation to accountability woven throughout these responses transcends the basic “tell me what you will do by when” understanding of accountability. The partnering approach incorporates accountability and personal responsibility throughout the interaction; this reinforces the development aspect of coaching.
Let’s also acknowledge there are coaching interactions when there’s simply so much juice or so much intensity, the usual 30-, 45- or 60-minute container may not be sufficient at that time to arrive at a sense of completion. When this happens:
- Acknowledge it.
- Ask the coachee what’s needed for them to feel complete.
- Ask your coachee if s/he would feel supported by emailing you to close the loop in the process OR if they want to bookmark the conversation and pick up at that place in your subsequent session OR what else will serve them best. (remember: partner, partner, partner)
- Allow it to be perfect if/when things are still “up in the air” upon closing the session. That may be exactly what your coachee (or you) need to support the growth process.
Let me hear from you as you play with these approaches to finessing the close of your coaching sessions. Please remember even the last few moments of any conversation hold tremendous possibility for your coachee. Don’t throw them away in your rush to get it all in and get done with the session on time.
In celebration of all you stand for and offer your coachees!