August 26, 2022
As Kirsten is still on holiday, here’s another post from me, Roy Marriott. (In case you missed last week’s intro, I’m a SolutionsAcademy trainer and mentor coach, an MCC with the ICF, and I’ve been using Solution Focus since 1992. I also have a background in software – Agile Coaching is a particular interest of mine.)
This week I’m writing about finishing coaching sessions well.
Let’s start with a simple overview, and then apply it to various situations – hopefully one of which will match yours!
When it comes to bringing a coaching session to a close, I think about three main things:
Now, let’s see how these apply to a number of different situations. Feel free to jump to the one that interests you the most, and skip the rest! And please bear in mind these are just starting points, and they’re in my style – please improve them and make them your own!
Suppose you’re a leader and someone in your team has come to you with a problem. You’ve spent 10 minutes with them, asking them coaching questions that have led them to think of a good way forward.
In this case you obviously want to keep it short and sweet, so you might simply ask,
Or if you think they might need a bit more clarity on how to get started, you might ask a couple of questions like:
Suppose you’re an Agile coach, and you’ve been working with two teams in conflict. You asked them what they want instead of conflict, and they said “better collaboration.” They’ve come up with a list of specific ways they’re ready, willing and able to collaborate better.
What does a good finish look like now? There are a million ways to do this, of course, but here’s one:
So now let’s imagine you’re coaching someone 1-1, and you’re coming to the end of a session. What does a good finish look like?
At ACC level, the ICF are looking for “translating awareness into action”, “specific action plans” and a little partnering to close the session.
So the finish might be as simple as:
At PCC level you’d got quite a menu to choose from – there are 9 markers within the “Facilitates Client Growth” competency! The good news is that it is a menu – you only need to address half of them for the session to be at PCC level.
Here are some classic questions you might like to have on your personal menu for finishing a coaching session:
At MCC level, the emphasis shifts to making the conversation as natural and “fully connected” as possible. There’s more partnering – the whole session is co-created with the client. There’s an emphasis on allowing the client plenty of opportunity to reflect on progress, learnings and insights during the session, not just at the end.
So Partnering to close moves right into the foreground – finishing well means partnering with the client to find out what a good finish would be in this case!
You – and your client – might like to consider possibilities from the “menu” we talked about at PCC level above, and include whatever fits best. Some Drawing Together might well be helpful, and you certainly need to make sure there’s been ample opportunity for Thinking Ahead.
Here’s a final tip: leave plenty of time to finish! For example, in a 55 minute coaching session, I’d allow 10 minutes for the finishing (or 15 with a particularly talkative client!)
Now it’s over to you! I hope you find this way of thinking helpful – so you and your clients can enjoy coaching sessions that finish really well.
And if you’re left with questions – about this or any other aspect of coaching, why not join us for a free meetup and exchange session?
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