Whether you are a veteran in the coaching industry, or newly certified, he first coaching session with a client is an opportunity to establish trust and rapport, confirming your sense of things based on any assessments. You will also be determining the readiness and energy level of your client for a holistic change.
Discussing a Holistic Assessment with Your Clients
As coaches, we know that we should never assume that assessments completed ahead of the first session will reveal the whole story. We do not really even know yet how our client will respond to the first session, much less anything 12 weeks down the road; the pre-assessment will not give us a reflection of how the client will feel when the first coaching conversation takes place. It’s natural for both of you to be in a mixed state of “selves” during this time.
Also, mistakes or the misinterpretation of questions can sometimes occur when filling out forms. Confirming items that might be significant in working towards a client’s vision, or checking out items that don’t seem to add up, based on other comments in a coaching conversation, is wise.
That’s why it’s so important for coaches to practice mindfulness and to be in the moment with clients, rather than trying to “fix” clients – or being fixated on the results of an assessment. Assessments are helpful as guides; they become contraindicated or more harmful when they include an agenda that is not of our client’s own wishes. This is what triggers client’s to become reluctant, ambivalent or resistant.
Establishing Trust and Rapport
We all know by know how crucial it is to our mission to establish trust and rapport with clients at every coaching session; it is especially true at the initial parts of the first coaching session. Coach and client may be unknown to each other, apart from pre-assessment materials exchanged ahead of time. At this time of your coactive relationship, it is essential for coaches to put clients at ease and to bring them into their confidence through:
- Holding them in positive regard
- Expressing empathy
- Slowing down
- Listening with full attention
- Allowing them to formulate and find their own answers
- Honestly sharing observations
- Under promising and over-delivering
- Being humble in sharing information and advice
- Honoring confidentiality
Try to get a sense of how your client views their experience and learning from doing your assessments – were they open and willing, or were they guarded or reluctant? Always encourage your client to share any feelings, issues, or questions they may have related to the assessment you perform; remember, we always explain why we are doing an assessment prior to getting into the nuts and bolts of it.
Listen to Your Intuition
Pay attention to the emotional state of your client, and listen to your intuition as to their underlying needs, so that you can be the most present for them (coaching presence) and be able to offer an empathy reflection in reply, if appropriate. Be sure the client feels heard and respected, on an emotional level, before moving on.
“What’s working in a positive or ideal state for you right now?” is a simple, but loaded question. In this way, it really becomes the operative question. Regardless of how our client may have rated and prioritized things at the time of the assessment, coaches work with clients at the moment you are both in. Things may have shifted between then and now, for any number of reasons, including what the client learns from taking the assessment before you meet physically.
Be open and flexible – it is your job to stay open and receptive to the energy being presented by your client at any given time; some coaches find benefits of mirroring this energy.
This is the time when you learn your client’s issues – we don’t arrive at this meeting with our own agenda or goals apart from providing structured support for our client’s goals, once they have been determined.
The aim is to honor a flow state while co-construct facets of your client’s real-life experience, as well as their vision. We do not play expert, teacher, advisor or therapist.
How You Can Help
Become a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Holistic health and well-being are essential to overall life success. Now you can earn a credential and gain the skills to help your clients achieve this success.
The time is now for you to enjoy this exciting and rewarding career, which offers you personal fulfillment while improving the lives of others.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.