Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the end of a coaching session to first ask what actions the client is going to take. Here is a foolproof way to integrate many of the core coaching competencies in a way that supports your client get what they want from coaching.
Whenever you ask a question, make an observation, give a message or a reflection, listen for those moments when the client says something like, “Whoa! That’s a great question,” or the client is taking some time to respond. These are clues that the client is creating awareness for themselves.
This is a critical time in a coaching session. Pause. Be silent. Listen intently. Stop thinking that you need to ask another question. It’s time for the coach to be fully present and allow the client to process what they are becoming aware of.
Then at the appropriate time, ask the client a question as to what awareness they are getting. This will naturally lead to a question such as, “What would you like to do with that awareness?” And whammo! You are in to designing actions.
You will have integrated the core competencies of coaching presence, active listening, creating awareness and designing actions. And maybe a powerful question or some direct communication you asked created the potential for awareness to emerge in the client. Plus trust and intimacy will deepen because the client will feel you are present with them and helping them to take their awareness forward.
Listen to this 1 minute, 30 second audio of my colleague, Karen Boskemper who described the power of doing this and the validating feedback she received in her certification exam.
Be present to shifts in the energy of the client, where you can sense they are churning something over by their silence, or they are taking their time to respond. If you step over these points in a coaching session, you miss golden opportunities for the client to ground their emerging awareness in to potential actions.