Questions for Establishing the Coaching Agreement

Questions that help a coach to focus the client on establishing the coaching agreement
Oftentimes, a coaching session starts with checking in on actions taken since last coaching session. Out of this discussion may come the focus for this session, or it may be something different.

The first question you ask in a coaching session to establish the coaching outcome sets the tone for how the client responds. In order to establish the coaching agreement, you need to ask questions that best support the client to gain clarity about what they want to accomplish by the end of the session.

I’ve gathered some typical questions I hear coaches use and grouped into two sets. Which set¬†do you think contains the most effective questions?

What will help us get started?
What’s on your mind?
What’s happening?
What’s up?
How can I help you?

Set #2
What would be valuable to explore today?
What would you like to work on or discuss, that would really make a difference to you?
How would you like to use this time together today?
What would you like to move forward today?
What would you like to accomplish by the end of our session?

The first set of questions aren’t bad questions and some may be relevant to ask. Yet most are open-ended to the point that the client may¬†meander through their thoughts, thereby delaying¬†the client from honing in on what is most important to them¬†to accomplish for this coaching session.


Some coaches may ask a general question from Set #1 and then ask a follow up question from set #2. So you need to determine if it might serve your client to be more direct in the first place with your question. Help the client begin to consider their focus, so you can help them to establish an effective coaching outcome for the session.

What do you think? What questions have you used that have been effective at the beginning of a coaching session?¬†What haven’t?

2 thoughts on “Questions for Establishing the Coaching Agreement

  1. Where would you like to see some movement today?
    By the end of the call, what would you like to have more of that you don’t have now?
    If this call were a huge success, what would you like to have more of you don’t have now?

    Carly, a great laser like post. Well done.

  2. Excellent suggestions, as not every question will resonate every coach and client. A question that I have found helpful that focuses on the end result is “What are the top 3 outcomes you would like to get from Coaching?”

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