The Pre-Coaching Checklist

To start this article off, I’d like you to think back over the last couple of weeks – has there been one particular coaching session in which you remember thinking “I reallyyyyy cannot be bothered with this client/ group!”? 

I can bet my house that there has been at least one occasion (I don’t actually own a house, so I’ve very little to lose here). 

How a Pre Coaching Checklist Can Help You

As we are humans, and at times we humans think things we know we probably shouldn’t, there is no doubt that there have been times you’ve encountered other humans you didn’t enjoy working with all that much.

Maybe it’s Mrs Jane on a Tuesday evening that moans about everything and anything, or maybe it’s Mr Hughes who tells you his diet has been perfect yet again, even though he’s not dropped weight for months.

I’d imagine we’ve all got at least one, but I think we can help these situations by putting ourselves into better mindsets before we go into those coaching sessions. 

This is where I feel the pre-coaching checklist has merits. And to provide some individual data, I’ve been using it and there’s been a noticeably positive effect over the last couple of months. I think it’s having this effect as I’m walking into my sessions in a good headspace and I’m fully focussed on the client, which is helping because our relationship is improving and they trust me more. 

What is a Pre Coaching Checklist?

It’s a series of “checkpoints” that you tick off, either on a sheet you could create or in your head. I used a sheet to start with as a reminder. The one below is what I use, and it is by no means the way you have to do things. I like these points because they are unique to me and how I like coaching, yours will likely be different. 

The Checklist 

How is my presentation? –

Are you dressed professionally and smelling like you’re ready to coach someone? Or have you just walked out of your training session still dripping with sweat? People pay us for a service, which means we should professionally present ourselves.

Is there anything I need to note from my previous session? –

Sometimes you leave one session and begin another straight away. I get it, we’re all tight for time, but if you can take 2 minutes to note down anything that needs remembering or dealing with from the last session, I can guarantee you’ll feel that much clearer and more focused. 

Is there anything I was supposed to remember for this session? –

Perhaps it was one client’s birthday, or another had a big presentation at work. If Jenny hurt her knee and is seeing a therapist, you need to ask how it went. Something as small as this shows you care and also that you’re listening.

Are you practising unconditional positive regard? –

The Ninja may not always be right, but the Ninja is always perfect” – Mark Fisher.

It’s so easy for us to wander into sessions with prior judgements about a client. Maybe you know they haven’t stuck to their diet, or maybe you know they just aren’t that interested in being there, but you’ve got to remember that they are great just as they are. It’s not our job to judge but it is our duty to support and create the conditions in which our clients feel happy to be their best selves.

Remind yourself that this could be the most important hour of their day –

I train one lady who never asks a thing about me.

She has no idea that I work for LTB or what I enjoy doing, and she never asks how my day has been even though I train her at 8pm most weeks. For a while, this bothered me… “Why do I put so much into our sessions yet she seems to give zero craps about me?” I’d think. Then, I was reminded that the hour she spends with me is one of the only hours in her entire week where it’s all about her. That is the real reason she comes. 

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