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Frame Up Your Coaching Meetings!

4 Oct 2023 10:17 AM | Kathy Harman (Administrator)

I've written before about the importance of establishing agreement at the beginning of the coaching meeting.  Since ICF posted their Core Competency update in 2019, and the subsequent assessment tools (PCC Markers, ACC BARS, MCC BARS), it's very apparent that establishing a clear, measurable outcome at the beginning of the meeting is critical to the success of the meeting.  And yet, so many coaches have trouble with this important skill.  For it is a skill, one that you can practice to improve.  The more you practice, the more easily it flows until you achieve unconscious competence.

On part of establishing agreement that is often overlooked is the exploration of what needs to be covered to achieve the desired outcome.  Obviously this question would be asked after a clear, measurable outcome is agreed upon.  This question is a powerful one that accomplishes several important things:

  1. It creates a framework for the meeting, a nice outline for how the meeting should go
  2. It involves the client in creating the direction of the meeting
  3. It helps deepen the understanding in both coach and client of what might be involved in this journey towards the outcome


There are many ways to ask this question.  Some examples (and you would want to ask these in your own language, not mine):

  • What do you think we need to cover for you to feel comfortable at a level 10 talking to your boss?
  • What might we need to address to achieve this outcome?
  • What values(strengths, strategies) can you call upon to help you know how to deal with your situation at work?
  • What do we need to address for you to be the person you want to be in this situation?

 The essence of the question is inviting the client to co-create the meeting.  They may answer "I don't know", in which case the coach can simply ask them where they'd like to begin.  However, they often carefully consider their answer and reply with a beautiful outline of the meeting.

As the meeting progresses, and the client gains insights that changes their perspective, the coach can check back with them to ensure they are on the right track, for example "Now that you realize that, how might that change what we need to cover to reach the outcome we agreed on?"  Of course the whole track of the meeting might change, including the outcome, in which case the coach would establish a new agreement.

If you have never used this approach, consider adding it to your repertoire.  You may be amazed at how it so beautifully frames the coaching meeting while strengthening the partnership with the client as you both co-create the meeting.


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