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Masterful Coaching Series: How to Effectively Close a Coaching Session

Dec 13, 2021

In this article, you’ll discover some of the key techniques and models used by Masterful Coaches, to effectively close a coaching session: one of the most overlooked skills in the world of coaching.

One of the challenges is most coaches want to give, give, give. And while this is one of the most admirable qualities of coaches, it often leads to giving right until the last minute of the session. Always trying to do one more thing.

Yet leaving no time to properly close the session in a way that allows the new learnings to be fully integrated can have the opposite effect.

And then there are many coaches who perhaps don’t recognise the importance of closing a session to secure, digest and become consciously aware of new learning. And what it means for the client to commit to and embody new ways of being and doing in their world. This can have the impact of diminishing the powerful learning created.

Most Coaches Don’t Have an Effective Closing Sequence

At the end of a session, some coaches find they're almost tripping over themselves trying to wrap up the session.

Your client might be emotional or in a state of deep reflection and awareness. And if you leave yourself with too little time at the end, you’re not preparing the client to ‘come out of themselves... Out of the coaching conversation and back into their world of reality.

Many coaches find themselves rushing at the end and then trying to close off the session too quickly.

This results in the client being jolted out of their reflective state.

So closing a session mindfully, thoughtfully and purposefully can be the process that brings everything together for your client powerfully.

Closing Strategies of Masterful Coaches

Below we share ways to close in a way that supports a psychologically safe place for your clients and for them to really recognise the new state of awareness they’ve developed: their learnings and their commitments.

And to walk away confidently from the session with the feeling that ‘I’ve got this.’

Trying on Commitments with Future Pacing and Role Play... and Testing the Commitments Out

So, what do we mean by supporting your clients to ‘try on’ their commitments?

Many of the challenges or successes we experience in life are due to the patterns we run and the inputs that trigger those patterns.

When partnering with a client to support them to uncover their old beliefs and patterns - particularly deeply ‘programmed in’ unconscious beliefs (such as “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not worthy”) and patterns of behaviour (for example, sabotage or "playing small") - we can support our clients to rediscover who they really are.

Once our client understands who they authentically are - we then ask them who they are choosing to be from this moment on and what they are doing and creating.

We can ask them to imagine what they will see, hear and feel in the future as they step into the ways they have decided to be and what actions they are taking.

This is called a 'Future Pace' when they imagine their compelling future.

We can also support them to imagine when the old challenges and triggers come along how they will choose to handle those old scenarios in a different and empowering way.

This means our clients get to reprogramme themselves and start to create new neural pathways of being and doing so they live the life they want to experience - and handle the old challenges that arise in a much more empowering way. But by practicing the new ways of experiencing their world, they get to create different outcomes and emotions.

For example, let’s say you’re coaching a client who’s struggling with having difficult conversations… In your work together you have supported them to understand their limiting beliefs, uncover the patterns of behaviour that do not serve them, you’ve worked with their triggers and emotions and assisted them to understand their personal power and confidence and so much more. And by creating deep awareness about their truth for themselves, the client also practices stepping into their most courageous self to ‘be with and do’ the difficult conversations while in the coaching session.

It can really be very powerful to support the client to ‘test out’ those possible taxing conversations which may occur in the future so they are able to embody all the learning and actually practice the strategies for success and effectively manage the conversations that arise. This can be practiced in a role play or by experiencing a future pace in the session.

As a coach, you can ask questions like:

'Imagine the possibility of experiencing a difficult conversation, what steps will you take now?'
'When you take those steps, what are they specifically?’
'What are the outcomes?’
'What are you noticing?’

By asking these types of questions, you are supporting them to programme their Reticular Activating System (RAS), the area of our mind that's like the Google search engine - looking and seeking out what is installed into our conscious and unconscious mind.

WHO and WHAT… and the BE, DO, HAVE Model

We use a beautiful model we share in our training, called the BE, DO, HAVE Model to support a closing session. In this model, it asks: WHO the client is the BEING and based on who they choose to BE and what they will commit to DO - what they will HAVE and experience in their world.

You can use this model to further integrate the learnings during your close, by having your client look at…
WHO are they BEing at work? At home? In any situation and circumstance!
WHO is this person at the end of the conversation versus the beginning of the conversation?
WHO they are going to BE from this moment on?

WHAT actions are they going to DO to move themselves forward?
WHAT will they specifically DO which represents who they want to BE?
WHAT are they discovering about their patterns of BEhaviour, their ability to learn, their ability to shift perspectives?
WHAT are the differences that they're experiencing?

And finally...
WHAT will they HAVE when they choose to BE and DO what they have come to understand about themselves and their decisions based on new understanding and awareness?

Acknowledging & Championing, Reflecting and Accountability

In closing, we want to further reinforce what the client has done in the session and who they will be in the future by Acknowledging and Championing them: reflecting back to them the journey they’ve been through and the deep, transformational work they’ve done during the session.

Just like a mirror, we can allow the client to see, hear and feel who they really are through the eyes of someone who experiences them in their true light!

It can also be powerful to ask the client how they would like to acknowledge themselves, and how they would like to keep themselves accountable to what they are committing to.

This can support clients to take 100 per cent responsibility for their results.

How to Close a Session When You Only Have a Few Minutes?

Sometimes, things might come up during a session that leaves you with only a few minutes to close. Perhaps your client was so deep into a challenge that you felt the best thing was to continue down that path, but now you’ve only got a few minutes left. So, in this case, you might:
Ask them what they have learned about themselves during the session
Ask what they would like to commit to (it might just be journaling or reflecting on the session)
It’s important you still perform a close sequence to allow them to integrate the session and allow them to be conscious of what they are taking away from the session.

And we encourage you - as much as possible - to allow a good portion of the session to close. Especially if your tendency is to go right to the last minute (or overtime) coaching.

Closing Effectively Will Make Your Work Transformational

Closing a session effectively can be one of the most powerful parts of coaching.

Don't discount this part of the session. It is a beautiful process and masterful coaches recognise it by giving as much value to the close as to the other parts of the session.

By taking them through these questions and ‘trying on’ their new commitments and ways of being, you’re creating new neurological pathways that reinforce and really embed the learnings.

This is what supports powerful mindset changes. This is when your work becomes transformational.

In closing...

As much as possible, close your session with the following quetions:
‘What sort of things are you taking away from this session?'
'Is there anything that's holding you back?'
'What are you experiencing when you go out into the future?'
'What is different now?'
'What are you learning about yourself?'

Start recording your sessions (with the client’s permission) and listen to your work and notice if you seem to be jolting clients out of a session or if you're constantly going over time.

Ask yourself how you can support yourself to be really effective in the time that you have.

If you are finding that you're running overtime, or simply want to improve your closing, that is a wonderful opportunity for supervision or mentoring.

Having someone with thousands of hours of experience and proven systems and models can support you to go from being a good or even great coach… to being a masterful coach by highlighting where you can improve and then giving you the tools to do so.

It's a beautiful opportunity for self-development and self-growth to understand how you can be even more effective and transformational as a coach to support your clients to create their own beautiful transformations.

Click here to read more about the Empower World Coach Mentoring Programme or Coaching Supervision services.

Now, go and experiment with becoming a master of closing your sessions… and let us know what a difference it makes to your coaching and your client’s results.

Closing A Session To Support Ongoing Awareness And Transformation

Closing a session is just as important as creating awareness in a session - in fact - it creates even more awareness by supporting our clients to step into who they want to be and what they are committing to doing going forward so they step into their compelling future immediately.

Listen to Empower World's Coaching and Leadership Podcast Episode 170 here.

Episode-170 can be found here:
Direct Link: https://bit.ly/3Gaj1Jc
YouTube: https://youtu.be/h9ggzI9wogw
‪Stitcher: http://bit.ly/st-podcast-episode-170
Spotify: https://bit.ly/sp-podcast-episode-170
iTunes: http://bit.ly/EW-Podcast-iTune​

About Empower World
Originating in Doha, Qatar in the Middle East, Empower World is now global organisation with a presence in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia / Australasia. Empower World provides ICF Approved coach training (foundation and advanced), coach mentoring for credentialing purposes, coaching supervision, life and executive coaching, bespoke training and workshops and facilitation services for leaders and people who want real, purposeful, wisdom and heart-lead change.

#Coach #Training #icfdohachapter #Mentoring #ICF #Supervision #Coaching #Life
#Organisational #Development #Mastery #Executive #newperspectives #Change #Management #Skils #Leadership #Development #Presence #Personal #Development #Fulfilment #Team Building #MiddleEast #Australia #UK #Europe #Singapore #Asia
#leadership #leaders #doha #qatar

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