What To Do In Your First Coaching Session With A New Client


Share On

First coaching sessions are always a thing of jitters and nerves! 

In our experience, with a little bit of expectation management, you can easily overcome your jitters, and center yourself for a great first coaching session with your client.

You see, when we walk into a coaching session for the first time, as coaches, we may be subconsciously expecting the session to be this amazing transformative experience for our client. 

But that is rarely so. 

A first coaching session does not solve all the problems and completely transform your client!

First coaching sessions are for you to bring a certain level of clarity, calm, and structure to your client’s mind.
It is for you to really understand where your client is coming from, and what your next steps need to be. 

This slight shift in your expectation setting can help both you and your client have a seamless experience in your first coaching session. 

In this video blog, we will break down the steps you need to properly structure your coaching session

Step 1 – Start With Honesty And Build Rapport

First Coaching Session #1 - Start With Honesty

When a new client is coming into their first coaching session, they may seem a tad bit hesitant, slightly anxious, and a little uncertain. That’s probably because they have not yet fully brought into the idea of having consistent coaching. 

Your job as a coach is to bring all the cards to the table, and share honestly about what might be expected out of a first coaching session. 

Share your personal story with them – introduce yourself, and share how you’re feeling. 

Ask them to open up and share their current mental state, what’s on their mind, how they’re feeling about the coaching session, etc. 

This is a great opportunity for you to build trust and rapport with your client, so they can feel comfortable enough to open up to you. 

Step 2 – Set Up The Context Of The Conversation

First Coaching Session #2 - Set Up Context

Setting up a context to what’s going to happen in the coaching session, or throughout the coaching engagement…

Will help both of you prepare and set up for the right track of conversation. 

This is a great opportunity for both you and your client to express your expectations from the coaching session.

And work together to bring focus to the desired outcome.

Step 3 – Set Boundaries 

First Coaching Session #3 - Set Boundaries

Setting up some loose boundaries goes a long way in elevating the experience of the first coaching session for your client. 

Boundaries at this stage can look like clarifications regarding the logistical set up (example: I expect you to turn off notifications on your phone while we are in the session). 

They can look like clarifications about the duration of the session, and what kind of mental state is expected of the client. (example: During the next 45 minutes, I would love for you to come with a presence of mind so we can have a focused and fruitful conversation.

Step 4 – Establish Where Your Client Is At Today

First Coaching Session #4 - Establish Where Your Client Is

One of the greatest strengths you can develop in a first coaching session is gaining clarity about where your client is at right now, vs where they want to be. 

When you know this, you are better prepared to help bridge the gap, and empower your client to reach their desired state of behavior or action. 

Simple questions like: 

  • Where are you today? 
  • How are you in your emotional state? 
  • How are you in your workplace? 
  • How do you feel about your life right now? 

Can help you establish your client’s emotional, spiritual, professional states. Take a few moments in the first coaching session to explore these questions, and establish your client’s current state. 

Step 5 – Identify Where Your Client Wants To Go

First Coaching Session #5 - Identify Where Your Client Wants To Go

You have already established your client’s current mental state. The next step is to understand their future aspirations and goals, that is, where do they want to go? 

Ask them, Where do you see yourself 1 year from now? 

Questions like this are future paced questions that empower your client to look forward at what’s possible, and then create that reality for themselves.

Getting them to time travel into the future establishes the greatest outcomes they could imagine for themselves. 

Step 6 – Understand Why That Goal Has Not Been Achieved Yet

First Coaching Session #6 - Understand Why That Goal Has Not Yet Been Achieved

This step is crucial in understanding some of the key limiting beliefs or instances that may be holding your client back from achieving their dreams. 

Ask something like: 

What has happened in the past that has held you back from your goals? 

Then go over to exploring whether that past event or circumstance can hold them back in the future, yet again. 

Keep asking questions that will give you clarity regarding what you really need to focus on while coaching your client. 

As your client shares the challenges they have faced in the past, and what they apprehend about the future… 

You will be able to gain insight into your coaching conversation and outcome. 

Step 7 – Establish Expectations In Relation To Their Goal

#7 - Establish Expectations In Relation To That Goal

The final step in this first coaching session would be for you to come out with a very clear picture of what your client is expecting from you, in order to reach their goals in the next one year. 

Ask them, 

What do you need to get to your goal in the next 12 months? 

This will open a floodgate of ideas and strategies that you both can then explore to get to those goals. 

Work through these ideas and strategies to bring awareness and establish a solid action plan or a way forward for your client. 

When you follow all these steps, you will add structure and clarity to your client’s experience of a first coaching session. 

It’s important to remember that a first coaching session is not about immediate transformation, or results… 

But rather about setting up the journey for success.

If you want to dig deeper into understanding the structure of a first coaching session, head over to this YouTube video, now. 

About The Author

Evercoach Team

Evercoach is the premier place to find up-to-date and relevant information about coaching and the coaching industry. Our authors are industry professionals, with years of experience in the coaching industry and some owning their own successful coaching practices.

Related Articles

By: Ajit Nawalkha
By: Ajit Nawalkha
By: Ajit Nawalkha