Updated: Aug 10, 2021
This is how I opened my turn as the client during my last peer coaching session.
Peer coaching is two coaches, each taking turns as coach and client. We’re honing our skills while also getting an opportunity to work on our own growth and goals in the client role.
So, on this particular day, I was frustrated. It started pretty much first thing in the morning, and I felt it from head to toe.
Step one, for me, when this feeling comes up is to get the body moving. My home workout was great, but I hadn’t shaken that feeling of frustration and tension.
I decided that I’d use my coaching session that afternoon to work on the issue. Until then, be still and take inventory.
When we are in the client role, we don’t use hypothetical situations. Even in peer coaching, each of us is working on our own “big goals” - and for me this frustration, this tension, was getting in the way of my progress at the moment.
We use the beginning of the session to establish the topic / agreement and the goals for the session. I’d clearly established my topic, and with a little work I set out my goals for the session: Name this feeling (which we’ve covered), evaluate it, determine how to act.
The “evaluate it” part of our session went something like this.
Me: [Begins to explain generally what I’m feeling and what I know about it so far.]
Coach: “Tell me more.” (3 words. That’s it.)
Me: “Well...” [explains a bit more]
Coach: [Probing, thoughtful question]
Me: “Hmm.” [Silent, stopping to think, building more awareness, more perspective.]
We spent the majority of the session using exchanges like the one above to build perspective around the issue. Figuring out how it fit into the big picture. Its source, its impact.
Building awareness was only part of my goal though. Before closing the session, I still had to figure out what to do next. How am I going to use this awareness?
It was a very good coaching session. We close by checking in with the client. Did we hit the goals we established for the session? What else do you need before we close?
We named our topic and goals, and after the session there was measurable progress. I had my awareness and action plan, plus I just felt better after the session. I knew what I was going to do, and very importantly, I knew why I was going to do it. Nothing else needed.
--- --- ---
Coaching is a forward-focused, growth- and goal-oriented exercise. This session helped me build awareness around an obstacle, and align my short-term actions with my “big goals” and my values.
It was not a typical session, per se, yet coach and client were able to reach the desired outcome because as coaches we trust the process. That process helps clients understand how issues presented in each session fit into their larger goals, provides accountability, and is a proven method to build and sustain positive momentum toward your objectives.
The broad applicability of that process is what makes coaching such a versatile and powerful tool.
 Yes, it can be this simple. Sometimes to goal can be clarity around an issue or problem. As long as there is agreement on the topic and the measurable outcomes, the topic can be anything of the client’s choosing.  As coaches, we aren’t robotically following a script, but we aren’t shooting from the hip either. It is a process; and my coach did a good job moving through the steps: Agreement, Awareness, Sharing Observations, Inquiry to Values and Overall Coaching Goals, etc.
About the Author:
Matt Beckmann is the Founder & Managing Director of Ascent Consultants. In addition to experience as a former Chief of Staff to the Missouri Auditor and as a Corporate Vice President and General Counsel, he has advanced training and certifications in law, business, coaching, athletics, and leadership. His blog content, inspired by his deep passion for unlocking his reader's best potential, consistently equips business owners and individuals with the knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles that may be hindering growth.
Ascent Consultants provides business and strategy consulting, executive and leadership coaching, and leadership assessments. By converting client growth goals into an actionable "game plan," we help companies and individuals unlock their full potential.