The right coaching techniques, coupled with your ability to build and maintain engagement, are what will ultimately help your client achieve their goals.
But what works like magic for one coach and context won’t necessarily translate into another setting – it’s all about using the right tools for the job. Read on to learn about (and implement!) some of the most effective techniques used by expert coaches today.
3 Effective Coaching Techniques To Use With Clients
Whether you’re a professional coach or a leading others in the workplace, it’s essential to have a good grasp of fundamental coaching techniques if you want to be effective.
We’ve curated a list of the most important techniques and tools that can be applied in a wide range of contexts, from life coaching to job coaching. Here are three to start with – feel free to adapt them to suit any niche.
1. Pre-Coaching Questionnaire
A pre-coaching questionnaire is a powerful technique to prepare both yourself and your client at the start of a program.
As a coach, it can help you learn about your client’s background, aspirations, and expectations of the journey ahead; for clients, it can initiate self-reflective thinking before the coaching program begins.
A Pre-Coaching Questionnaire like the example shown below is frequently used during intake, but can also be shared at the start of coaching sessions to help clients recap progress and clarify their focus.
2. The Wheel of Life
To be effective, a coaching program should be tailored to a client’s particular goals and challenges, but not every coachee comes to coaching with a clear view of their ambitions.
That’s where assessments like the Wheel of Life, pictured below, can be essential.
The Wheel of Life is an assessment that can be used to reveal how satisfied clients are with their life in general, as well as in specific domains such as work, health, and family.
In life coaching especially, this tool is typically used in a discovery session to gauge a client’s sense of life fulfillment.
This technique is easy to use, with only a few simple steps:
- Invite your clients to rate their satisfaction with each of the life domains on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 = highly satisfied).
- When the Wheel is completed, you and your clients can look at the domains with a low satisfaction score that require more of their attention.
- Now, you can discuss why these domains might require more attention and how the client’s satisfaction score could be raised in these domains.
With life coaching software like Quenza, you can customize a ready-made Wheel of Life template (shown above) into a whole range of coaching tools. A few examples include the Wheel of Needs, Strengths, or Values.
3. Goal Visualization
Mental imagery or visualization is a niche-agnostic coaching technique that can be used to build motivation at any stage throughout a program.
Envisioning desired outcomes (outcome-focused visualization), or the steps for getting there (process-focused visualization) can have a range of benefits for clients.
A few examples include increased expectations of success and the initiation of planning and problem-solving actions, both of can have a positive impact on progress.
The Quenza Goal Visualization activity, above, is a guided meditation that takes your coachee through the mental imagery process. An excerpt from the transcript is provided below:
“With your personal goal in mind, I would like you to imagine yourself going forward in time into the future… going forward one week… two weeks… three weeks….
Training Methods To Apply
Although there is some overlap between coaching and training, especially in the workplace, it’s important not to confuse the two:
- Coaching is about providing guidance and support to help clients achieve their goals, which may be self-set.
- Training, on the other hand, typically describes a one-way transfer of information. Here, the goal is to develop a learner’s skills.
With that said, it can be helpful for leaders to adopt a particular coaching style when training employees. You can discover what style might suit you best in our article: 6 Essential Coaching Models & Styles: GROW and Beyond
Coaching and Mentoring In The Workplace: 3 Tips For Managers
So what approaches can you use to coach employees in the workplace?
As with any coaching context, there is a wide range of techniques you can draw on to help your employees achieve their goals.
The following, however, are universal:
- Active listening can help you establish trust and a psychologically safe climate for coaching, both of which are essential for success. Listening actively involves applying a suite of techniques to help your employee feel supported and understood: paying attention, withholding judgment, reflecting, clarifying, summarizing, and sharing.
- Strength spotting helps you and your employee to identify their strengths, which they can leverage in their coaching journey. A range of assessments can be used when applying this technique; Quenza’s Strengths Self-Reflective Questions approach (shown below) is one example. This exercise asks self-reflective questions, for example: Think about a few of your favorite hobbies or activities. What is it about these activities that you enjoy, and how do these activities put your strengths to use?
- Asking open-ended coaching questions can encourage your employee to consider their goals, options, and actions, depending on where they are in their coaching journey. Questions that invite your coachee to elaborate are an incredibly important way to invite reflection in a coaching journey while building a strong two-way relationship that promotes development.
For examples of effective workplace coaching, take a look at our full article on the topic: Coaching in the Workplace: Your Complete Guide For Success.
If you’re ready to start mentoring in the workplace, we’ve also reviewed the 3 Best Online Coaching and Mentoring Software Programs.
2+ Unique Coaching Tools And Their Uses
Looking for more coaching tools and techniques? The following might suit your client and your context.
1. Implementation Intentions
There are many reasons why clients fail to act on their best intentions, even when we are highly motivated to do so.
As a coach, “If-then” planning is one motivational coaching technique you can use to help clients bridge this “intention-action” gap.
Implementation Intentions is a Quenza Expansion based on the “If-Then” coaching technique. Working through this exercise, clients can increase their probability of successful goal attainment by deiding on goal-directed behaviors to pursue if things don’t go according to plan.
In this exercise, your client will:
- Think about and describe a goal that they want to reach in the near future
- List the actions they need to take to achieve the stated goal
- Plan when they will carry out the actions described
- Reshape their answers as implementation intentions, using the formula provided: If……(situation)……I will…..(action)…..in order to…
2. Exploring The Benefits of Change
Asking open-ended questions is one of the most effective ways of eliciting change talk in coachees, as we’ve seen.
It is also an important component of motivational interviewing, a coaching technique that can help your clients overcome ambivalence and make meaningful changes in their lives.
Quenza’s Exploring The Benefits Of Change tool provides you with a structured way to help clients evaluate the benefits of taking action, which in turn can promote positive changes in their lives.
A few example questions from the exercise are as follows:
- What would you like to change in your life?
- By changing this particular thing, how might your situation improve?
- Imagine you are 1 month into the future: how would it be like to have this improved situation?
Looking for health coaching techniques, business coaching techniques, and tools for different sectors? Check out our full guide, with examples of how to use them: 21 Impactful Coaching Tools & Exercises for Coaches
3+ Life Coaching Techniques
Are you a professional in need of effective life coaching techniques to suit your niche?
You might find some inspiration in this list:
- Invite clients to create a Self-Contract: This technique encourages clients to formalize their goals with a contract, which can encourage them to take accountability for their progress
- Help your clients identify life domains that require more attention with a Life Domain Satisfaction Survey. This technique is a handy way to assess your clients’ satisfaction in 16 different life domains, e.g. money, work, and relationships.
- Using the Japanese ikigai concept, you can clients discover their direction where their skills and passions overlap with market demand and opportunities. Quenza’s Finding Your Ikigai Expansion can help you apply this well-established career coaching technique in practice.
Click here for an illustrated guide to 21 more life coaching techniques and tools.
Coaching is much easier when you’ve got a few powerful techniques to draw on. Now that you’ve got some inspiration, feel free to use them in your sessions!
All these example coaching techniques are waiting to be customized and shared with your clients. Start your $1 trial Quenza trial today and tailor them to suit your client’s needs and goals!
Frequently Asked Questions
These include active listening, questioning, empathy, feedback, and goal setting. Active listening involves being fully present and engaged in the conversation, while questioning helps clients explore their thoughts and feelings. Empathy enables coaches to connect with the client’s emotions and experiences, while feedback provides constructive advice for performance improvement. Finally, goal setting helps clients set and achieve specific, measurable, and realistic objectives.
The four common types include executive coaching, life coaching, career coaching, and business coaching. Executive coaching focuses on improving the performance and decision-making skills of leaders and executives. Life coaching supports clients in achieving personal and professional goals, enhancing their overall quality of life. Career coaching helps clients identify and pursue career goals and navigate transitions. Finally, business coaching helps entrepreneurs and business owners improve their strategies and performance.
Firstly, establishing the coaching agreement by defining goals, expectations, and the coaching process. Secondly, building trust and rapport between the coach and client. Thirdly, assessing the current state by evaluating strengths, challenges, and current situations. Fourthly, defining the desired state by identifying specific goals and desired outcomes. Fifthly, creating an action plan to achieve the desired outcomes. Sixthly, implementing and monitoring progress towards goals. Finally, evaluating and celebrating success by reviewing progress, evaluating results, and celebrating successes achieved.