How To Build A Coaching Plan Template
Want to be a more effective coach? It starts with a coaching plan! Learn the 5 process elements you need to implement to help your clients achieve their goals.
People hire a coach in order to make a change to their status quo. And as a coach, it’s your role to facilitate that process. So when it comes to catalyzing lasting change, how do you reliably move each of your clients from Point A to Point B?
It starts with having a plan!
A coaching plan lets your client know what to expect from the process. It ensures you’re both on the same page, and provides a reference point from which to monitor and track progress.
By taking the time to lay out a clear strategy at the start of each new coaching relationship, you are co-creating a roadmap for both you and your client to refer to over time. This, in turn, helps to clarify expectations and exponentially increases your impact as a coach.
In this article, we walk you through the process of developing a simple coaching plan template. We encourage you to make it your own, adding in elements that are unique to your practice!
Elements of A Coaching Plan Template
A good coaching plan includes the following components:
- Intake Information
- Coaching Agreement
- Coaching Goals
- Coaching Session Template
- Progress Indicators
1) Intake Information
When a prospective client contacts you, you’ll want a process in place to gather some basic demographic information. Many online scheduling systems include the ability to collect information when a client books an initial discovery session. You can also invite the prospect to complete a simple form online, via email, or through another method.
Information you'll want to obtain:
- First and last name
- Contact information
- A short description of what they are seeking support with
- Confidentiality policy consent
During the Discovery Session, you’ll explore the prospective client’s goals for coaching. Should the client choose to retain your services, your next step is to clarify and affirm those goals for inclusion in the coaching agreement.
An initial goal for coaching might sound like:
- Evaluate my next steps professionally and secure a new position
- Cultivate a greater sense of self trust and confidence
- Complete a first draft of my novel
- Develop healthy habits to help reach my ideal weight
2) Coaching Agreement
Creating the coaching agreement is “the ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship.” - ICF Code of Ethics
A coaching agreement is more than a legal document. It sets the stage for the entire relationship between coach and client!
A strong coaching contract helps to:
- Affirm the client’s goals for life coaching
- Establish boundaries in the coaching relationship
- Anticipate challenges before they arise
At a minimum, you’ll want your coaching agreement template to include:
- Definition of Coaching
- Fees, Payment Expectations, Refund Policy
- Right to Terminate
If you are logging client hours toward your ICF credential, remember to disclose this as part of your confidentiality agreement.
For more information on how to create a coaching agreement template for your practice, check out our guide: How To Create A Coaching Contract.
3) Coaching Goals
Once the coaching engagement is underway, you’ll want to really flesh out your client’s goal to ensure mutual understanding. Take the time to get a 360 degree view of your client’s world, and the significance of what they’re hoping to achieve through your work together.
One coaching framework that can be useful in this process is the 5-D Framework. Drawn from the field of Appreciative Inquiry, 5-D is a conversation model that helps your client develop a clear vision of what they’d like to achieve, along with the specifics of how to get there.
Depending upon the length and intent of the coaching engagement, this exploration could potentially span multiple sessions. For big dreams or goals, you could easily spend an entire session on just one of these steps.
Here’s how it works:
- Define: What do you want to create?
- Discover: What strengths and experiences do you have that can help make it happen?
- Dream: What will it look like?
- Design: How will you get there?
- Destiny: Experiment, learn, and evolve the plan.
4) Coaching Session Template
A new coaching agreement is made between you and your client at the start of every session. It happens when you establish the focus of the conversation, and the outcomes your client hopes to achieve that day.
A simple way to contract at the start of every coaching call is by working through the following questions with your client.
Contracting The Session
- What do you want to achieve in this session?
- What’s important about this topic for you today?
- How will we know if we have gotten to the root of your topic?
- What specifically will you walk away with?
Depending upon your client’s agenda, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to half the session to identify what they want to achieve from the conversation. Resist the impulse to rush this step if your client initially seems unclear! Often, the simple act of clarifying what a client really wants out of the session will generate important insights.
Once you know the desired outcome for the day, it’s time for your coaching session framework to kick in.
If you’ve been through an ICF-accredited coach training program, we’re willing to bet that you’ve learned at least one evidence-based coaching framework. At Lumia Coaching, we include four in our curriculum!
One method we teach is “The Hallway Conversation.” It’s a simple and effective coaching technique for guiding a session, moving through three questions with your client:
- Where are you now?
- Where do you want to be?
- What’s getting in the way?
Frameworks help us understand the coaching relationship from a process perspective, while also addressing the need for structure in the session. But just because there’s a process running behind the scenes doesn’t mean we need to be rigid or uptight about it! How YOU implement a given coaching framework will also be flavored by your own unique approach and coaching philosophy.
5) Progress Indicators
Putting a client’s goal into action is where the rubber meets the road in coaching. Once they have clarified a desired future vision, your role as coach is to help them make a plan, identify the internal and external resources they need to achieve it, and take clear steps forward.
The ICF defines “planning and goal setting” as the ability to develop and maintain an effective coaching plan with the client. This means that special consideration needs to be given to HOW your clients set goals.
To that end, the ICF favors SMART goal setting theory as a framework for goal setting.
A SMART Goal is:
R: Realistic (within your client’s control)
T: Time Sensitive
Whatever framework you choose, your role in the process is to support your client in clarifying what they want to do, how, and by when. For additional ideas on how to do this, you might enjoy this short ICF blog post: Beyond SMART Goals.
While not every coaching session has to end with a tactical “next step,” it’s helpful to conclude each conversation with a check-in and measure of progress. Make sure you leave sufficient time at the end to explore the following.
Session Recap & Next Steps
- What were your takeaways from today’s session?
- Is there a next action you’d like to commit to?
- How will you measure success?
- Are there any obstacles or challenges that you anticipate?
- Are there any resources or support you need in order to take this action?
- How would you like to be held accountable?
Remember, in the coaching relationship your client is always in the driver’s seat. Goals, progress, and measures of success are ultimately defined by them. Your role as coach is simply to facilitate an effective process. Having a well thought out coaching plan template helps you do just that, from start to finish!
Ready To Increase Your Impact?
Coaching is a rapidly growing field that is continuously evolving. Even for seasoned coaches, there’s always more to discover. If you’ve not already earned your ICF coaching certification, there’s no better time than now to get started! Come check out Lumia Life Coach Training - a program that's every bit as unique as you are. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, business instruction to prepare you for liftoff as an entrepreneur, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a collective force for good.