A group of coaches, when polled on the October Heart and Soul of Coaching call, unanimously agreed: Success is personal and internal.

The coaches were asked, What is your definition of success?

Their responses included:

  • Being on a really cool journey and enjoying it; learning and trying out new things, growing as I move toward a specific accomplishment.
  • Being happy, content and at peace with where I am.
  • Trusting myself so deeply that I no longer need to be perfect.

You may have noticed what was missing from the conversation: External validators or material attainments as the basis for success. Not surprisingly, this same internal focus is behind the most successful coaching sessions.

When I say highly successful coaching sessions, I’m not talking about when clients have moved from point A to point B, or achieved a specific goal.

Nope. I’m talking about those coaching interactions in which you, coach, feel as if you’ve hit a home run and the crowd goes wild and your client feels as if s/he has won the World Series.

Can that happen when they move from A to B or achieve a goal? Sure. But linear progress and goal attainment aren’t the reason for home run experiences and can, in fact, get in the way when you and your client get attached to a specific outcome.

So how do you hit those home runs, consistently? And, more importantly, how do you support your clients with experiencing that sense of winning the game?

It all starts with the beginning of any coaching session and how you set the session up to be cohesive and focused. In other words, the agreed-upon agenda for the session. The most elegant and productive coaching sessions will have a central thread running throughout the session, based in what the client wants to get from the session AND the client’s ability to recognize the value they walk away with at the end of the session.

This is a key element in a successful session: Your client needs to recognize the value in what they are getting, seeing, hearing, feeling.

What this means for you as a coach? It is imperative that you know how to support your client’s learning in the session as well as their ability to recognize and apply that learning.

Why do I insist this is so?

Because without the learning, sustained change will not occur. Without the learning, new possibilities aren’t evident or accessible for your client. And unless your client knows that they have learned and understands how to apply that learning in their lives, any change that occurs may be transparent to them.

They may not recognize the powerful impact coaching has on them.

Said another way: They won’t see the value you and your work bring to their lives.

Consider: How successful do you as a coach feel when your clients don’t fully appreciate the value they receive from your work???

Not so much, right?

So how, you might be wondering, do you help clients recognize the value in the coaching? In your work? (and in their investment with you!)

Creating recognition – and appreciation! – for the value in your work requires a certain quality of presence from  you as the coach.

This quality of presence is based in your authenticity and willingness to be vulnerable and allows you speak to whatever shows up in the session. You share what you notice and use that to invite discovery. You speak to what is present and invite truth to surface. And in being so genuine yourself in service to your client’s growth you invite ever deepening connection and trust.

How this translates to the perception of value and success is this:

  • With the deeper connection, your intuition is more accessible and your listening becomes deeper, clearer, sharper.
  • Your depth of commitment to the client shines through, helping your client trust you, which means you can engage and explore resistance more fully when it shows up.
  • You expand your capacity to allow your client the gift of their discomfort AND remain present to work with the discomfort in powerful ways, trusting the value that is oh-so-available in the process.

Bottom line: Highly successful coaching sessions result when the coach’s quality of presence (way of being) fosters the connection and trust needed to explore what is true. Establishing and grounding a clear focus for the session creates a context for learning in each session. Your ability to help your client recognize and apply learning helps clients see and appreciate the value in your work.

Everyone wins – over and over again, because your client learns how to find satisfaction in the unfolding journey. They are freed from attachment to outcome and able to value the learning and application of learning along the way. The paradox is: Bigger, better and faster results can actually occur, delighting your clients and adding to the already abundant value in your work.

Now…how cool is that?

In celebration of the home runs you hit in service to your clients!


If you like this article, you’ll enjoy the audio of the conversation behind the article, the October, 2013 Heart and Soul of Coaching call. Access the recording here. And join us in the ongoing monthly conversation! Want to do some deeper work in developing your ability to have highly successful coaching sessions? Email me at lynallen@ritternet.com to explore options.