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During this training session, we will analyse ways of building a relationship with a client in a coaching role.

In your role as a newly qualified coach, you will be allocated to clients to whom you have not met before. This has a number of advantages including; the start of a new professional relationship and in effect a ‘clean slate’. This is often the ‘easiest’ way to coach.

Where you are allocated a client whom you already know, it doesn’t mean that you are unable to coach this person. As we know from earlier often the best coaching relationships are completed informally on a daily basis and others are more long-term. The only condition, in this case, is where you are entering into a fixed coaching agreement you must make sure you thoroughly cover the ground rules and induction session.

Personally, I will not formally coach colleagues with whom I work with closely on a daily basis. The reason for this is that there is always a concern around ‘conflict of interests’ and I find that it becomes difficult for the client (and you) to relax and become open and honest in the coaching sessions. This is a personal choice that I have made for the benefit of the client.

I will, however, enter into an informal coaching arrangement If I manage the individual. Coaching as we know is a form of empowerment and is one of the most adaptable and motivational ways to manage staff.

Relationships are extremely important on the coaching journey they are the container that everything else fits into. Relationships are the key foundation for a successful coaching relationship, this relationship must be built on trust and mutual respect.

Often the first opportunity to form this relationship will be at the initiation meeting. As mentioned previously, during this meeting you will discuss the requirements for the coaching sessions and it is an opportunity for both the coach and the client to assess if they have an effective coaching relationship.
Building an effective relationship can be a challenge as often the client can be somewhat reserved during the first meeting and often the responsibility falls onto the coach to relax the client and direct the conversation during this meeting.

It may be that the client wishes to understand more about the coach’s experience both professionally and in the coaching process before the relationship begins and before they decide which coach to use.

There are many activities that can be completed within the initial meetings to support the building of a solid relationship. One preferred activity is an appreciative inquiry exercise, this enables me to get an insight into the client and what areas they wish to focus on and also adds some fun to the initial session.
There are many coaching activities that can be completed and we have uploaded a number of these onto your dashboard. Have a look at these and see which ones work for you. Activities have many benefits such as:

  • Getting the client talking - Often it can be a struggle to get the client to open up and to get the session moving, activities can really help with extracting information and starting a discussion with a client.
  • Supporting the building of a relationship - What we don’t want is for the sessions to become stagnant and too formal as this causes the client to become detached from the session. By adding some variety to the sessions it can help with motivation.

As a coach, you need to be flexible in your approach and understand that not all clients will want to complete activities and some would prefer a discussion. You need to use your intuition and adapt your approach to meet the needs of your clients.

The overall aim of your sessions is to ensure that the sessions are relaxed, informal, informative, and honest and that the client feels that they are getting something out of the sessions.

Overall, you need to ensure that you are meeting the needs of the client and supporting them in appropriate ways.