No matter what we’re trying to build, whether a skyscraper, skill, or positive attitude, we need a plan. The same goes for our coaching practice. Coaching plans help structure our sessions and keep the coaching process on track benefiting our clients and us.
We’ll explore the freedom and possibilities that adding a coaching plan template to our toolkits brings to our practices. Next, we’ll explain how to bring a coaching plan to life and integrate it as a customizable template in our sessions. We’ll also provide you with our free, editable Coaching Plan Template based on the work of Executive Coach Josh Dietrich.
Coaching plans provide clarity and structure
As coaching professionals, our focus is on supporting our clients’ growth and self-improvement. But as business owners, we need to focus on making the best use of our time and resources. These two priorities may feel like polar opposites, but in reality, they feed into each other.
If we’re effective coaches, we’ll better assist our clients and grow our businesses by attracting more people. As our practices become more successful, we’ll need to be available to help more people. We have to work smarter, not harder.
So how do we create success without being overwhelmed? Simple: By using an easy-to-follow coaching plan template that outlines each step of the process.
A coaching plan is a step-by-step roadmap to motivate change within clients. It outlines our coaching approach and describes the objective we’ll work toward with our clients. This template lays out the action steps we’ll lead our coaches through to help them reach their goals. Having a template helps us structure sessions and better serve our clients. Clients benefit from coaching programs through:
- Clear expectations: Our coaching plan describes our overall coaching strategy and establishes what our clients should expect from their coaching sessions. It introduces our coaching tools and resources while building transparency and trust in our coaching relationship. Setting clear expectations prevents surprises and allows our clients to relax and be present.
- Focused sessions: We can use our coaching plan to establish clear goals and clear routines for each session. We need to center our clients and help them focus on their objectives if they get off track.
- Progress tracking: Our coaching plan allows us to keep records of our clients’ progress and helps us motivate and encourage clients.
- Increased accountability: Using our coaching plan, we can track what worksheets, readings, and other homework our clients complete outside our one-on-one sessions.
By using our usual process and turning it into a coaching plan template we can use for every client, we can:
- Organize processes: A coaching plan allows us to standardize aspects of our practice like initial client assessments, client contracts, and post-coaching feedback.
- Create a signature experience for clients: A standardized coaching process allows us to deliver consistent, high-quality coaching experiences for each client that fits our unique coaching niches.
- Save time and money: Time spent on coaching is more profitable than planning, so creating a reusable process allows us to keep our prep time to a minimum and reduce our session-by-session planning time.
- Scale businesses: A well-established process for our coaching sessions allows us to see more new clients and helps branch out into group or online coaching.
How to create the perfect coaching plan template for your practice
Stuck in the brainstorming phase? Our coaching plan template is a great place to start — simply download the slide deck and customize it to fit your practices as you follow the rest of this guide.
Now let’s dive in. Here are seven easy steps to create the perfect template for our coaching sessions:
STEP 1: Establish a goal
The first step toward creating an effective coaching plan is working with our clients to establish goals. We can use an online intake form or make this part of our first coaching session with new coaching clients. As part of our goal-setting activities, we must assess our clients’:
- Reality and current circumstances
- Obstacles and roadblocks
- Will and commitment
These points are all key aspects of the GROW model and offer crucial insights into our clients’ lives and how we can help them achieve greatness. Plus, there are other coaching models we can use to support our clients and set goals. Once we thoroughly discuss all these points, we can work together to establish SMART goals for our coaching program. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This goal will inform the rest of our coaching strategy moving forward.
STEP 2: Assess their skills and resources
Once we’ve settled on objectives with our clients and coaching activities, it’s time to assess their existing skills and resources and address any gaps they need to fill. Sourcing these assets and building these competencies can be steps in our action plans to aid our clients’ personal development.
STEP 3: Determine tactics and activities
Once we’ve evaluated our clients’ skill sets and resources, we can decide on the tools we’ll use to help achieve their goals. Depending on the type of coaching we use, these tools, tactics, and activities can include:
- One-on-one coaching sessions
- Worksheets and exercises
- Journaling, readings, and other self-guided activities
- Visualization, roleplay, and storytelling
- Setting behavioral targets, like instructing clients to make five cold calls a week if they require business coaching or eating two healthy snacks a day for health coaching
It’s important to listen to our clients’ feedback throughout the coaching process. This helps us respond to their needs immediately and provide them with a more customized approach to their development. It’ll also increase their buy-in, increase their motivation, and improve customer satisfaction.
STEP 4: Set a timeline
We established a timeline as part of our SMART goal-setting process; now, it’s time to create a schedule for our action plan. Create a timetable for each step and help clients incorporate these steps into their daily or weekly agenda. Set deadlines for each task to keep clients motivated and moving forward.
STEP 5: Devise an accountability plan
Schedules and deadlines help keep our clients accountable for reaching their objectives. We must ensure they’re providing us with regular updates on their progress so we can encourage them and help solve any problems.
STEP 6: Develop communication channels
How will we discuss progress with our clients outside of in-person sessions? Can they contact us between appointments? It’s best to set these expectations at the beginning of our coaching activities. Following up and checking in with clients is a great way to show we care, hold them accountable, and provide guidance.
STEP 7: Wrap up
One of the essential pieces of our coaching plan is the feedback we’ll receive once our program is complete. We always want to improve our coaching style and communication skills. Discussing our clients’ experiences is essential to developing our coaching skills.
We should have honest conversations with our clients about whether or not we met their expectations and how they think we need to improve. Be sure to steer the conversation toward attainable outcomes and improvements.
Here are some questions to ask when gathering feedback from clients:
- What resources or exercises did you find most helpful?
- Was there an area you felt needed improvement? What would make it work better for you?
- How would you rate the program on a scale of 1–10?
- Would you recommend my program to a friend, co-worker, or family member?
- Do you have any additional feedback?
This wrap-up can happen in our final one-on-one session or an online closing survey.
Improve your coaching with Practice
You’ve worked hard to establish rapport with your clients through co-operation and honesty. Help your clients to the best of your ability and lead them through their coaching journey with a solid coaching plan. And after your clients have achieved their goals, listen to and accept their feedback with an open mind and heart and apply it to your practice.
Your clients came to you looking for support to grow; now it’s your turn.
Whether you provide life coaching services, executive coaching, or anything in between, Try Practice for instant access to all the tools you need to develop your coaching business. We have everything you need to streamline your workflow.