Closing The Gap - How to Lessen Potential Disconnect between Coaching Sessions
No matter how much time passes between coaching sessions, it can sometimes be challenging to keep the energetic momentum going sometimes. With life inevitably throwing up an array of distractions and personal diversions for each client alongside their coaching experience, keeping every individual focused on their developmental journey can feel like an uphill task. If the coaching relationship is new, then conscious additional time and energy is necessary to build a healthy foundation of strength in the first place. From a position of authentic connection it is easier to create longer-lasting rapport in support of the ultimate goal; helping the client to achieve the results they wish to see.
No matter how long the coaching relationship has been established, avoiding disconnect between sessions is vital to ultimate success potential. It is not enough for a client to feel inspired and enthusiastic during the session itself before losing awareness of all they have learned and considered when they head home. If disconnect happens, progress is threatened significantly.
So—how can we close the gap between coach and client in order to maximize success?
The Key Strategy to Manage Disconnect and Increase Engagement Between Coaching Sessions
One of the first ports of call, is communication. Speak to each client, appreciating their individual needs and characteristics. Are they someone who needs the framework of regular take-home tasks to keep them engaged? Or are they someone who loves to read, and therefore would benefit from a reading list being provided to them? Know who you’re dealing with to know how to tackle the situation at hand.
It can also be helpful to know if and when the client has experienced disconnect or loss of interest during previous coaching or learning courses. An open conversation about how they personally found past encounters of a similar form can be helpful for coaches to know what to avoid and indeed what to try in order to prevent disengagement in the future. This can also be a fantastic opportunity for bonding, by reassuring the client you won’t let that happen in this instance.
The Coaching Toolkit
Every coach has a coaching toolkit. We all favor certain exercises and activities depending one our personal style, training and specific form of coaching. Consider adding to your personal toolkit by continuing to learn and research new ways of approaching connection and engagement retention. Could you attend an online networking event with coaches in a similar field of interest? Where else could you access fresh ideas and further inspiration?
Activity resources are a powerful tool for change within coaching. Having a regular activity that becomes a routine can help many clients to increase their engagement within the developmental process. Instead of ‘switching off’ between sessions, they will be reminded of their coaching practices simply by engaging in a task that has been set between appointments. In this way, engagement automatically increases!
Ongoing interactive journaling between coach and client is a fantastic way to help this happen. Journaling is a highly achievable activity with no off-putting ‘wrong’ way of going about it. It is an opportunity to explore what has been discovered during coaching sessions in a private creative space with no fear of judgement or rejection. For more nervous clients, it can become the key difference between disconnect and engagement going forwards.
The key benefits in relation to retaining engagement are:
- Better manage stress and anxiety. Writing down fears and describing past experiences within a journal can be very cathartic for the client, helping them to find greater clarity within their coaching journey. When entries are shared with their coach, further trust building and vital bonding tends to occur.
- Recognise patterns and potential triggers. Chaotic thinking caused by busy schedules and energy depletion can make reflective thought challenging. By writing down their thoughts and feelings, we can begin to help clients spot patterns in their behaviors and emotional reactions to events. They might then begin to positively identify what is causing discomfort to better understand how to plan for a clearer future.
- Practice the art of honesty. Journaling provides an opportunity to step out of social obligation and fear of offending others. It is a space where clients can say what they really feel without fear of a ripple effect. They can explore how things sound and write out their ambitions and thoughts they might have long since buried. When a client is more aligned with their authentic selves, they become much easier to engage and work with - hence the need for journaling!
As coaches, we must appreciate that every client has a whole host of distractions and disturbances occurring in their lives each and every day, as we all do. Though they may demonstrate (and communicate) depth of dedication to the coaching process, we must also appreciate that their work with us is not the only focus they have in their lives.
Therefore, it is even more imperative that we, as coaches, provide the methods and resources necessary to help each person we work with to maintain engagement in order to make the very best of their success potential in both the short and long term. We have the tools at our fingertips, such as the activity of journaling, to powerfully make that happen.
Discuss the benefits of journaling with your clients. Talk to them about how journaling has helped you along with many clients you have worked with in the past. Reassure them that this is an activity that will be both progressively beneficial as well as being a positive and enjoyable task to regularly undertake. It could be your breakthrough to creating lasting change in their future.