7 Essential Steps to Become a Successful Coach |

7 Essential Steps to Become a Successful Coach

Success In You

Be honest...

You’ve thought about it several times: How do some coaches pull it off so well and serve their client with exactly what they need every single time?

We’d all like to coach with that kind of passion and certainty.

Because deep down, you and I both want to make a difference and contribute.

To touch lives.

To help them find meaning.

To experience growth and love.

I think every coach wants that. Yes, it’s about living life on your own terms. Yes, it’s great to quit the 9-5 grind and create a career that suits your lifestyle.

But it's even more than that - it’s about your inner purpose to bring about positive change in someone’s life when they need it the most. It’s about that special energy that has power to transform lives.

Don’t you agree?

With that, let’s look at the 7 essential steps that will guide you to deliver outstanding coaching results to your clients every single time. Here they are:

1. Listen Generously & with Curiosity

There’s a subtle difference between being a good listener and being genuinely curious about your client. Being curious allows you (and your client) to say yes and work out how.

As a coach, you want to dig deeper into the “map” of your client’s world – once you do that, you not only explore the “what” and “when” but also the “how” and most importantly, the "why" of things.

Curiosity leads to active listening. Clients may not be as articulate as us – they may have many pauses and “ums”. Let them find their way without interrupting them. The more patient you are, the less resistance they experience in coaching with you.

It’s about being willing to have a go and say:

- I don’t know, let’s find out…
- I wonder…
- What do you think?
- Tell me more…

Because the more curious you are, the more possibilities open up for your client.

Not only that, you will allow your client to try out different perspectives. It is somewhat natural for your client to look at a new situation in a negative way – but being curious allows you to expand your horizons and conduct a session in a non-judgemental manner to facilitate change.

2. Build an Instant Connection

Ever get this feeling? You meet someone for the first time and there is an instant feeling of connection and you hit it off instantly without having to make effort. How good does that feel?

Rapport is the ability to enter someone’s world and have them feel that you understand them and that you’re with them.

In coaching, rapport is defined as a state of trust and responsiveness where your words become your client’s thoughts. It’s your ultimate tool for producing results when working with clients.

Your client is in partnership with you. You are equals in the exploration of their world. When practising rapport, remember, it is all about them and not you. The best way to ensure that is by minimising what’s least alike between us and the client.

The basis of rapport is that when people share similarities, they like each other. To benefit from coaching, your clients need to be 100% ready and open to feedback. Having a solid rapport makes this process seamless.

3. Ask Great Questions

Questions are incredibly powerful tools. When combined with rapport, they are a powerhouse duo and bring about effective, lasting change.

Be careful when asking questions because they may make all the difference between your client open and ready for change or being defensive and closed off.

Avoid questions that typically elicit a “yes” or “no” response, or a one-word answer. If you asked a series of closed-ended questions, it would stimulate very little thinking from the client.

For example, asking “Are you going to take any action?” gives them an option to answer “yes” or “no”, but asking “What kind of action steps have you planned next?” probes them into thinking all about the next action steps – and coming up with creative ideas.

This kind of question also presupposes that they have planned something rather than asking whether they have.

4. Give them the Gift of Responsibility

Here’s a common misnomer new coaches often have –- they want to solve their client’s problems. And when that doesn't happen, they feel responsible for the “failure”.

But here’s the thing. No matter how great and noble that sounds, you are still blocking your client’s growth by doing it all for them. Your role as a coach is to facilitate change, to create an environment that fosters it for the client. You are not responsible for anything. All change happens within the client.

5. Don't Make It About You

Successful coaches know that a coaching session is never about the coach, but always about the client.

When you get out of the way, you cultivate a judgement-free, respectful zone and open up the space for them to fill it. This creates trust and empowers your client to believe that they matter.

An important thing to remember is to do it all with empathy. Acknowledge your client for the small wins and let them know they are doing the best they can with the resources available to them at this time.

In short, let go of --
- The need to be right
- The need to prove a point
- The need to demonstrate how you know better/more/differently than them
- The need to show your client you’re an expert

As a coach, you never know what lies ahead of you in a coaching session. It’s one of those beautiful things where you dive in with your client, say yes and work out how.

Based on where your client is, you will be called upon to play multiple roles as their guide.

Coach as a Guide

For example, depending on the journey during coaching, you may be called upon to:

  • brainstorm with them to define certain actions;
  • engage the client to explore alternative ideas;
  • challenge their assumptions and perspectives;
  • encourage stretches and challenges;
  • create a plan toward achievable results;
  • assist the client to make adjustments to the plan;
  • identify early successes to build momentum;
  • keep the client on track with the chosen goals;
  • promote self-discipline and taking responsibility for results;
  • positively confront the client when they do not take agreed-upon actions

The more willing you are to embrace uncertainty, the more you prepare your client to embrace different perspectives, see different version of themselves and acknowledge their true potential.

7. Learn and Apply the Critical Alignment Model

Most successful TCI coaches bring the Meta Dynamics™ methodology to their coaching.

The difference between old-style coaching and Meta Dynamics™ is this: while traditional coaching models focus on the actions the client can take—based on a simple observation of an event—the Meta Dynamics™ model goes much deeper.

Traditional coaching focuses on the actions your client takes, and places emphasis on creating the mindset necessary for achieving sustainable change.

It works like this:


It’s a model that works well on the surface, however, to truly flourish and to create lasting change, it is vital to go deeper and understand your perceptions of the world, because they play a FAR more important role than simple observations of an event.

Your client’s perception is their reality. The Meta Dynamics™ experience looks like this:


When coaching, we can give ourselves a roadmap of where the client is to guide us into what to ask them.

The most effective roadmap is the Meta Dynamics™ Critical Alignment Model, based on the only proven and research-based methodology in the coaching industry.

Environment: This is where you start all thinking and conversations. (Their purpose, goals, values, beliefs etc.)
: The quantitative constructs of the situation, the reality we’re examining. (Benchmarks, strategies and planning)
: Once you’ve identified what’s above the line, we come back to the reality (where we are, which is below the line) and how we actually move up. (Habits, KPIs)
: Once your client is in the ideal environment and has the right structural elements to succeed, you can move them below the line where the actual doing starts, and evaluate the performance. (Quality of relationships, feedback, capability of the individual)

The Critical Alignment Model gives you an ideal structure to carry out your coaching session and serve your client in the best possible way you can.

For example, the model gives you a clear guideline when starting a coaching session – you always start from the Environment. The big picture. The “why”.

Your Turn!

There you go – 7 essential steps to become a successful meta coach. Now that you know them, go forth and apply them in your own coaching.

This list by no means is complete. So I’m curious – what would you add to it?

We’d love to hear your personal experiences. Let us know in the comments below!

 Find Out How to Become a Successful Coach

Courage To Be You is your opportunity to let go of limiting beliefs and fears that are holding you back and create a life of more meaning and deeper relationships.

Click here to find out more.

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