In Trainer Insights

Question: How do I coach long-term clients?

When a coaching engagement goes exceptionally well, clients sometimes hire us for a longer engagement. Some coaches can even find themselves coaching the same individual for 2 or more years. Coaches who begin working with long-term clients sometimes ask:

How do I make sure my coaching stays fresh and relevant for a client on a long-term contract?

Answer: Create 3-6 months “Coach-Client Alliance” objectives:

When working with long-term clients, take time to co-create shorter term “Alliance Objectives.” Clients who want to tackle multiple objectives in the coaching benefit from this modular approach. If a client comes to the table with 10 different objectives for coaching, it is best for the coach to help the client narrow  things down to a primary focus for a 3-6 period. Co-create new 3-6 month objectives as previous ones are completed.

Here is a step by step process:

1. In an early session, establish what the client would like to achieve through the coaching. Keep this to a 3-6 month timeframe.

2. Identify how they will know that the coaching is helpful/successful for that time period and objective. Ask your client what they would like to see at the end of the timeframe.

3. Make note of the current Alliance Objective. Bring the Alliance Objective up from time to time in the coaching. Ask your client how their progress is lining up with their expectations that were set in the Alliance Objective.

4. Schedule a session at the 3-6 month point to assess the Alliance Objective and collaborate on any potential new objectives.

This process helps create more of the professional contract expectations that a coach has with standard-length clients. Because of this, clients know why they are being coaching sensing progress through the coaching journey.


For more training and coaching insights, consider the Academic Life Coaching blog or one of the Coach Training EDU programs.

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