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Heart Coach Institute

Heart Coach Institute Director of Education

Gaye Kuelsen, PCC • March 7, 2023 • 4 Minute Read

PCC Marker 3-Establishing Agreements

Competency 3: Establishes and Maintains Agreements
An improvement with the third core competency of the updated model, is the sub-elements listed under the competency address both the initial coaching contract we establish with our clients at the beginning of the coaching relationship, as well as the topic agreed upon during each coaching session.  The PCC Markers focus on the agreement we establish with our clients at the start of each coaching session.  The four elements, provide a very simple and effective formula for you to establish a clear and focussed agreement with your client every time.  

3.1: Coach partners with the client to identify or reconfirm what the client wants to accomplish in this coaching session. 
We all have a multitude of questions we use to open our coaching session – What do you want to talk about today? / What is on your mind today? / What would be the best use of our time together today?
Always regard this first sentence your client has shared as the starting point for establishing the agreement.  This is usually what is at the surface of your client’s topic, or what your client is consciously aware of.  Further questions will enable you both to delve deeper and uncover the true cause of their issue.

3.2: Coach partners with the client to define or reconfirm measure(s) of success for what the client wants to accomplish in this coaching session. 
Our first question above, invites your client to share their topic.  However, an essential point to remember, is that the topic is quite different to the outcome of the session.  The outcome is related to the topic, but is different.  So, the next question to your client is to ask what outcome they are seeking.  Some sample questions are – What would you like to takeaway with you today? / At the end of our session today, what do you want to know [or feel]? / What do you need from our conversation today?
For greater effectiveness for the outcome, add in a measure of success such as using a 1-10 scale or defining an action plan, with your client.  In this way you are partnering with your client to set the guidelines for the path your coaching conversation will follow.

 <img src="coachingsession.jpg" alt="board walk along river."

3.3: Coach inquires about or explores what is important or meaningful to the client about what they want to accomplish in this session.
When giving your client the opportunity to articulate why this topic is important or meaningful to them, it often brings a greater awareness into their consciousness.  Sometimes your client may not know, and are reacting to social standards, instead of what they really want or desire.  If the client’s situation has often repeated, or been longstanding, one question to ask is – What is important [or meaningful] about this topic…now?
Asking about NOW may enable your client to realise a subtle shift that is significant to them.

For further comments and insights on the third competency, refer to the May 2022 edition of Mentoring Moments.

3.4: Coach partners with the client to define what the client believes they need to address to achieve what they want to accomplish in this session. 
Take the pressure off yourself as a coach and avoid the temptation to jump into problem solving mode.  Ask the client what they can identify that needs to be addressed, as your role as their coach is to facilitate their own insights, thereby avoiding any assumptions on your part. There are many questions you can use to approach this with your client – What needs to be addressed to achieve your outcome today? / What is stopping you from being where [or who] you want to be? / What do you need to achieve this outcome?
If the client mentions a number of issues, then during the conversation, raise each issue individually so they can be explored in depth.  This also provides some structure and methodology to support your client’s thinking processes.

 <img src="coachingsession.jpg" alt="coaching session under boardwalk by ocean."

So, I encourage you to keep this edition for a handy reference, or create your own cheat sheet to use as a prompt to ensure you have covered these four elements in every coaching session.  I’ve provided some sample questions above for each of these four elements. Alternatively, using four simple words as reminders or prompts can be very effective.  My four suggested words would be – Identify / Measure / Important / Address.  If you ask a question based on each of these four words, you will have explored the client’s topic to a stage where a clear understanding is established for the both to focus on during the session.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about these observations, as I’d love to receive them.  Is there anything that could be done differently or that you’d like included in future editions, again let me know.  
Don’t wait until the last minute…is your credential due soon for renewal? If you need mentoring support now or in the future, then please reach out and connect.
Sharing these mentoring moments with you,


Gaye Kuelsen PCC CPQC

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