• Coaching is a structured, goal-focused process – here coach Neil Lawrence explains the five stages of coaching and how it can help you

  • We have coaches available to support you today – find yours here

There are many routes to improve the quality of our lives and as we enter yet another phase of managing the pandemic, maybe it’s time to hope for more from the future. Maybe it’s reasonable to think, ‘How can I move forward?’ 

This article looks at how coaching can help.

When entering into a coaching arrangement, you formulate goals and use your inner resources to help fulfil them. There’s plenty of opportunity to learn new stuff too – tools and concepts that you can practise and apply. And at the end of it all you review your journey, capture your successes, and formulate the next phase.

Let’s drill down a little more to get a clearer picture...

There are different kinds of coaches, many of whom specialise in areas like career coaching or trauma coaching etc. Then there are the likes of me, attracted to coaching in many different ways – I’m equally interested in performance enhancement at board level as supporting those with PTSD, chronic pain or experiencing burnout at an individual level.

So, how can coaching help you make radical change?

Once you’ve defined the overarching goals, signed a coaching agreement (which should include rules of confidentiality and an explanation of how coaching works), you can start bringing current issues to the sessions. The issue will usually be related to one of your goals. You will explore it with your coach, identify where you can move forward (the ‘easy wins’), log any resistance that exists externally or internally, then you can make the change. You will also have chance to think about the emotional impact of what’s happening, and at the end of the session decide upon appropriate actions. More on this later.

With some coaches (myself included), wellbeing becomes part of the work because we believe that wellbeing and personal goals should go hand-in-hand. Take core values as an example. When we work from our core values we feel more at peace (increased wellbeing). When we know our core values, we feel more confident (increased wellbeing). When we feel at peace, we make better decisions (goals). When we feel more confident, we take a risk trying out new things (goals). One keeps feeding the other. Put simply, coaching is a strengths-based process that offers the chance to live more freely and directly.

In between sessions you will work on your decided actions. This is where the real change and growth occurs. It is also the time when vulnerable feelings are more likely to surface, and your motivation may flag. The challenge is to remain independent but gauge the appropriate time to check in with your coach. I’ve found some clients never check in, some make appointment times in advance, and some drop me a text if something has come up.

Crucially, all coaching work should be done in a safe, open minded and non-judgmental context.

The true joy of being coached is that it requires a high level of accountability but also enables people to discover their signature talents – ones they’ve been sitting on for ages or even forgotten about! By utilising these incredible talents, people can raise their potential and make progress.

And at the end of a coaching agreement, the coach will support your understanding about what you’ve achieved and help make plans for the future.

So, to recap, there are five stages to coaching:


1. Asking ‘What goals do I want to address?’

The coach helps you look at your life and supports you in working out evidence for the goals you want to achieve.


2. Focusing on what matters and connecting to your purpose

In each session you need to have an ideal outcome in mind. At the end of each session, you should be aware of that key piece of learning.

3. Collecting tools, experimenting with them as ‘take home’ and seeing what sticks

Sometimes the coach will offer a tool. If it appeals, you can trial it as ‘take home.’ At the start of the next session there will be an opportunity to give feedback about its level of effectiveness. If it has not been a helpful, the coach will be able present other options.

4. Seeing what works, changing what doesn’t, and gathering success

As you work on different issues and try out new tools, you will build self-awareness and see an increased capacity for success. During this process you may also find that there are some long held assumptions you’ve relied on that turn out to be untrue, and actually are holding you back. 

With the help of the coach, you will have an opportunity to learn new ways of reframing the world. The more change you see, the more you will want to see!


5. Reviewing, checking achievement, asking ‘what’s next?’ 

In the review session you will measure the level of goal achievement  and rate your satisfaction. Then you can formulate what happens next and the sky, as the cliché goes, is the limit! A new career, greater trust in yourself, more coaching, entering therapy, experiencing more of this new world you’ve been building.... The joy of coaching is that it is a reflective, positive, flexible, and creative process and that is why satisfied clients love it. Buckle up, strap in, and enjoy the ride! And really, whether we enter into coaching or not, that’s great advice, right?


If you have any comments or thoughts or questions about this article, feel free to contact me or any member of the welldoing.org team to continue this conversation.

Neil Lawrence is a verified welldoing.org coach in South East London and online

Further reading

Motivation and accountability: how coaching can help you

Can coaching further my creative career?

Where therapy and coaching overlap, and where they differ

Why can't I motivate myself?

9 questions to help you live in line with your values