13 Quick Tips to Go Deeper With Your Coaching! | by Fran Fisher MCC

Confident Masterful Coaching with Coaching Tips

This collection of coaching tips was created by Master Coach Fran Fisher for our newsletter. We've now gathered these ideas for you into this article to inspire and offer tips to improve and go deeper with your coaching. Each coaching tip also includes it's own inquiry for you to ponder and reflect.

Two rock sets1) "BE WITH" the Client

Are you "Being with" the Client or are you "Doing to" them?

  • Being with = being fully present; listening for who and how the client is being (values, strengths, beliefs, etc.); responding to (words, language, emotion, etc.) It means paying attention to the subtle nuances of the client's shifts of energy, or changes in direction.
  • Doing to = problem solving, asking leading questions, offering unsolicited suggestions, offering your own analysis ("So that means____." Instead of asking, "What meaning do you make of that?")

In summary, being with is being a conduit for your client's emergence; doing to is a focus on performance and methodology.

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: What does it mean to be fully present? What is the impact of my authentic presence with my client?

2) RESPOND to the WHOLE person

A client is a holistic human being with many resources beyond their initial thinking. Einstein said, "A problem can't be solved with the same level of thinking that created it."

So listen for opportunities to invite the client to raise their awareness and discover the resources beyond their thinking. These may open new territories of awareness for their learning and insight.

Some great questions to ask include:

  • What are you feeling?
  • What is your learning style?
  • What value will you be honoring more fully?
  • What strength could you draw on?
  • What other perspective is possible?
  • What is your limiting/empowering belief?
  • What does your heart want?
  • What is your gut/instinct telling you?

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: Where do I stop exploring my client's wholeness? Where could I stretch into new territories of the client's wholeness?

Waterfall for Flow3) Easy FLOW

The "Easy Flow" feeling is a relaxed flow of connection in the partnership where the coach is client-focused, honoring their pace and tone. Your attention is fully connected, dancing with the client. And whether it’s a waltz, salsa or tango, coach and client are harmonizing in flow.

So, avoid providing unnecessary distractions, such as:

  • Opinions, analysis
  • Unsolicited suggestions
  • Approval judgments eg. "I think that's a good idea". Try instead, "How do you feel about that idea?"
  • Habitual interruptions to the client's speaking eg. yeah, yup, uh huh, OK

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: What drives my need to speak?


This tip is all about being observant and responsive to what the client says.

  • Observant: notice the client's words, tone, energy, energy shifts, patterns of speaking, patterns of thinking, processing etc. Noticing these nuances will help you stay present and connected.
  • Responsive: follow the client's lead with curiosity and relevance in the moment, versus your formulaic observation or question.

Examples of being connected - observant and responsive:

  • You smiled. What's happening?
  • I've heard you say ___ three times. What's important or meaningful about ___?
  • Or, what does ___ mean for you?
  • What are you learning about yourself from that insight?

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: What frees me up to be fully present and connected with my client?

Elephants Caring5) EMPATHY and Caring

Being empathetic and caring supports the competencies of "Creating Trust and Intimacy" (creating a safe space for our clients) and "Creating Presence" (who we are being that provides an open, flexible, curious and trustworthy partnership for the client).

  • Empathy asks us to withhold judging the behavior of others and instead, do our best to take the empowering, compassionate or understanding view.
  • Caring asks us to connect heart to heart.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • How well do I self-manage my judgements or temptations to offer advice, opinions, perspectives?
  • What daily habits or practices support my physical, emotional and mental well being?
  • How well do I listen to others?
  • Who do I choose to be in partnership with my client?

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: When am I connected heart to heart with my client? When am I not connected?

6) NOTICE Your Client’s Energy Shifts AND Invite the Client's Exploration

Reflecting our clients' energy, energy shifts, inflections, body language, tone, pace, etc. all provide benefit for the client in raising their self-awareness.

AND we must also invite the client to notice, reflect and explore for themselves. This gives the client the chance to become more self-aware and deepen their learning about themselves (don't assume they're already aware).

The difference between 'coach noticing' and 'inviting the client to notice' for themselves:

  • COACH Reflecting and Noticing: "You are smiling." (or laughing, shrugging your shoulders, speaking more softly, closing your eyes, big sigh, tears, emphasizing that word every time you say it, waving your hands in the air etc.)
  • Inviting the CLIENT: Ask, "What's going on?", "What's that about?", "What are you noticing?", "What are you feeling?", "What is happening for you right now?"

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: What does it take for me to notice AND invite my client's exploration?

Hands Holding Offering

7) INTUITIVE Offering (without attachment)

Did you ever get information about the client or their issue that feels intuitive? This is a tricky one, because we want to be careful not to be attached to being right about our intuition.

Here are 3 ways to consider sharing your intuitive offering:

  • Use your intuitive thought as a clue for crafting a curious question. For example: My intuition says this is an issue of trust but instead of offering my intuition, I could ask, "What do you think the core issue is with that person?"
  • Sometimes paraphrasing the client's words will reveal our intuition to the client - but still allow them to work it out for themselves. When paraphrasing, be careful to stay true to the client's expression and meaning. Don't add something or take anything away, as that would reveal your own agenda. Pay attention to how your client responds, and follow through with relevant questions in the moment.
  • Finally, if you feel your intuitive thought will be a contribution, first ask permission to offer it. Then check in afterwards, "How does that fit for you?" (ensure you are unattached).

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: How do I offer my intuition without attachment?

8) OUT OF THE BOX questions and observations

Our goal as coaches is to provoke new or different perspectives/thinking. Take off those training wheels - those lists of perfect, powerful questions and instead:

  • Clear your desk of all the Sticky Notes.
  • Focus fully "over there" without your attention on yourself.
  • Connect - and breathe - with your client.
  • Access your heart and gut wisdom.
  • Let your head knowledge float freely.
  • Then allow yourself to respond to what the client offers in the moment.

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: How do I access and trust my creativity?

Client shown by fisherman in boat9) DEEPLY Explore the WHO of the client

Coach the client's relationship to their issue versus the issue itself. Remember that the presenting "issue" is usually not the "real" or underlying issue.

Asking WHO questions helps the client access their innate empowering qualities such as strengths, empowering beliefs and core values - their greatness!

  • Explore for the issue underneath the issue; what is the REAL issue?
  • Explore motivation; Why is it important or meaningful for the client to address this topic now?
  • What/how are they feeling about this issue currently? How do they WANT to feel?
  • Help the client learn about themselves; explore their beliefs, values, strengths etc. related to the issue or desired outcome.

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: How well do I explore my client's relationship to their issue?


Be curious about the larger impact or deeper meaning of the presenting goal.

Are you, the coach, authentically curious about who the client is with:

  • No need to drive your own agenda?
  • No need to be the expert of the client or their agenda/issue?
  • No need to "perform" skills, knowledge, or experience (ego)?

Are you, the coach, willing to be vulnerable (soulful)?

Top Tip: When you catch yourself starting to TELL, TEACH or suggest an ANALYSIS, pause and say the word "WHAT" instead. Then trust that a curious question for the client will follow that word. This will keep the focus and attention on the client instead of shifting it back to you. For example, instead of "I think you should _______." Ask, "WHAT do you want to do about that?"

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: How fully am I willing NOT to KNOW?

Dandelion Clocks for Silence

11) Be Comfortable with "SPACIOUSNESS" and the use of SILENCE

How comfortable are you with silence? How comfortable are you with providing spaciousness for your client’s speaking or thinking?

Masterful coaching requires providing ample space for the client to think and hear themselves thinking; for speaking and hearing themselves speaking.

If silence is a stretch for you, practice:

  • Providing space after the client's thinking and speaking. Avoid rushing into their space with your next question or comment. Pause.
  • If needed, silently count "1, 2, 3" as you develop your level of comfort.
  • Avoid unnecessary, unconscious, or habitual verbal "noise" that might be distracting for the client and disrupt the flow. Examples: Yeah, Uh Huh, OK, Yup etc.

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: What is my level of comfort with spaciousness or silence? What would it take for me to be more spacious with my clients?

12) PARTNERSHIP is more COLLABORATIVE than directive

Masterful coaching is collaborative. Here are 4 ways to create a more collaborative partnership:

  1. Understand the difference between being directive/assumptive and collaborative: Directive/Assumptive: "Which one do you want to focus on?" versus Collaborative: "How do you want to explore those two topics?"
  2. Avoid leading/directive language: Some examples of what NOT to say include: "Let's take a look at this", "Let's explore your fear", "I'm going to show you a way to _____", "Have you ever tried _____?" or "Now we're going to _____".
  3. Invite the client's partnership: Share your thinking or perspective without attachment. Examples: "What is your thought about what I just said?", "This is what my intuition is telling me, but I may be off base. What do you think about _____?"
  4. Honor and respect client's point of view: Try responding with a curious question like, "What is your limiting/empowering belief about _____?" or reflect by saying something like, "I hear you honoring your value of _____ in your point of view."

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: What do I need to release in order to be a more collaborative partner?

Trees for Client Leading the Way13) Invite the Client to LEAD/Offer CHOICE

When we "Establish the Coaching Agreement", we invite the client to LEAD.

Ask the client what they think they need to address to get to their desired outcome or measure of success.

Some examples of questions to ask include:

  • What issue(s) need to be addressed?
  • What aspect of this issue is most important to address?
  • What needs to be resolved in order to achieve this outcome?
  • Specifically avoid assuming where to start coaching towards the goal.
  • Then throughout the coaching conversation, invite them to LEAD and offer CHOICE. Examples include:
  • Where do you want to go from here?
  • Of those _____ you listed, how do you want to start exploring?
  • What would you like to start with?
  • Would it be helpful to _____ right now?

Go Deeper with this Coach Inquiry: What is my attachment to leading? What do I need to release?

© 2020 Fran Fisher, MCC

If this article resonates with you, get the whole book: Calling Forth Greatness, Seven Coaching Wisdoms for Transforming Your Life, available here on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

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Contributing Author:

Fran Fisher, Master Certified Coach, MCC. is a champion for the power of coaching and its transformational impact in the world. She is one of the pioneers of the coaching profession and a founding executive board member of the ICF. She specializes in coaching and mentoring coaches for their MCC. Connect with Fran on LinkedInFacebook and learn more about her free resources for coaches at www.franfishercoach.com.

Learn more about Fran & see all their articles here >>

One Comment

  1. Marc van der Heijden

    Always good to go over these suggestion every once in a while


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