4 Easy Ways to Wrap-up a Coaching Session | Get "Heart to Heart" with Julie Johnson MCC

Client and Coach having video session at desk

In this "Heart to Heart with Julie" column, Julie Johnson MCC shares sample coaching conversations and situations to help you grow along with her learnings, ideas and practical tips to help us all become better coaches. These are real coaching experiences that illustrate common issues coaches face.

We encourage you to share your thoughts, learnings and own experiences in the comments below!

These articles were first posted on Julie's blog, The Coaching Cube, and have been updated for inclusion here.

Are your coaching conversations running over, or threatening to? Are you finding it difficult to bring discussions to a closure on time, in a way that is comfortable for both you and your coachee?

Running over time on your Coaching Sessions is not all bad...

A longer than planned coaching session can be a very good sign. After all, when we're super-focused and deeply curious, it's easy to lose track of time.

And, when our coachee has finally found someone who is truly interested and fully listening (something that is becoming more and more rare nowadays), well, who wants to walk away from that?

That said, I believe that it's the coach's job to manage time. By agreeing up front on this the coach takes responsibility for time management, and this allows our coachee to move fully into presence—and being coached.

But it can be hard sometimes to bring our coaching sessions to a close!

We're doing good work, our client is still talking, maybe we haven't covered everything we hoped for. So here are 4 very pragmatic ways we coaches can end our coaching sessions on time:

  1. "I'm cognizant of time. How shall we wrap this up?"
  2. "We've got about 10 minutes left. How would you like to make use of that time?"
  3. "Our time is almost up. Shall we pull this together and look at action steps and what we can work on next time?"
  4. "This looks like it could be a longer conversation, and our time is short. Shall we pick this up the next time we meet?"

And then ask:

  • "Shall we schedule that next appointment? When would you find it most useful to meet?"

Here's my take

I learned these techniques for closing sessions on time from an experienced coach years ago and have rarely run over since, except when both of us mutually agree to do so.

To be sure, the option to run over is a wonderful alternative if the session is 'on fire' and both coach and coachee happen to be free.

But remember that it can be inconvenient for clients if we allow time to run over and they are not aware. What if our client ends up rushing or missing an appointment because we did not end in a timely fashion? This can damage trust—and make us seem less professional.

And there is anyway, much to be said about being productive and powerful within the session's allocated time.

Busy executives in particular will appreciate a coach with excellent time management!

Now it's your turn

  1. What percent of your coaching sessions finish on-time?
    • Are you happy with this number?
  2. What gets in the way of you finishing promptly?
    • If it helps, make a list
  3. What techniques or phrases do you currently have to wrap-up a session?
    • How are these working (and not working) for you?
  4. What have you taken away from this article and your answers to these questions?
  5. What will you do differently going forwards?

Share your thoughts with Julie in the comments below.

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Julie Johnson

Contributing Author:

Julie Johnson MCC, MIM is an Executive Coach, Coach Supervisor and Author. Her purpose is to help motivated people be at their best. She's passionate about spreading quality coaching conversations farther and wider, impacting the lives of people she'll never meet. Julie helps leaders develop an authentic Coaching Leadership Style so they grow next-generation leaders - and scale their own leadership. She also loves creating synergies by connecting 'the right people' with each other. Meet Julie in this short video here and learn more about her on her website here. You can also sign up for her monthly blog The Coaching Cube.

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

Image of Client and Coach having video session at desk by fizkes via Shutterstock

One Comment

  1. Arti

    Those are great tips. Thanks for drawing attention to those especially for new coaches.


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