*UPDATED* The Most Powerful Question to Wrap up a Coaching Session - and Why!

Coach Asking Question to Wrap-up Coaching Session

Over the years I have come to ask just one question to wrap-up a coaching session.

But while the question remains the same, the answers vary significantly from client to client - and from week to week.

And I learned long ago not to try and second-guess a client's response. Because sometimes I thought there had been a powerful realisation or Aha moment and they wouldn't mention it at all. And then sometimes I would feel that the session hadn't gone that well and the client would say something huge like, "I realised it's OK to just be who I am!"

2 Gift Boxes

So, here's the question:

"What was your biggest win of the  session today?"

Do you ask something like this at the end of your sessions?

A question like this is a bit like giving a gift to your client at the end of the session, helping them understand what they valued most in our coaching. It also helps them understand their needs...

Here are just a few sample responses I've had to this question:

  • I recognize how resistant I am to my own happiness!
  • Talking aloud, confirming the route I have chosen, realising I didn't need the confirmation I was looking for from others.
  • Having a plan, realising it's achievable in smaller steps!
  • Getting clarity on where I'm at - and what I need to do!
  • Realising that being kind can sometimes mean being tough and saying no.
  • I love the feeling of spaciousness around my goals.
  • I no longer feel like I'm floating/drowning - I feel recharged and stronger.
  • Realising I am not alone - that other people feel this way.

Why this question is so great:

Not only does this question help the client understand what they got out of our coaching session, as coach I have learned much by asking this question. For example:

  • I learned (time and again!) not to judge (and worry about) my coaching 'performance', and trust the coaching process.
  • I learned to let go of being the "expert" of the client - because what clients valued most was often not what I expected. This was humbling and freeing in a good way!
  • This question has helped me get a sense of what my clients most need from me.
  • I've learned more about my own strengths, and unique coaching style.
  • And by observing the patterns and themes to my client's answers over the years, I learned what people really value about both coaching - and me.

Which of the many wins?

You may have noticed that the question is deliberately phrased to suggest there were many wins - but it asks the client to decide what was most valuable to them. So it's also a great way for the client to evaluate all the ways the coaching session helped them, positively frame their coaching experience, and then clarify what's most important to them - affirming themselves.

An extra question - to clarify or go deeper

Sometimes I follow the "biggest win" question with:

  • "And what's so special about that for you?"

This helps a client take an initial response to their biggest win from: "Deciding to book the flights" to a deeper understanding of why that was so important to them: "I gave myself permission to plan and put myself first."

In this case, whilst deciding to book the flights was technically the 'win', there had also been a big shift in how they valued themselves. And when we help reflect this back to the client - clients understand themselves and their blocks more deeply.

"Our job is to help people understand themselves." Dr Marcia Reynolds, MCC

I'd love to hear what you ask to wrap up a session, so comment below and share your thoughts!

If you liked this article on how to wrap up a coaching session, you may also like:

Image of Coach pondering How to Wrap up a Coaching Session at their desk by WAYHOME studio via Shutterstock

Image of Gifts by qimono via Pixabay

8 Comments

  1. Caroline

    I have been using this end to the session for a few months now and I'm always surprised by the answer. It's never what I was expecting

    Reply
  2. Gauri

    Dear Emma....

    I Just Love your posts and I thank you deeply for being an enormously helpful resource for coaches.

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Gauri, thank-you so much for your kind words. I am so glad you find this website helpful! Keep up all YOUR good work. Warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply
  3. wendy

    I ask the question. "What did you learn from today's session?" And, "How would that make a difference in ?" *the situation refers to the area of coaching that the coachee is seeking.
    And sometimes I ask this question as well, "What do you look forward to?"

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise

      I love making it specific Wendy - how would that make a difference in... And it's nice to end on a positive note with "What do you look forward to!" Thank-you for sharing!
      Warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply

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