*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

12 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
  4. Kitty Koniali

    I've been thinking about using this question for some time now, but haven't really gone ahead with it, mainly because I'm thinking about time constraints. This article has made me think about this again...thank you.

    Reply
    • Michela Phillips

      Dear Kitty,

      So glad you found this article helpful!

      Warmly,
      Michela

      Reply
  5. Maureen Favor Muturi

    The question I ask at the end of every session is:
    What was your biggest takeaway from today's session? OR
    What was your aha moment in today's session? OR
    What new awareness did you gain that you didn't have before, and how will that awareness help you through the week?

    Reply

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