The first session can be up to an hour. You have to get to know one another. What is the client looking for? You have to set ground rules. I ask for a three-month commitment, and require a 24 hours cancellation notice. I have certain other requirements, such as I do not allow drug or alcohol influence when we talk.

Your first session with your client is very important because it sets the tone for all the sessions to come. First impressions are important. If the client feels uncomfortable about confiding in you, the client will either find a new coach or quit the coaching process.

As the coach, you are in charge of the sessions. You have to direct them so that they have a beginning, middle and an end. As the coach, you will come into each session with an agenda, and you have to keep the session on track.

Some coaches offer a free "initial consultation" to explore coaching needs for a new client. Keeping this session to thirty to sixty minutes, your goal as a parent coach is to explain what you do, the liability factors, how to establish a parent-coach alliance, define expectations and listen to the client. You do all this through questions. The client, in answering your questions, will define his or her desires, issues and goals for the coaching services. Offering a free first session is an excellent selling tool because people do not have to risk any money to find out if they can benefit from coaching.

In the next session, you direct the session to complete items on your agenda. You do this as well as build a personal rapport with your client so that he or she will continue the coaching process with you. You have to accomplish these things in the first two sessions.

1. Explain the coaching process and define with your client what he or she hopes to achieve from coaching.

2. Establish rapport and trust by knowing your client's personal style and shifting your attention and communication to their style's needs.

3. Determine the pattern of communication between yourself and your client.

4. Take care of business issues as fees, how payments are made, number of sessions, and time commitments, and if the sessions will be by telephone or in person.

5. Determine client goals and intentions.

6. Establish client willingness, commitment, and a time and action schedule for goals.

Because you have so much to accomplish in the first several sessions, they may last from one to two hours. Many coaches prefer to send their clients a package of papers and forms before the first sessions. Some coaches ask their clients to take a personal style inventory so they have a common ground or base for understanding parenting styles, values and stress levels and parenting strategies. Others prefer to send these forms after the first session. The second way often works better if the client comes to you in the middle of a crisis. Ideally, the client has filled out the forms, returned them to you, and you have had time to read and consider them before the session begins.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Caron Goode is gifted with compassion in assisting others to effect lasting transformation through spiritual coaching, books, classes and seminars. Caron's continuous education, experience in psychology and professional writing makes her a great resource for parents wishing to create and maintain a nurturing relationship their children.

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