Coaching a Client in Crisis

As a coach, you prepare for coaching sessions.  Imagine just beginning with a client and having your process in place for starting the coaching relationship with a solid foundation, and then the client gets on the call and says they are dealing with a crisis.  Is that client ready for the coaching session you prepared?  Often not!  What is your role as a coach?  Ask questions!

In a case like this, start by asking the client whether they want to talk and what they want to discuss.  Some clients may want a coaching session focused on dealing with their current crisis.  Some clients may prefer to use the time set aside for coaching to deal with the crisis.  Other clients may choose to have the regular coaching because there is no action for them to take addressing the crisis.  Often a client wants a few minutes to process their current crisis and then move in to the planned coaching session.

Occasionally the question arises as to whether the coaching session is considered complete if the client decides not to talk in favor of dealing with their crisis.  As a coach, ideally you have a cancellation policy, and ideally you know when flexibility is appropriate.

For the client who does want coaching around their crisis, be prepared!  As a coach, this will come up, so knowing that ahead of time means having questions, resources, and ideas on hand for partnering with your client to address their crisis.

To simplify, ask the coaching client:

  • Where are you at now?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What are your action steps to get there?
  • Sometimes during this conversation and sometime later, it makes sense to ask: How can this be prevented in the future?

What processes do you find helpful dealing with a crisis?

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