Coaching Skills

What You Need to Address During Your First Coaching Session

What to cover during your first coaching session.

So you Signed a Client… Now What?

As a coach, one of the most exciting experiences is when you sign a new client and get to conduct your first coaching session.

You finally get to help someone transform their lives!

All of your hard work has paid off!

Well, actually, it hasn’t. You see, once you actually sign your client, you need to actually coach that client. Right?

The first session you have with a client is incredibly important for the long-term success of both you and them. So, let’s talk about what you need to talk about during that meeting.

3 Things You Should Cover During Your First Session

While every coach is unique in the way they conduct their coaching sessions (and, of course, it depends on the client as well), there are a few things that will be incredibly beneficial to cover during the first session.

Things like getting clear on what your client’s goals are, setting a realistic timeline to accomplish those goals, and understanding what they have or haven’t tried in the past will help you set a successful personalized plan.

An inspirational quote from episode 26

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…And Things You Shouldn’t Do During This Coaching Session

The last thing you want to do during this first coaching session is make your client feel unsure if they made the right decision.

Whether it’s not being personable enough, or overwhelming them with too much information, or simply talking too much, we’ll also share some things to avoid during your coaching sessions.

Listen to Discover...
  • Why your first coaching session with a client is so important 
  • Three areas you should always discuss in your first coaching session  
  • What the Transformational Nutrition Coaching Method is and why it’s so successful 
  • How to help your clients focus on the outcomes rather than the obstacles
  • A few things to avoid during your sessions to stay professional and authentic

Episode Resources:

Listen to The Transformational Nutrition Podcast on Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher

Ready to take the next steps toward becoming a Nutrition Coach?  Download our detailed Course Catalog

Want to hear more from the ITN student featured in this episode? Connect with Darcel!

Read the transcript for this episode:

[00:00:00] Cynthia Garcia: Remember who you are, remember that you are a coach, you are a guide. 

Welcome back to the Transformational Nutrition Podcast, the podcast that is redefining nutrition as anything that feeds you physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m your host. Cynthia Garcia, the founder and CEO of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition.

And in today’s episode, we are talking about what you do after getting your first client. Listen that moment that a new coach signs, their first client deserves nothing short of a celebration. You did it. You put in the work, you pull together your expertise and now you get to actually help transform someone’s life.

How good does that feel? But. What comes next? What do you do after you’ve signed the client? How do you show up in a coaching session? Listen, I remember the first time that I signed my first client, I was so excited. I celebrated, I took myself out to dinner. I was finally getting to do the work that I loved.

In the world and this new client I knew would lead to the next client, the next client, and the next I was super excited. I could not wait for the very first session. And I’m a planner. I started planning things out. I started thinking about how the session would go and really quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing.

I was trained in clinical nutrition, so I knew all the ins and outs there. That was the easy part, but I had no experience actually coaching someone and need us to say, I showed up full of energy, full of excitement. And I did everything wrong. I will spare you the details, but it was cringeworthy at best.

And needless to say, I never worked with that client again. Now, listen, that was a long time ago. And I’ve learned a lot since then. I know how critical it is for coaches or people want, who become health and nutrition coaches to really understand. How to coach, because all the information in the world that you have, doesn’t matter, unless you can share that with someone in a way that they can hear it, receive it and then put it into practice.

So that’s what I wanna chat with you about today. Again, it’s great that you get your first client, but what do, once you start working with them and that’s really the important part.

This week, we are spotlighting Darel OSA, a recent graduate of our certified transformational nutrition coach program here at ITN to begin, let’s hear a little bit about Daryl’s background and the why behind her decision to become a certified coach.

[00:03:00] Darcel Osei: Well, I was going to do a master’s in dance science because I’ve always kind of, I’ve always been interested in the science side of things as well. I’m currently a sports massage therapist. So when I went to uni, I did kinesiology major alongside dance. So when I graduated, it was making the decision whether I wanted to be a physiotherapist or whether I wanted to dance and obviously I chose dance.

So I thought, okay, let’s get back to the science side of things. So I was gonna do my masters, not really knowing what I was going to do with it. It was one of those. I was gonna do my masters because I felt I should do my masters, cuz that’s the thing that people do. But a friend of mine, who’s also an it in grad.

Put me onto a podcast called the model health show. The guy who does the podcast is action, an ITN grad as well. And it was, I remember that shift and I remember the first episode I listened to. I was running in the park and it just reminded me how much control we have over our own health and just the little things that we can do to just boost our health and wellbeing.

And then I got to the episode in the podcast where he to talked about ITN. And he was encouraging people to kind of go down that route to, you know, be a vessel of, you know, sharing this information as well. And I was like, this is what I have to do. I 100% need to do this. And I, I mean, it didn’t even take a lot of thinking or going back and forth.

It was just like, this is what I have to do.

[00:04:27] Cynthia Garcia: Keep in mind that every single coach is different. And as you grow and you get more confidence working with clients, you are gonna develop your own processes and systems for what you do during your unique coaching sessions. The. But I do wanna share an example of three things that you can discuss in your first coaching session here at ITN, we have a process.

It’s a model that our coaches and our graduates follow so that you never have to worry about how to structure a session. Again, our coaches love it and they have a lot more confidence going into the first session because they have to guess at anything, the entire process, which we call the transformational nutrition coaching method is already broken out for them.

And again, it’s. Step by step by step so they can personalize it for any client who walks through their doors. And again, it makes them more confident and they aren’t ever afraid to show up and think, oh, what do I say? Or what if they ask me a question? I don’t know the answer to that. Doesn’t happen. So again, let me give you, since you’re not here with me at ITN, let me give you three things that you can discuss in your first coaching session with your clients to really set them.

And you. Up for success. The first thing is get clear on your client’s goals and desires. Now, you might already know a lot about your client and their goals. Perhaps they shared those with you in your discovery call, perhaps you noticed what they wrote down on their intake session. They were very clear about what they wanted to work on, but taking the time during your first actual coaching session to set goals together helps to get rid of any gray area.

And also to make sure that you and your client are on the same page. Now I know for me, there have been many times when I started working with clients and I look at their intake form, or I look at my notes for my discovery session with them and I say, oh, Hey. So it looks like you’re looking to do X, Y, and Z, whatever their goals were.

And many times they will say to me, yeah, you know, those things are important, but I’ve been thinking. And the thing that I really wanna work on is. And it’ll be totally different from the things that they shared, both on their intake form and in their discovery session. So you want to take time to really get on the same page, make sure that you know, what your client really wants to work on.

Now that they’ve showed up and they’re in front of you rather than just referring to what they might have said in an, their call are written down on the intake form. Typically when someone’s sitting down with you and they realize that you’re there to support them in all of these areas of their health things come to mind that they want to work on with you.

That again might not have been either related to, or even close to the things that they told you earlier. So really get clear. And also once you’re clear, kind of a pro tip is make sure that they understand the timeline that it will teach. Or that it will take to reach their goals. For example, you know, most people who are working or who are new to working with coaches may not have a practical idea of how long it will actually take to get results.

They might have an idea that they can come to you with a goal of. Losing 50 pounds and really have no idea how long that would actually take to make happen. They might think, oh, you know, a month from now or two months from now and realistically with their situation, their schedules, their lifestyles, their particular health.

It might take them closer to six months. Right? And you’ll, you won’t know that of course, until they’re sitting in front of you. But the idea here is when you work to set goals together, you can include a timeline in your planning to help ease your clients’ worries and to set realistic expectation. So I like to ask the magic wand question, right?

So if I could wave a magic wand and grant you three wishes, what would they be? And the second follow up question to that is by when, right? So what would those wishes be? And by when that’s gonna help you to immediately know in that very first session, what there are three primary areas of focus. Are, and what their timelines look like for achieving those goals.

Now, these things will help you to avoid asking the infamous. So what do you wanna work on today? Right? Because now, you know what their long-term vision is, you know, what their goals are and you know, what their expectations are when it comes to the timeline. All right. Let’s check back in with our cell to hear her talk about finding her ideal client and what her life has looked like.

Since she graduated from ITN,

[00:09:06] Darcel Osei: I realized that my ideal client is kind of not to sound narcissistic, but me. I want to really serve high achieving women who are trying to achieve success in their life and kind of underline that. With getting their hormone health, I balance as well. And it kind of speaks to, I guess, my own journey going through lockdown, being a mom of a little one, I could tell that just my hormones were all over the place.

I mean, they were really just running away with me. And then I was trying to get through this course to create my own business. So those were the two things I needed. I was like, okay, I need to get my hormones and under control so that I can feel a little bit. Balanced and then be able to kind of create this success in this business that I want.

And I’m gonna be really honest and vulnerable because this might actually be helpful to other graduates as well, as excited as I was to do the course and come out of it and get ready to coach. I graduated in all of a sudden this like incredible imposter syndrome in fair of putting myself out there, kind of took hold of me.

And I thought, okay. I need to build my confidence as a coach. How can I do that? But take a little bit of the pressure off of it. So what I did was I put out a post inviting five people to have two, three coaching sessions with me. So I thought this way I can create some impact in their lives while gaining some coaching experie.

So I’m currently in the process of doing that. And I’m quite, I’m really enjoying that because it’s just such a beautiful feeling at the end of every coaching session to feel like. You know, they’ve had just one really good takeaway or they have something new that, you know, they can look forward to that they hadn’t really thought was possible before.

[00:11:02] Cynthia Garcia: All right. The second thing that you want to look at after you talk through your client’s goals and their desires is what hasn’t worked for them in the past and why. Right? So again, you explore what it is that they’re looking to do. You set timelines and you make those realistic, and then you wanna uncover what hasn worked for them in the past and why it hasn’t worked.

Now, this is evolutionary psychology, and it’s something that we teach here at ITN. And it’s really critical to you setting your clients up for success. So for example, if your client wants to lose 50 pounds and they haven’t been able to do so, because they’ve only tried restricting and cutting out foods that leads to binging, then that’s probably not gonna be a great solution for them.

In the future. Now I would argue that’s probably not a good solution at any point for anyone, but I digress. The point here is you want to see what worked for them and what didn’t. And if you know, one thing didn’t work, then I wouldn’t try that again. Right. However, if you hear from your client that they lost 10 pounds and they kept it all for over two years by meal planning and prepping every Sunday, you might wanna support them in including that or some version of it into their work with you.

Now, every client is different, so you’ll wanna treat them accordingly. And remember that personalization is always key.

Coaching can be a tremendous pathway to success. We asked ourselves to share some of her biggest moments of success since starting her coaching journey. So let’s tune in and see what she said.

[00:12:37] Darcel Osei: I think something that’s made me really proud and it might, it might seem like a small thing, but I walked away kind of feeling like, oh, this is, this is what you can do for people. I was speaking to someone who is somebody that took me up on those free sessions and, you know, she had been made redundant and she said she just had this feeling that she was useless.

And we just, I kind of talked through and got her to. Tell me what her ID ideal life would look like. And it was completely different to what she’d been doing. And suddenly I felt like at some point she did say that it was impossible because of different areas and different obstacles, which we then talked about and how she could overcome them.

And I felt like towards the end of the session, she was seeing the possibility of that. And she was actually going to take some and steps to move towards that. And that felt really amazing to help her see something that she saw was impossible. So. I feel like that’s one of my big successes so far.

[00:13:42] Cynthia Garcia: All right. The third thing that you can do in that very first session is to help them visualize what their future could look like after working with you. As we’ve shared, this is a big step for many people, you know, they find a coach, they book their first session. They have a lot to chat with you about and.

Like many new coaches, your clients are usually feeling scared and somewhat nervous during this first session. So this is a great opportunity for you to help them visualize how investing in themselves in this way will help them in the future. And here’s the key. You don’t want to just focus on how they might.

Look, and sure that might be important to some clients. And you can absolutely talk about that, but the focus should be on how they’re going to feel what their life is going to be like, what they’ll experience now that is different from the pain points that they’re in right now. You want to move them away from pain and over to board.

Pleasure. Why. Because when things get really tough, they’ll be able to recall this vivid picture that you’ve painted this vivid vision, if you will, and what their life will be like as a result of working with you, it will help them to stay on track. It will help them to reach their goals, and it will give them that much needed motivation and inspiration through a, out the day.

This can also help them push past their limiting beliefs and their stuck story mindset. Show them what their life can be like. So they can feel more connected to the work that they need to put in, in order to get there. Okay. So those are the three things that you can do with a new client, get really clear on their goals and set realistic expectations, explore what’s worked for them in the past and what hasn’t and why, and then have them visualize what their future could look like after working with you so that they stay motivated toward reaching their goals.

All right now I know that deciding to become a nutrition coach can feel like a big decision, probably because, well, it is . So let’s listen in for the advice that Darce shares for anyone who may be on the fence about taking that next step.

[00:15:53] Darcel Osei: I think if you’re on the fence about ITN, the fact that you’re even considering it means that you want to serve and have impact in people’s lives. And I think if you really want to have a huge impact in the lives of others, Then 100% do it because I think it just really equips you in every way to really help just individuals from a very holistic angle, just the mental, the physical, the spiritual.

So if you really want to have powerful impact in the lives of others, 100% enroll with ITN and about the fair of putting yourself out there. I think what I’ve learned is. Again, I mean, a lot of what I learned in the course has helped me so much along the way is that fair is not going anywhere and we can actually use it to our advantage.

And if we just take a moment to figure out what that fair is telling you, then eventually you get to the point where you can just feel the fair and do it anyways. And if you just really think about what’s the worst that could happen. If you put yourself out there, it’s actually not that bad. So you better off doing it.

[00:17:04] Cynthia Garcia: All right now, I wanna give you some precautions for when you start working with new clients. This is something that I think is really important or a few things that I think is really important. The first thing is keep things extremely personalized. Again, we teach this so deep here ITM, because we believe that there are no cookie cutter solutions that.

Every single person, every person’s journey with health and wellness is different. And people don’t wanna feel as though they’ve just been thrown into, you know, a room with a bunch of other people. They don’t want to feel like they, you basically say everything to the people who walk through your door.

And what they’re getting is just rehash generic. Information, you don’t wanna do that. Right? So even if you have a streamlined process for onboarding new clients or meeting new clients, that’s fine, but you always wanna keep your emails and your coaching sessions with them, very personalized so that they know you’re as invested in them as they are invested in you.

Okay. So really important to personalize every single person’s experience who walks through the door with you. And look, even if you have your signature system figured out, even if you have a five steps process that you use with every client, you can still. Personalize that to their unique history, their unique lifestyle and their unique needs, right?

Even their unique diet, because everyone has, you know, a slightly different one these days. And that’s fine. So you can still have your systems again, the transformational nutrition coaching method is a system, but then you’re taught how to personalize that within the system. So we take out all the guesswork and allow you to just focus on your client and making it personal and setting them up with a great experience.

All. The other thing is you want to focus on doing more listening than talking, especially during your first session. What I’ve noticed is when new coaches get nervous, they tend to try to talk a lot. They want to impress their clients on what they know and how they be and how they handle. They want to show up.

And, you know, let the client know that they’re great at what they do. And listen, I get it. You know, you wanna kind of establish your street cred right. Outta the gate. I totally understand. However, this can be off putting for the client, right? This isn’t about you. It’s about them. You don’t even really know what the root cause of their problem is.

You might not even be really clear on their symptoms. And you’re already talking about you and solutions that you have for them. Obviously, this is a mistake, but it’s very common and it’s okay. Remember who you are, remember that you’re a coach. You’re a guide. You’re not showing up as a consultant and giving advice and giving information.

You simply ask questions. You could educate the client if you wish based on the things that you know, and the things that you’ve learned about health and nutrition and all of these different health conditions that we teach you here at ITM. However, you can also really focus on their needs and listening to them and hearing what it is that they’re really struggling with at the root level, so that you can, again, personalize their experience and get them results.

Now, finally, the last thing that I want to remind you of is to think about how you were actually going to measure success. With your client and create a plan with accountability. So we talked already about setting expectations with your clients, and I think that’s so important. You will support them through their journey.

And that will be an amazing experience for both you and them, but you also need to get really clear on how you’re going to support them. So come up with a concrete plan of when and how you’re going to check in with them and see how things are going. And that way they know what to expect, you know, how to best manage your time and manage your schedule.

And both of you can walk away with an agreement for accountability that you feel really happy with. Again, if you don’t do this, they’re just kind of left wondering what happens next or what happens if they get stuck or they don’t stick to the plan that they created with you, you and oftentimes it can feel very overwhelming when they feel lost like that.

They might not know to reach out to you. They might not. Think that they can reach out to you. In fact, it might be part of your coaching agreement that they don’t reach out to you in between sessions. Some coaches have that and some don’t, it’s totally up to you, but by establishing a plan with, of accountability in advance, all of the expectations are set again for both you and the client, and everyone knows what kind next.

Okay. Let’s check in with Darel one last time to get her take on what nutrition coaches can provide for people and why coaching is so important, especially in this day and age that we live in.

[00:22:00] Darcel Osei: What I would say is I truly believe that what we do as coaches is really important. And I mean, now more than ever, it’s so critical because people are. You know, afraid and people are anxious and, you know, people are trying to get on with their lives and not really sure where to start. People are trying to create things for themselves.

People are trying to create good health for themselves and they don’t know where to start. And I think what we do is so critical because we can just, you know, offer people in for information and how to educate them on all of this incredible new research and even just get them. To see things from a different perspective and see the possibilities from themselves and actually reach those possibilities and beyond.

So I think that what we do is really critical and really important. And that’s the other thing, you know, every time I start to feel the fair, I remember what I actually have to offer and how helpful that could be to someone. So I’m gonna let that be my driving force and not the fair.

[00:23:20] Cynthia Garcia: All right. So if you recently signed on your first client, congratulations, that is super exciting. And I hope this episode helped you to understand how you can set both your client and yourself up for success from the very beginning. If you’re interested in becoming a coach, this is a great time to become a student at ITN because we’ve just launched our brand new limited time success series of free master classes that we are only offering for new students.

Listen with the challenges of the past few years, we are even more dedicated to our mission of certifying successful transformation, nutrition, coaches, your success. Is our success. So for a limited time, we are including a powerful new masterclass to help you make money and enjoy a new career. As a transformational nutrition coach fast, you can see all of the details on this special offer slash enroll.

And that wraps up this. Episode who was a short one, but we got in, we got out and you got great information to use on your coaching journey. Thank you so much for joining me today. Don’t forget that you can see all of the show notes and other resources for this episode slash episode 0 2 7.

And if you’re enjoying the show and it’s served you please rate and review the show as I would so appreciate any of your thoughts at. Feedback. And of course it helps our show get seen and listened to you by other people who are looking to discover new ways to feed themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.

That is it for today. Thank you again for joining me and I’ll see you next week for a brand new episode.


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