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Qualifying Marker #8: Designing Actions, Goal Setting, and Accountability

On the other side of creating awareness is helping clients design action plans to help them move forward. This marker combines two ICF core competencies, goal setting and planning, which happen within each session. This marker also includes managing progress and accountability, which, although addressed within a session, takes a larger view of how life coaching fits strategically into a client’s life.

Does the coach ask a client what the client wants to accomplish in the session?

This is an easy marker, and it asks whether or not you set a clear agenda for what the client wants to accomplish in the coaching session.

Does the coach help the client create a new action plan and action steps or provide an inquiry the client will consider between the end of the current session and the beginning of the next session?

This marker asks whether or not you have designed an effective action plan with your client. This marker also checks whether that action plan aligns with the larger goals your client wants to accomplish in their life.

Does the coach invite the client to see resources as well as obstacles in designing the plan?

This marker checks whether or not you further explore the resources your client thinks they will need and the potential costs the client may experience while following through on the action plan. It is an attempt to create increased awareness about the action plan and the forward momentum your client can create to accomplish their goals. It also serves as a way for you to address the challenges that are probably going to arise ahead of time so that when a client experiences those challenges, they are already prepared to handle setbacks.

Does the coach help the client create effective accountability?

Keeping oneself accountable is one of the most challenging yet powerful activities that people can do to grow and reach goals. In this sense, accountability is the backbone of coaching and is essential for being able to help a client truly move forward. This is what provides so much value to clients. This marker checks your ability to explore what extra pieces of motivation will work well for your client to move forward when things get difficult and motivation is low. When clients learn to take on difficult actions consistently and follow through on commitments, they build stamina and develop a habit of doing hard things. Having a strong sense of accountability is extremely useful to the coaching process.

Does the coach partner with the client to close the session?

This marker addresses the coach’s ability to circle back to the original agenda and ask the client how well the coach and client did in addressing the session agenda. It also points to a coach’s ability to wrap up all of the insights, ideas, and action steps the client will take after the session.

Does the coach notice and reflect on the client's progress?

This marker is looking for an acknowledgment that the client receives from the coach. As coaches, we are in such an honored position to explore our clients' intimate thoughts and feelings and design meaningful actions. In such a privileged position, acknowledgments and encouragement can have a profound positive impact on your client. So often, people get stuck feeling hopeless because they think the present circumstances are going to continue. However, when you help someone see that the present circumstances have changed for the better, you help that person adopt a more positive and effective perspective and develop a mindset that can meet future challenges.

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