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Creative Ways To Wrap Up Your Coaching Sessions

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What She Said:

The only cure

I know

is a good ceremony,

that’s what she said.

Marmon Silko, L. (1977)

Spare a moment to consider the many different ways you could close and wrap up your coaching sessions that has meaning.

Reflecting back on the many endings I’ve had with clients the ones that seem to stick with clients were the ones where we didn’t just talk or write about the experience in order to evaluate it’s effectiveness but where they did something practical engaging the body where they could physically communicate their reflections of the coaching experience beyond the spoken or written word.

One memory of a personal experience of an ending on a training course comes to mind. It was the final morning of a ten-week personal development course, which ran from the unusual times of 6am – 8.30am twice a week. On our final session we were requested to create a closing ceremony that expressed our experiences on the course.

Rudy a budding actress invited us all to step outside for her ending onto the streets opposite Tower Bridge holding a bunch of multi-coloured balloons. Before she let the bunch of balloons go Rudy shared what the course had done for her, a funny story about how she had arrived at deciding on the balloons ceremony and ending with telling us about each of her goals she’d summarized on each balloon which she was about to release into the vast London skyline.

The memory of watching Rudy release her balloons into the early morning skyline and watching her balloons climb high above the clutches of the Tower of London is as fresh in my body and mind as if it were yesterday.

But perhaps even more was the primal physicality of the moment, the body and emotional shifts we watched Rudy go through as each Wish balloon was released into the air. The crisp, early morning London air, the hum of the morning traffic, the charcoal grey stone work of the Tower of London, the pale blue sky about to be set alight by the swatch of colour floating into her clutches. All of this brought the senses alive and engaged all of us fully in the moment.

Years later I saw Rudy in an Indian restaurant in Greenwich. We had a lovely exchange and in a short space of time I learnt about how many of her wishes that had been etched across each of those balloons had manifested in the most wonderful ways in her life.

Using physical activities by engaging the body often has greater impact than the traditional evaluation method coaches automatically switch to.

There is the danger that the often routine habits of verbal and written evaluations provides feedback that is safe and is sometimes more reflective of what the coachee feels the coach wants to hear. But when you introduce activities that help consolidate the client experience of the coaching which is client focused then the outcome is often far more reaching and beneficial to the coachee.

One way we can make this happen is to invite the coachee to consider how to make a good ending for themselves and this often requires thinking and acting outside of the box. Ceremony allows the learning from the experience to not just be thought about but to be felt in what could be described as an embodied way.

Here are two examples of wrap up sessions that could be creatively incorporated as ending ceremonies with your coachee’s.

Coaching Release Ceremony

You will need:

  • Pack of multi coloured party balloons
  • Permanent marker pens
  • Pack of luggage or gift tags

Release ceremony

  • Invite the coachee to reflect on the challenges and issues they originally arrived at the coaching wanting to work on
  • Which of those themes feels like there has been a shift?  What evidence supports this?
  • Ask the coachee to specifically state what they are now able to release or let go of as a result of coaching?
  • Invite the coachee to write one word describing what they’re now willing to let go of on each balloon. Alternatively have them write the issues down on a luggage or gift tag and tie this onto each balloon.
  • Find an outdoor space or window (please be mindful of health and safety) and release the balloons one by one into the air.
  • Watch the balloons until they disappear.

Goals Release Ceremony

  • Follow the same steps but with this ceremony focus on what the new goals and aspirations are and write each goal separately on an individual balloon or luggage or gift tag and release in the same way.
  • Not wanting to go outside try Michael Atavar’s suggestion and stick a pin in each balloon and make them go pop.

Other Wrap Up Options

  • Invite the coachee to collage their experience of the coaching
  • Draw or sketch three images, which reflects the experience of the coaching
  • Bring in a small bag of random objects and invite the coachee to choose three objects and share how they reflect their experience and what they are taking away from the coaching
  • Gather a selection of magazine images and postcards and invite the coachee to select images that represents their evaluation of the programme
  • Invite the coachee to complete a video or audio feedback and discuss together as part of the evaluation of the coaching
  • Ask the coachee what three books would they take on a desert island that would support their ongoing personal and professional development?
  • Gift your coachee a recommended reading list based on your experience of working with them
  • Create Evaluation forms with images on
  • Freewrite your feedback

What other creative ways have you wrapped up your coaching sessions?

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