Have you ever thought about one-on-one coaching?

It’s powerful.

Customized sessions, direct feedback, and personal attention – it’s all part of the package.

We’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re dreaming of being a coach or just thinking about trying out some coaching, this guide’s for you.

So, buckle up.

What is one-on-one coaching?

one on one coaching

One-on-one coaching is a personalized method where a coach guides an individual to achieve personal and professional growth.

It involves tailored sessions addressing the client’s specific needs and challenges. The coach provides guidance, support, and accountability, enabling progress toward goals through self-awareness, skill development, and overcoming obstacles.

The term “coach” initially became associated with sports coaching in the 19th century, and today, one-on-one coaching is widely used in various fields, including business, life coaching, and personal development.

The concept of one-on-one coaching has evolved over time, drawing inspiration from diverse disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and linguistics.

It has become a prominent method for providing individualized support and guidance in professional and personal domains.

Why and why not one-on-one coaching?

Pros and Cons of one to one coaching


  1. Real-world data for coaches: One-on-one coaching provides coaches with invaluable insights into the real problems and needs of their target audience. This information is instrumental in enhancing sales funnel for coaches, including pre-recorded courses.
  2. Apprenticeship-like value for students: Students receive personalized attention and guidance, similar to an apprenticeship, ensuring they derive substantial value and hands-on experience from the sessions.
  3. Enhanced personalization: Tailored coaching sessions meet the specific needs of each individual, fostering deeper understanding and more effective learning.
  4. Direct feedback and support: Immediate and personalized feedback helps in addressing specific challenges and encourages continuous improvement.
  5. Focused development: Targets personal and professional growth more effectively by addressing specific goals, challenges, and strengths of the individual.

Why not?

  1. Not scalable: One-on-one coaching demands significant time and energy from coaches, making it difficult to scale this business model. The time spent with individual clients limits the coach’s capacity to take on more clients or other tasks.
  2. High costs and limited clientele: The intensive nature of one-on-one coaching often leads to higher fees, which might limit the number of students who can afford such services.
  3. Lack of community: Unlike group coaching, one-on-one sessions miss out on the community aspect, where participants can learn from peers facing similar challenges.
  4. High expectations: The personalized nature of this coaching style can lead to very high expectations from clients, which might be challenging to meet consistently.
  5. Difficulty in depth of conversation: Achieving meaningful depth in conversations can be challenging, and feedback needs to be a two-way process, which can sometimes be difficult to manage effectively.

Creating coaching plans

Create a coaching plan

Crafting an effective coaching plan is a dynamic process that guides both the coach and the client toward achieving specific, transformative goals.

Let’s delve into the key components of a successful coaching plan, drawing insights from various resources and your personal experience:

Set goals and milestones

Set goals and milestones

The foundation of any effective coaching plan rests on the formulation of clear and concise goals.

These goals are best structured using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) paradigm.

Begin by understanding the client’s current situation, aspirations, and potential obstacles.

Then, collaboratively establish SMART goals that align with their needs and motivations.

For instance, a YouTube coach might set a goal to increase a client’s channel subscribers by 30% within six months.

Break down these goals into smaller, measurable milestones.

For example, the YouTube coach might set milestones such as improving video quality, increasing posting frequency, or enhancing audience engagement within specific timeframes.

This approach not only makes the goals more attainable but also provides regular checkpoints for assessing progress.

Determine number of sessions

Determine number of sessions

The number of sessions required will depend on the complexity of the goals and the client’s needs.

If a client requires intensive hand-holding, more sessions might be necessary.

Conversely, if the client is expected to undertake more research and actions independently, fewer sessions may be needed. The coach should assess the client’s individual situation and decide accordingly.

Determine the objectives for each session

Determine objectives for session

Each coaching session should have a specific objective that contributes to the overall goal. This makes every session purposeful and keeps the client focused.

Objectives can range from skill development and problem-solving to feedback and reflection.

For instance, the YouTube coach might dedicate certain sessions to content strategy while others to video editing techniques.

Alternative approach: Focus on high-priority areas

Focus on high priority areas

An alternative coaching approach is to prioritize the most urgent issues, especially when time is limited or specific challenges need immediate resolution.

You can ask your students certain insightful questions like:

  1. What are the most pressing challenges you’re currently facing?
  2. Can you identify any specific issues or situations that require immediate attention?
  3. What areas, if addressed immediately, could bring about significant improvements or progress?

For instance, if you are a YouTube coach, you might direct their attention towards a YouTuber’s most critical problems, like enhancing video thumbnails or audience engagement strategies, before addressing wider-scope subjects.

👉 I engaged an accent reduction coach a few years ago. They initially thought my accent was reasonably neutral, but I specifically requested them to concentrate on my high-priority articulations. The coach then provided enough exercises for me to complete within seven days, which proved to be highly beneficial.

When you’re done with planning, it’s very important to outline or externalize your plan.

It is preferable to use a mind-mapping tool like MindNode for Mac or XMind.

Mindmap to increase YouTube channel subscribers

👉 For the above mindmap, I have clearly defined the goal at the center, and then the associated milestones. For each milestone, I have assigned dedicated sessions with clear session objectives.

Make sure to share the plan with the students so that they can get the big picture and effectively plan their activities in their own lives.

Similarly, it’s imperative to communicate the coaching plan to the students, allowing them to understand the overall structure and purpose of each milestone and session.

Prerequisites for one-on-one coaching

Prerequisites for one to one coaching
  1. Use reliable video conferencing software like Zoom or Google Meet.
  2. Integrate session scheduling with calendar tools like Cal.com or Notion Calendar.
  3. Prohibit mobile phone use during sessions for professionalism and full engagement.
  4. Set up automated reminders through scheduling systems or digital assistants to prevent missed sessions.
  5. Implement a clear, user-friendly booking system for efficient session management.

These prerequisites set a strong foundation for effective one-on-one coaching sessions, ensuring both the coach and the student can make the most out of each interaction.

What to discuss in one-on-one coaching sessions?

Things to discuss in one to one coaching session

In one-on-one coaching sessions, structuring the discussion effectively is key to facilitating progress and engagement.

The session can be divided into four essential components: check-in, accountability, discussion, and action items.

Here’s how you can format these components:

  1. Check-in: Connect personally or professionally. Example question: “Any personal or professional wins recently?
  2. Accountability: Maintain commitment. Example question: “Did you complete the last session’s action item?
  3. Discussion: Cover theoretical and technical aspects based on coaching type. Use exploratory questions to promote self-discovery.
  4. Action Items: Set goals for the next meeting. Example question: “What goals do you want to be held accountable for next time?

The importance of asking powerful, open-ended coaching questions cannot be overstated.

Such questions often begin with ‘what’ or ‘how’ and are framed to inspire self-discovery, encourage exploration of values and beliefs, and stimulate creative thinking.

Here are five exploratory questions that can be integrated into any kind of coaching session:

  1. What are the key challenges you are currently facing?
  2. What steps can you take today toward achieving your goals?
  3. How do your current actions align with your long-term vision?
  4. What are the most significant barriers to your progress, and how can you overcome them?
  5. In what ways can you leverage your strengths to enhance your current situation?

By integrating these components and questions into your coaching sessions, you create a structured yet flexible framework that can be adapted to various coaching niches.

This approach ensures that each session is purposeful and focused and leads to actionable outcomes.

Moreover, these questions pave the way for a deeper exploration of the client’s mindset.

These approaches show that understanding clients’ socio-cognitive characteristics like self-awareness and self-regulation can significantly advance purposeful behavioral changes.

Provide high-quality feedback

provide high quality feedback

Providing high-quality feedback is a crucial aspect of one-on-one coaching.

High-quality feedback not only helps individuals recognize their strengths and weaknesses but also empowers them to make meaningful changes and improvements.

In fact, according to ResearchGate, the top success factor for coaching is constructive feedback.

  1. Constructive feedback
  2. Constructive feedback
  3. Direct observation
  4. Targeted goal-setting
  5. Trusting relationship

High-quality feedback serves as a cornerstone for personal and professional growth.

Here’s why it matters:

  1. Enhances self-awareness: Honest and constructive feedback allows individuals to gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and areas that need improvement. It helps them see themselves more objectively.
  2. Fosters learning: Quality feedback provides individuals with valuable insights that they can use to learn and grow. It encourages a mindset of continuous improvement.
  3. Builds trust: When delivered with sincerity and respect, feedback strengthens the coach-coachee relationship, fostering trust and open communication.
  4. Motivates improvement: Effective feedback inspires individuals to take action and make positive changes. It acts as a catalyst for progress.

Now, let’s delve into the principles that can guide you in providing high-quality feedback during one-on-one coaching sessions:

Principles for high quality feedback
  1. Clarity and objectivity: When delivering feedback, it’s crucial to be clear and impartial. Use measurable metrics and specific examples to encourage the coachee to assess their performance objectively. Avoiding vague or subjective language is a must.
  2. Start with specific cases: Begin feedback discussions by focusing on specific instances or cases. This helps the coachee understand the context and circumstances. As you delve into this, look for patterns and trends in their behavior or performance.
  3. Value accurate criticism: While compliments are appreciated, accurate criticism is often more valuable. Don’t shy away from highlighting areas that need improvement. However, deliver criticism constructively and with empathy.
  4. Open and iterative process: Make the feedback process open, evolutionary, and iterative. By encouraging candid conversations about mistakes and their underlying cause, foster an environment of continuous improvement, mutual trust, and learning.
  5. Tactful persuasion: When guiding individuals towards certain insights or changes, be gentle and tactful. Avoid confrontation or rigidity. If you realize you’re wrong, admit it promptly and genuinely.
  6. Encourage and express confidence: Be liberal with your encouragement. Make tasks and goals seem attainable and manageable. Let the coachee know that you have faith in their abilities and believe in their potential.

These principles align with the idea that one-on-one coaching aims to facilitate an individual’s self-discovery and improvement.

These principles are inspired by the work of Ray Dalio and Andrew Carnegie (Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People).

By following these guidelines, you can create a feedback-rich environment that nurtures personal and professional development.

Praise for achievements

Praise for achievements

Before the coaching sessions, it is important to set a specific goal for the entire coaching program, including milestones.

When clients reach these milestones, it is crucial to praise their achievements and completion of milestones.

Research and statistics have shown the positive impact of praise for achievements and performance.

SageJournals Study

For example, a study published in the Sage Journals demonstrated that students who received praise for their efforts were more likely to select learning goals and reported a higher attitude toward task persistence.

Study About Praising Employees to boost productivity

Another study from Harvard Business School suggested that praising employees can boost productivity and contribute to a healthier work environment.

Study About Praising Efforts of Childrent

Additionally, research has indicated that praising effort, rather than intelligence has more positive consequences for children’s motivation and achievement.

These findings emphasize the importance of providing specific and constructive praise to enhance motivation and performance.

Wrapping up

One-on-one coaching is transformative!

This approach isn’t just a simple training method. It’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

Imagine working closely with a coach who tailors each session to your needs, helping you gain self-awareness, develop skills, and overcome obstacles.

Direct feedback, focused development, and personalized attention all make it an incredibly powerful experience.

So, if you’re a coach wanting to create a real impact, you need to take one-on-one coaching seriously!