Most coaches let you choose how many sessions a month you work with them. And you’ll often also have a choice of different session lengths, from quickie laser coaching sessions of 10 – 20 minutes to the more standard 45 minute session to marathon session that last two hours or more.
What’s the ideal coach session length and frequency?
If you’ve read other pages on the site, you won’t be shocked to hear that there aren’t standard, one-size-fits-all answers to any question about coaching, including this one. You decide what’s best for you based on your personality, why you’re working with a coach, your situation, and the time and money you have available. You can’t necessarily figure out the right frequency and length of your life coach sessions in advance. You just have to make your best guess and then adjust as you go.
More is better, right?
When it comes to coaching, more is more better, right?
Many coaches believe so. I’m not one of them.
Firstly, meeting with a coach frequently over a long period of time may increase the risk that you’ll feel dependent on the coach. The coach’s opinions and views may take on too great an importance.
Secondly, having a coach in your life has costs and potential negative consequences.
Thirdly, and most fundamentally, each coaching relationship has an inherent rhythm and pace that, ideally, the coach and client honor. An amount of contact that’s enough but not too much. In my view, you’d want to try to get the right amount of coaching for you, not as much coaching as you can.
How often should you meet with your coach?
From reading different coaches’ websites, you may get the sense that meeting weekly is the normal and the most beneficial way to work with a coach. In some situations, I’d agree with that. In others, a less frequent schedule makes more sense.
Project management, overwhelm, transitions, conflicts
If a coach is helping you actively manage a project, you may want to meet fairly frequently. You’ll want regular encouragement, strategizing, problem-solving, and accountability.
If you’re overwhelmed, going through a transition, dealing with a major conflict, you may also appreciate having the frequent support of a coach. In these situations, meeting with a coach weekly may make good sense. You may even want to work with a coach who lets you contact her by e-mail and for short phone check-ins between sessions.
Deep thinking, self-discovery, life questions
On the other hand, if your work with a coach involves deep thinking about yourself and life, you may not need or even want such frequent meetings. These questions need time to settle in your system. Answers need time to bubble up naturally. Several weeks between sessions can give your system a chance to let the questions simmer in the background until they’re ready. For this kind of deep work, having a life coach session once or twice a month may be the ideal frequency.
Coach may have legitimate scheduling constraints
If you want to meet with a coach, say, once a month, and the coach normally meets with her clients weekly, she may not be able to accommodate you. Coaches I know only work with clients weekly, so if someone only wants to work monthly, they can’t fill that person’s time slot the other three or four weeks a month. Their systems also aren’t set up for anything but weekly meetings, so they don’t have easy ways to book single sessions or charge for them.
How long should a life coach session be?
A life coach session can last anywhere from five minutes to two or three hours. Most coaching sessions probably fall in the 30 to 60 minute range. But some coaches offer quick, laser sessions, and others prefer longer, marathon session that last two hours or more. Let’s take a look at these less common approaches to see they interest you.
Typical sessions: 30 to 60 minutes
Most coaches and clients prefer 30 to 60 minute sessions. You have enough time to discuss a topic in depth or cover a few topics more briefly. You also have time to add in extras, like celebrating victories, asking quick questions, and setting intentions for the coming weeks. The session isn’t too long, so you don’t get restless or worn out. If you’re in doubt about what session length is right for you, this is a good place to start.
Laser sessions are short, powerful sessions that last around10 to 20 minutes. The dynamic of laser sessions can be powerful. You know you don’t have much time, so you get right to the heart of the matter. The coach doesn’t allow herself to get sidetracked or distracted by unimportant details.
But you don’t have time to play, explore, and delve deeply into a question. And the coach doesn’t have much detail or depth of understanding of you or your situation, so her analyses and recommendations can be way off.
Some people feel nervous and stressed if they know they only have a few minutes with a coach. If you feel that way about coaching, no worries. Plenty of coaches will work with you for an hour, and some for more.
Some clients prefer longer sessions of two hours or more. They may have really complex situations that require longer, more in-depth discussions. Or they may be busy, and it’s easier for them to schedule one or two longer meetings a month than several shorter sessions.
The best stuff happens at the end
However long your session is, you’ll often find that the really interesting things happen at the end. You feel like you’re finally getting to the heart of the matter. Or you have a major revelation. Or you get into a particularly interesting discussion.
Why does this happen?
Here are some theories:
- When you know the session is about to end, you get serious and bring up the really important topics that you don’t want to skip.
- If you’re embarrassed to talk about something, it’s more comfortable to bring it up at the end, when you’ll only have a few minutes to talk about it.
- The drama of the end of the session inspires revelations and clarity.
Feeling like the most valuable discussions happen at the end of a life coach session is normal. It doesn’t mean that your session was too short.