5 Reasons Why Journaling Between Sessions is Key to Coaching Success
One of the most powerful ways to motivate a coaching client is for them to experience measurable progress first-hand. If they can recognize their achievements they will be far more likely to feel inspired going forwards. Progress does not need to be in the form of goals marked complete. Small and achievable accomplishments can be as powerful as any other.
The items in our coaching toolbox are a vital part of our work with our clients. These are the things we use to help our clients identify where they are right now and where they want to go in the future. Our tools facilitate the stages of our client’s growth and assist in assessment along the way. Effective coaches know the value of their tools whether it be a probing question or a self-reflective homework assignment.
Journaling is a highly achievable activity that each and every client can benefit from regardless of their writing skills or previous diary-writing experience. It is easy to build into even the busiest of schedules, and remains a key element within the coaching toolkit for every style of coach. It can be introduced at any stage of the coaching journey also.
Here are the 5 powerful reasons why journaling is your key to coaching client success:
- Creative opportunity. Freedom of creativity can facilitate a significant measure of personal development opportunity for clients of all types and interests. Regardless of professional or personal background, we can all benefit from having an opportunity to explore the thoughts that lie beyond the surface and to explore avenues of our thoughts that we might not otherwise pursue. Within the safe haven of a journal entry space, we can say the things we may fear to utter aloud. We are liberated to write badly, repetitively, and nonsensically if we wish to without concern for eloquence or limitation. This is the freedom of creative journal writing and the connective key to conscious discovery with repeated practice.
- Frame of reference. Journal entries can become a highly useful tool with which to measure progress in both the short and long term. Within only a few entries, behavioral patterns and habits of reaction can be identified. Free writing can highlight these trends in order to offer valuable insight into what could be causing personal barriers and self-limiting beliefs in the wider context. For example, regular journaling might reveal the cause of root issues along with unconscious self-sabotage. Whether the written entries are brought into each session or kept entirely private, they will still serve the same purpose of progress documentation and frame of reference.
- Extra processing time. Sometimes a breakthrough may occur during the coaching session itself which could benefit from further exploration and personal reflection. Without the presence of a coach, a client may struggle to offer a clear depiction of thought. They may feel the momentum has been lost once the session is over in some instances. Therefore, journaling can effectively connect the dots between sessions to prevent significant disconnect. Further to this, clients may find that with some additional time to process the events and discussions of the session, they may find further self-discovery. Journaling equips the client with a medium in which to pour those reflections.
- Progress tracking. Journaling is a great way to marker progress throughout the coaching journey. Each entry is in itself a caption of real-time feelings, emotions and reflections that the client can read back whenever they want. Having access to these journals through a web-based platform like JournalEngine™ can provide wonderful insight for the coach into the deeper thought processes of the client outside of the conversations shared in previous appointments. It can highlight elements that had not been covered as well as offering a cornerstone from which the session can be built from. It is a literary foundation for progress in this way.
- Out of session engagement. Time between sessions can vary greatly. Perhaps sessions occur weekly, or even bi-weekly or even less often. Large gaps of time between sessions can cause engagement to gradually drop off as the client becomes consumed by other events in their life along with the usual distractions of day-to-day responsibilities. Journaling with their coach can offer clients a through line between appointments, preventing unhelpful disconnect. For a returning client who has taken a break from coaching, a journal can also be a good recap tool to use before a restarting with a new session.
Consider a journal as a natural extension to the work of a coach. It is a safe space for listening and self-discovery in parallel with coaching sessions themselves. It is not a separate or solely independent element. It is one of cohesion, drawing together every element of the work that is shared with each client. Journaling is the voice of guidance in the absence of the coach between sessions and a powerful tool for change.
Keeping engagement high between coaching sessions is an ongoing process that requires both innovation and dedication on the part of the coach. As professional leaders of the journey, we must use our skill sets and every resource available to us - including journaling - to encourage those we work with to discover their true potential.