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The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Notes: Tips, Examples, and Best Practices

Categorized as Clients

Hey there, coach! Are you tired of feeling like your coaching notes are all over the place? Or maybe you’re struggling to get a good read on your clients during sessions. 

Don’t sweat it – we’ve been there, done that, and we’re here to spill all the tea!

In this blog post, we’re gonna give you the lowdown on how to take some bomb coaching notes that’ll seriously up your game. 

So buckle up – we’re about to take your coaching notes to the next level.

By the way, we’re Cass and Tee, the fierce duo behind Lovely Impact – the ultimate biz resource website for coaches like you. 

With years of experience in the coaching industry, we’ve got the insider scoop on how to take notes like a pro, and we’re ready to share our secrets!

What Are Coaching Notes?

If you’re a coach (and we know you are, because you’re here!), then you know that taking notes during and after client sessions is a must. 

But let’s be real – taking notes can be overwhelming, tedious, and sometimes downright confusing. We get it – we’ve been there too. 

First of all, let’s talk about what coaching notes even are. 

Basically, coaching notes are like the secret sauce of your coaching business – they’re the key to unlocking your client’s needs, tracking progress, and providing personalized guidance. 

When you take good coaching notes, you’re able to keep track of your client’s progress over time, identify patterns and trends, and provide more effective coaching based on their individual needs.

Now, we know what you might be thinking – “But Cass and Tee, isn’t taking notes during a session distracting and rude?” We hear you, coach, but trust us – taking notes during a session is actually a sign of respect and professionalism. 

Not only does it show your clients that you’re fully present and engaged in the session, but it also helps you stay focused on their needs and goals.

So, why is taking effective notes during and after client sessions so important? 

Well, for starters, it helps you better understand your clients. By keeping track of what they’re saying and how they’re feeling, you can gain valuable insights into their needs and goals. This, in turn, allows you to provide more personalized guidance and support.

In addition, taking good coaching notes also helps you track progress over time. When you can see how far your clients have come since their first session, you can celebrate their successes and identify areas where they still need support. This, in turn, helps you provide more effective coaching and keep your clients motivated and engaged.

Overall, taking effective coaching notes is a game-changer for understanding your clients, tracking progress, and providing more effective coaching. 

So, buckle up and get ready to take some notes, coach – we’re about to spill all our secrets!

Types of Coaching Notes + Examples

Alright, let’s dive into the different types of coaching notes that coaches may take. 

We know it can be confusing to keep track of all the different types of notes but trust us – each type serves a unique purpose and can help you provide more effective coaching to your clients.

Session Notes

First up, we have session notes. Session notes are taken during each coaching session and are used to track what was discussed, what progress was made, and what action steps were identified. 

These notes should include the date of the session, the client’s name, and a brief summary of what was discussed. 

Here are some examples of session notes: 

  • Life Coach: Discussed client’s career goals and identified limiting beliefs around success. Set action steps for the client to explore career options and challenge limiting beliefs.
  • Health Coach: Discussed client’s current nutrition and exercise habits and identify areas for improvement. Set action steps for clients to meal prep and incorporate strength training into their routine.
  • Executive Coach: Discussed client’s leadership style and identified areas for improvement in communication and delegation. Set action steps for the client to practice active listening and delegate more effectively.
  • Business Coach: Discussed client’s sales goals and identified areas for improvement in marketing and customer service. Set action steps for clients to develop a social media strategy and improve customer service processes.

Progress Coaching Notes

Next, we have progress notes. Progress notes are taken over a longer period of time, such as weekly or monthly, and are used to track progress and identify patterns and trends. 

Progress Coaching Notes

These notes should include a summary of what progress has been made since the last session, as well as any setbacks or challenges that the client has faced. 

  • Life Coach: Client reported feeling more confident in their abilities and has applied for two new job opportunities. Client also reported feeling overwhelmed and identified the need for additional support.
  • Health Coach: Client lost 2 pounds and reported feeling more energized. Client also reported struggling with nighttime snacking and identified the need for additional support.
  • Executive Coach: Client reported feeling more confident in their leadership abilities and has received positive feedback from team members. Client also reported struggling with time management and identified the need for additional support.
  • Business Coach: Client saw a 20% increase in sales and received positive customer feedback after implementing new customer service processes. Client also reported feeling overwhelmed with social media and identified the need for additional support.

Action Plan Notes

Finally, we have action plan notes. Action plan notes are taken at the end of each session and are used to identify specific action steps that the client will take before the next session.

Action Plan Notes

 These notes should include a summary of what action steps were identified, as well as a timeline for completing them. 

  • Life Coach: Client will create a list of potential job opportunities and network with at least three contacts in the industry before the next session.
  • Health Coach: Client will track food intake in a journal and complete at least 3 strength training sessions before the next session.
  • Executive Coach: Client will complete a time audit and identify areas where time can be better allocated before the next session.
  • Business Coach: Client will attend a social media marketing webinar and identify potential outsourcing opportunities for social media management before the next session.

Overall, taking different types of coaching notes can help you track progress, identify patterns and trends, and provide more effective coaching to your clients. 

By keeping detailed and organized notes, you can provide personalized guidance and support that will help your clients achieve their goals faster and more effectively. 

So, grab that notebook and pen, coaches – it’s time to elevate your note-taking skills!

Tips for taking effective notes

Okay, coach! We’ve covered why taking good coaching notes is important and what types of notes you should be taking.

 Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to take effective coaching notes that will seriously up your game.

First, it’s important to listen actively during each coaching session. This means focusing your full attention on your client and really hearing what they’re saying. When you’re actively listening, you’ll be able to pick up on important details and key points that should be included in your notes.

Also, it’s important to focus on the most important takeaways from each session. This means identifying the client’s goals, progress made, and action steps that were identified. Don’t worry about writing down every single thing – just focus on the most important points.

In addition, using shorthand can be a lifesaver when it comes to taking effective coaching notes. You don’t have to write out every word – just jot down the key phrases or words that will help you remember what was discussed.

Consistency is also key when it comes to taking effective coaching notes. Develop a system that works for you and stick to it. This could mean using a specific notebook or digital platform, using a specific format for your notes, or setting aside time after each session to review and update your notes.

Finally, practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different note-taking techniques until you find a system that works for you. And, of course, practice taking notes regularly – the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Taking effective coaching notes is all about actively listening, focusing on key points, using shorthand, being consistent, and finding a system that works for you. 

By taking these tips to heart and practicing regularly, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a note-taking pro in no time. 

How To Use Your Notes For Better Client Experiences

Now we’ve arrived at the good stuff! Let’s talk about how coaches can use their notes to enhance the coaching experience for both themselves and their clients.

How To Use Your Notes For Better Client Experiences

To track progress over time

By reviewing their notes after each session, coaches can see how far their clients have come since their first session and celebrate their successes. This also allows coaches to identify areas where their clients still need support and adjust their coaching approach accordingly.

To identify areas for improvement

By tracking what worked well and what could be improved in each session, coaches can refine their coaching approach and provide even more effective guidance to their clients. For example, if a client is struggling with a specific challenge, a coach might review their notes to identify strategies that have been effective in the past.

To personalize the coaching experience

By keeping detailed and organized notes, coaches can tailor their guidance and support to each individual client’s needs and goals. For example, if a client has a specific goal they want to achieve, a coach might review their notes to identify strategies that have been effective in the past and develop a personalized plan of action.

Taking effective coaching notes is a game-changer for enhancing the coaching experience for both coaches and their clients. 

By tracking progress over time, identifying areas for improvement, and personalizing their coaching approach, coaches can provide more effective guidance and support that will help their clients achieve their goals faster and more effectively.

Apologies for the oversight, girlboss! Here’s the revised version with the links included:

Real Coaches Share Their Note-Taking Tips

We reached out to some incredible coaches on LinkedIn to get their expert advice on note-taking.

These pros shared their tried-and-true strategies for keeping track of coaching sessions and maximizing the impact of their notes.

Check out their valuable tips below!

1 – Miranda V., a Linkedin Brand Coach, emphasizes the importance of follow-up notes and “homework”:

“I take notes for myself – to guide my thoughts and focus the conversation. Sometimes I’ll follow up emails with notes or ‘homework’.”

Read Miranda’s full comment on LinkedIn here >>

2 – Birgit K., a Life Coach, shares her unique method of note-keeping and accessibility:

“I hand write my notes, scan them, and store them alphabetically in my Dropbox. Mostly, I use the original notes in the following session, but if I travel, I have access.”

Read Birgit’s full comment on LinkedIn here >>

3 – Annie D., a Health Coach, reveals her preferred platforms for note-taking:

“I use Google Docs a lot because it’s easy to share with clients… but also now use the platform Quenza because it’s a real game-changer.”

Read Annie’s full comment on LinkedIn here >>

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post about taking effective coaching notes. We hope this guide has given you some tips and tricks that will seriously up your note-taking game and enhance the coaching experience for both you and your clients.

To recap, we started by defining coaching notes and discussing why taking good notes is so important. We then talked about the different types of notes that coaches may take, such as session notes, progress notes, and action plan notes. 

We provided tips for how to take effective notes, including listening actively, focusing on key points, using shorthand, and being consistent. 

Finally, we discussed how coaches can use their notes to enhance the coaching experience for themselves and their clients.

By taking our advice to heart and practicing regularly, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a note-taking pro in no time. 

And the benefits of taking good coaching notes are seriously game-changing – you’ll be able to track progress over time, identify areas for improvement, and personalize your coaching approach to help your clients achieve their goals faster and more effectively.

We want to hear from you, coach! 

Did you follow our advice? 

Do you have any additional tips or tricks for taking effective coaching notes? 

Drop a comment below and let us know – we love hearing from our coaching community.

About The Author

Hey! I’m Cass, a brand coach and the Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches elevate their businesses with beautiful branding and websites. Here on our blog, my content focuses on branding, web design, and storytelling.

Hey! I’m Tee, a brand and marketing coach and the Co-Founder & CMO at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches grow their coaching businesses digitally. Here on our blog, my content focuses on web design, marketing, business, and social media strategy.

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