The first step is always to get to know your client and assess them. There are different ways of obtaining information and you must find the best way that suits you. Some coaches may choose to gather information initially through questionnaires whilst others may gather all information during the client meeting.
The advantages of questionnaires are that you can collect a lot of information before you see your client hence potentially save time during the initial meeting.
However, the disadvantages are;
- the client may not complete the questionnaire properly if it is long – none of us like filling out reams of paper!
- it feels very impersonal
- you miss out on relationship building during this information gathering
- clients are less likely to be completely honest when completing a questionnaire. When in conversation the answers may be more accurate and spontaneous.
If you do use a questionnaire you still need to discuss the answers with the client at the meeting to understand more fully and ask additional questions. However you decide to gather information the purpose is to understand your client and their needs to help you make decisions about your coaching strategy. Questions to ask and points to cover in data collection include these in the next section.