Check-in & Check-out in your coaching conversations using SET

Aug 27, 2019

Are you familiar with the terms ‘Check-In’ and ‘Check-Out’? Definitely yes! We hear them every time we make hotel bookings. However, have you ever thought about checking in with your own self?

While on my journey to becoming a coach, I learned this concept of ‘check-in and check-out’ from my mentor. At the beginning of a coaching conversation, my mentor recommended to use a process of ‘Checking-In,’ which is done using the SET model: Sensation, Emotions and Thoughts.

When the coach checks-in with the client about these 3 highly important states of the client, it gives the client the opportunity to explore his or her current state. The client reaches a level of self-awareness that was not considered before. When I was first asked to ‘check-in’ using the SET approach, I was taken aback by the level of awareness it raised in me about what it is I am going through and why it is so.

The SET approach addresses the client as a whole. Next time you coach someone, apply SET by asking them about the following three things:

  • Sensation: This is how the client is feeling physically and internally. Examples are body pain, hunger, thirst.
  • Emotions: This refers to what the heart feels. What kind of emotion is the person currently experiencing? It can be happiness, sadness, neutrality, anxiety, love etc.
  • Thoughts: Whatever the cognitive mind is thinking about. It could be thought of calmness, gratitude, or frustration.

At the end of the coaching conversation, you can use SET to check-out’ as well. Ask the client the same sorts of questions that you asked at ‘check-in,’ covering their sensations, emotions and thoughts How the client feels at the end of the session can be indicative of how the session went and is also useful to assess if the client can see and feel a shift.

SET is a powerful technique enabling the coach to be fully present with the client. The client feels the coach’s  presence, which leads to building trust and thereby allows the client to open up.

Smita Raghum
Smita Raghum


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