Working with volunteer clients


Working with volunteer clients

“The most important journey a coach can take is one of self-discovery”, and your Coaching with Confidence Level 5 Programme is built on this belief – to discover your unique coaching style.

As well as supporting you with very comprehensive knowledge and skills, we require all delegates to undertake coaching sessions with volunteer clients throughout the programme, starting immediately after the Pre-Module.


Selecting volunteer clients is important as your work with them will help you put into practice what you have learned on the taught modules, and this will allow you to then reflect on your coaching capability and continue on the journey of discovery.

We encourage everyone to select a minimum of one person from within your organisation, and at least one person who is external.

The team at MRA can support you with cross programme/cross client matching; this means sharing details of external delegates on other MRA programmes who are also looking to partner with another delegate. This is a fantastic opportunity to coach in an environment that is potentially new to you, and as a result you will probably find it much easier to coach in the non-directive style. Enjoy the ‘not-knowing’!

When selecting internal volunteer clients think about working with people you know less well, and those who potentially are of a similar level to yourself. Developing an adult/adult approach is fundamental to great coaching, and so creating an environment of equality will really support you in this.


Initially working with volunteer clients can be daunting as you find your feet, so be kind to yourself! Let the client know you are in training mode and so will likely make mistakes, want to reframe questions, or change an approach mid-way through the coaching session. This is all fine in the early days of coaching practice! You don’t need to be perfect, however you do want the coaching to be meaningful to the client. Setting yourself up well with this level of clarity will be a definite enabler to your growth and to their experience.

You will learn a lot more about effective contracting in coaching throughout the programme, and we will direct you to specific information and blogs on contracting. As a minimum we suggest you contract around the following:

  • The context for your coaching practice
  • What coaching is/isn’t
  • Confidentiality
  • Note-taking – you may both find it helpful to take notes
  • Permission to ‘try out’ different tools and techniques
  • Request for feedback at the end of each session to help with your learning

Remember, especially with internal volunteer clients, that confidentiality is extremely important. Trust and psychological safety underpin a coaching relationship, and so this discipline is critical for both of you. Think about what you both need to explicitly state to ensure confidentiality is observed by you both.

You are encouraged to work with the volunteer client for at least three sessions throughout the programme as this helps in terms of building rapport and trust.

Life after your qualification:

As you come to the end of your programme you will be taught how to ‘end’ a coaching relationship professionally, however you may decide to continue working with your volunteer clients. We are very happy for you to do so! It is always a good idea however to be clear on the scope of the coaching relationship including the length of time you will work together. Setting an ‘end date’ can be helpful to set expectations for both parties; this will also allow you both to be clear on the boundaries within which you are operating.

Please do speak to your tutor if you have any questions on working with trainee clients; we are here to help you have the very best learning experience possible. Selecting and contracting well with volunteer clients can make all the difference as you continue your journey of self-discovery as a professional coach.



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