Coaching People through Endings

Last week, we looked at coaching in a person who is stuck in homeostasis.

Once they have decided to make a change, there will be an ending of the old way of being or doing, deconstructing that old way, recognising the losses, and celebrating the ending.  So how can we, as coaches, help them through this stage?  What kinds of questions might be appropriate?

Making good endings

Transitions (Adapted from William Bridges’ work)



Perhaps those questions to help you through Endings might be something like these:

  • What is different now that x has happened?
  • When x happened, what did you have to give up/lose?
  • What do you miss since x changed?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What can be taken back to balance what has been taken away?
  • What is over?
  • What is not over?
  • What can you pack away in a metaphorical suitcase to place on top of the wardrobe for future use, even though it may not be needed right now?  Now shut the suitcase lid, and put it somewhere safe.
  • What can you not take with you; and don’t want to keep for another time?
  • What do you assume that you need to let go of?  Is that assumption correct?
  • What will you take with you from your past, on your journey to the future?
  • What do you gain by travelling to this new future?
  • What’s the value of this new future to you?
  • What do you need to celebrate this ending?
  • How would you like to mark the ending?
  • Who/what do you want to say good-bye to?
  • Who do you want to thank?
  • If you had to put a title to the chapter of your work life that is drawing to a close, what would it be?
  • And what is the title of the next chapter of your work life?

What other questions might be useful to you to ponder as you end something?

Credits to Diane Clutterbuck, William Bridges