Professional coaches already know many of these rules or cautions, but I'll lay them out for the reader here also.
In talking with a coach, one should just describe the facts and not look for any sympathy or support in justifying something.
As such one would use the conversational discipline called "What Happened?". One should know that method thoroughly, as it can make a huge difference in one's life. This part of the conversation goes quickly, if done in the prescribed way. Then one would use the "What's Next?" conversation. Trained coaches know that the client knows how to find his/her own solutions, though sometimes needing supplemental knowledge to make it work. It is essential that a client be encouraged to complete his/her own decision process.
Tie together the "What Happened?" and the "What's Next?" conversations and you've got a great coaching conversation to stick to. The client should follow this format and the coach's role is to bring the client back to that constructive, factual conversation.
And the whole conversation would be free of stories, as stories get in the way of the truth. (The "story" could be identified as such, so that it can be looked at and altered. Just telling a story can created stuckness and reasons why things are the way they are, so it is vital to never tell a story unless one is going to use it for progress.)
The coaching conversation will be most productive if the person being coached (call him/her "the performer") is responsible for forwarding the conversation (with the coach facilitating with questions) by coming up with answers for him/herself and then, most crucially, committing to take action and be accountable for defining the plan and taking action.
A coaching conversation is ineffective if the performer lets the process be "coach driven" and where the coach is acceded the responsibility. Read the most popular article ever in the Harvard Business Review Who's Got The Monkey? , the monkey being something to feed and think about and be responsible for - and the solution being to keep the monkey being fed by the person responsible for it.
Of course, each conversation must include:
What occurred since the last conversation: Using the Weekly Summary form.
What was completed and what was not completed. Agreement would be
arrived at as to what to do on the parts not yet completed. (Some discussion
of what problems came up in trying to implement would be used toward
solving how to get things done effectively and timely.
Once the past homework, assignments, agreements are reviewed and handled,
then go to next step.
Discuss what subjects would lead one forward (such as problems that occurred, difficulties - all things that are discussed only for the purpose of progress).
"What results would you like from this session?"
Analyze. "Briefly, what has been happening?"
"What has been tried so far?"
"What obstacles for me?"
"Where can I generate ideas to choose from?"
Plan what is to be done.
"What is my goal?"
"Is my goal realistic?"
"Which options and steps shall I take?"
"Am I willing to take them?" If not, how can I overcome that?"
"What is my commitment, especially for next time?"
Commit to what you will do.