Getting the most out of coaching - 4 Things You Can Do

Photo credit: Creative commons license

Photo credit: Creative commons license

A new coaching client recently asked me what she needed to do to make the most out of coaching. As a coach, I love this question! It tells me that the client is taking responsibility for her own learning. This is a prerequisite for good coaching.

Getting an awesome coach is a good starting point, and beyond that there is much the client needs to do to get great results. Here are 4 things you can do to maximize your ROI from the coaching investment.

1. Do your fieldwork.

One of the hallmarks of coaching is that it is focused on action. You and your coach will agree at the end of each session what you commit to doing between sessions. This may be specific practices to develop a skill or habit, self-observations to become more aware of your habits or a specific action that will change your situation. Take these commitments seriously. If you find yourself not able to or wanting to take action on your fieldwork, reflect on that. Make some notes for yourself so you can talk about this with your coach.  In coaching, we call this a breakdown. That may sound negative to you, but it can be a great learning experience if you look at it that way.

2. Show up prepared.

If you just rush into your coaching session from another meeting without any thought to what's happened since your previous coaching session, you'll rarely get the full value of your coaching. Take time before your session to reflect on your fieldwork. Think about what’s changed in the areas you're working on. And last and most importantly, give some thought to what you would like to focus on in the session. If your coach has provided a prep form with reflection questions, be sure to complete it and send it back to your coach at least a day before your session. This allows your coach can sync up with you in advance.

3. Be fully present.

Multitasking during a coaching session isn't going to serve you. Whether you are on the phone or in person, find a private space where you won't be disturbed and remove any distractions like beeps and buzzes that announce email. Take a minute to center yourself and get fully present. Your coach may offer a practice to support you in this, but if not there are lots of resources on the web <LINK to resources page of my website>.

4. Accept vulnerability as part of the coaching process.

Coaching is about learning and growing. These things don't happen at a deep level without most of us feeling some vulnerability. Grant your coach as much trust as you can and be as open and vulnerable with her as you can be. It will serve your learning well.

As a coach, I’m also doing all of these things. I can't just jump on the call with a client, have a conversation and call that good coaching. I also need to prepare, be fully present, and accept my own vulnerability.

Coaching is a journey of learning and growth for both coach and client. The coach is always focused on doing what serves your learning and that invokes the coach’s learning

Many of these suggestions also apply to a mentor relationship. If you’re in a coaching or mentoring relationship, what are you doing to get the most out of the experience?

Coaching can be a powerful boost for your leadership. If you’d like to talk about what you are interested in developing in yourself, email me for a complementary consult.