Coaching is about discovery, change and achievement. Exciting and heady stuff, right? As a coach for the past 30 years, I can confidently say that coaching is always a two-way street. What the client brings to the process is equally important, if not more important, to what the coach does.
So how can you as a client maximize your coaching experience and make it most efficient? Here are some suggestions involving approach, preparation and engagement.
1. Get Clear. Before the session think about what you hope to accomplish. What are your personal goals? What are your major concerns? Reflect on specific experiences that illustrate your concern or challenges. For example, if you wish to develop a particular skill such as conflict management, remember a time when you had difficulty dealing with a disagreement. How did you prepare, what did you do, what happened, and what did you learn?
2. Come Prepared. Make a list of areas you wish to work on. Or, if you can, create a list of personal goals. One client called goal setting magical because goals become more achievable once they are made conscious. If you are uncertain about areas or goals, tell your coach so you can work together on making them clear.
3. Be Open. This includes being honest, even about things that are embarrassing. The coaching relationship is a safe and confidential place for you to explore, express feelings and test your ideas. It also means being open to change and seeing things in new ways. A great benefit of coaching is discovering new perspectives on challenging issues that enable you to find new and innovative ways of addressing them.
4. Be Responsible. Be ready to take action and do the work. Part of what a coach does is to encourage you to go beyond what you normally think, do or achieve. To help with this a coach will often give you ‘homework’ to complete between sessions. These actions can be challenging but this is where the real discovery and transformation takes place – in your own life.
5. Practice Reflection. Coaching involves an action-reflection cycle. Reflection allows you to step back and critically analyse what worked and what didn’t. You can reflect in private and also with your coach. Reflection plays a key role in skill development and greatly enhances learning.
6. Ask Questions. Perhaps you have heard the adage “the only bad question is the one left unasked”. The more you communicate with your coach, the better able she will be to understand you and to help. By asking questions, new insights can arise and new perspectives be gained.
7. Have Fun! Neuroscience tells us that we all learn more and remember better when we are having fun. Being committed, prepared and responsible doesn’t mean no enjoyment allowed! Be playful: It increases creativity and enhances our openness.
Author: Delee Fromm
Delee Fromm is an author, lawyer and former psychologist. As a professional speaker and coach, her services cover the arenas of unconscious bias, skill development and career advancement. She is a career coach with the Law Society of Ontario and on the advisory board of Young Women in Law. Her books include Advance Your Legal Career: Essential Skills for Success, Understanding Gender at Work and A Workbook for Understanding Gender at Work (co-authored with Rocca Morra Hodge).
For more information about her, please go to her website at www.deleefrommconsulting.com and her profile on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/deleefromm.