COACHING - WHAT TO EXPECT
What is coaching?
Every coach is likely to answer this question slightly differently. The research shows that it is not the methods or approach that a coach uses that determines outcomes; it is the quality of the relationship and the client’s belief in their own ability to change.
Having said that, I believe coaching is a powerful forum for personal reflection, learning and change. Coaching gives clients an opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways of living and working more satisfyingly, resourcefully and successfully.
I see the coaching relationship as a partnership – an equal relationship – allowing you the freedom to think and express yourself in a supportive, yet challenging, environment. I’m here to help you explore your goals, dilemmas, challenges or choices so that you can be the kind of person that you would like to be, to achieve the kind of life and work that you would like to have and to achieve the goals that you would like to meet.
My responsibility as a coach is to:
clarify and encourage you to set the goals that align with your bigger vision for who you want to be and what you want to achieve
ask you to do more than you have probably done on your own
help you to focus better so that you produce results more quickly
provide you with the tools, support and structure to accomplish more
How is coaching different from counselling or consulting?
The longer I coach, the more inadequate I think labels are. After all, there are dozens of different kinds of coaches, counsellors or consultants. I don’t find the distinction between “life coach” and “executive coach” helpful – as if executives don’t have lives.
What I am interested in is the whole person – how you think, how you feel and how you behave. They are connected. The most sustainable aspect of all is how you are. This is the territory for our coaching together.
I will ask questions, encourage, advise, challenge, make requests and listen deeply so that you are consistent with who you are in terms of your goals, your values and your vision.
The focus will be upon you and what you can do to build on your strengths, reduce your blind spots and lead a more joyful, purposeful life.
The best results are achieved when you are ready to both do and be the best that you can be. Coaching is a commitment and there will be times you are tempted to postpone – just the act of sticking at it and investing in you will help your self-discovery process. Especially if you are one of those Be Strong types who is not accustomed to putting yourself at the centre of your own attention.
1. I Expect your best
2. I make specific requests
If appropriate, I will make direct requests such as, "Could you see yourself accomplishing X within the next two weeks?" You could meet the request ("Yes, I can do that"), provide an alternative option ("I can't do X, but I can do Y"), or perhaps you might decline altogether. Whichever way you respond, I will support your action.
3. I give advice
On occasion, if I have a real sense of a direction, and you are open to it, I will make specific suggestions on how to handle a problem or an issue or make the most of an opportunity. If I’m not certain about the suggestion, I will certainly say so. Regardless, you will need to use your own discretion and judgment. You are the expert on you – even if you don’t know that yet!
4. I will challenge you
If for example, I hear hesitation in your voice or notice an inconsistency, I will generally ask you about it. Often, it is these moments that offer the opportunity to clarify or resolve something.
5. I may suggest experiments
Typically, I will ask you to work out perhaps two or three goals or actions to focus upon between sessions. If I am pushing you too hard, then it is important for you to say so. If you want to be pushed harder, it is also important for you to say so.
6. Everything is confidential
Everything you tell me is confidential.
I will never share the content of your conversations with others and will always seek your approval if there is anything that I think other people would benefit from knowing.
How to get the most from coaching
1. Focus on what you really want
Take time to consider what you want your life to look like. Secondly, work with me to identify the gaps between the way things are now and how you would like them to be. Many people struggle with this, but the coaching relationship can help you work this through.
2. Understand that you will develop
Working with an empathic and professional coach is a definite way to grow and develop.
What you want may well change - not only over time, but within a session. The magic lies in the discovery process. Accelerated personal growth is the hallmark of coaching.
3. Increase your willingness to step up
Part of my responsibility is to ask a good deal of you. This is not meant to exhaust you or extend you beyond your bounds, but simply to ask more of you than perhaps you have asked of yourself recently. It is important that you are willing to experiment with fresh approaches and try new beliefs. The more you are willing to grow and develop, the greater the benefits will be.
4. Come prepared to each coaching session
To get the most value out of each coaching session, it helps to consider what you would like to work through in your session. Preparing does not have to be time-consuming, but experience shows that if you spend 10-15 minutes thinking things through in advance, it has a significant impact on the session.
5. Make reflection a habit
Research shows that people who keep a journal whilst going through a change process (with or without a coach) undergo more significant and more lasting change than those who don’t.
How – or even whether – you want to keep a journal is up to you. However, building in reflection time into every day (even if only 15 minutes) is a valuable way of building on the coaching sessions. Making notes after your reflection might then come naturally to you. You will be amazed how differently you think from one moment to another and keeping a record allows you to become aware of patterns and change.
Coaching Readiness Checklist
How ready are you for coaching? Consider each question below to assess your overall readiness to begin working with me.
Confidentiality and Ethics
As an Ashridge and EMCC accredited coach, I comply with the Ashridge Code of Coaching Conduct.
The sessions are completely confidential, apart from my work with my coaching supervisor. Having a coach supervisor is standard practice for an accredited coach and helps coaches to work as well as they can with all their clients. Coach supervisors are bound by the same code of ethics and confidentiality.
Coaches keep short written notes of sessions. They are not shared with anyone else and are stored securely.
For the purpose of further accreditation and continuing professional development, I may submit written or recorded material of some sessions for evaluation. Any such written material will be disguised to protect your identity and will only be reviewed by others bound by the same or compatible Code of Ethics.