You may be considering getting a coach to support a change you want to make, or an area of your performance you want to improve.
First of all, well done on focusing on your own development. Secondly, before you hit ‘go’, you might find it useful to think about these questions – to get more out of the experience.
1. How clear are you on what you want to get out of coaching?
Turning up on day one with only the vaguest ideas of what you want to do isn’t helpful to you or your coach. If you’ve got this far – thinking about getting a coach – then what is the key issue you want to work on? What prompted you to even consider coaching? What would success in this area look like? How will you know when you’ve got there?
You don’t have to have this worked out to the nth degree, but consider how you’ll tell the coach “your story”.
2. Are you prepared to be brutally honest with your coach?
There’s little point in treating your coaching like a colleague you have to impress or a friend you want to keep smiling. Honesty is key to the coaching dynamic, so be ready to open up and say what you’re *really* thinking and feeling. Bravado and “keeping up appearances” will only delay progress. Don’t worry – it’s confidential. Open up, be honest and get things started.
3. Are you prepared to put in some hard work?
Coaching doesn’t just take place in the coaching session. The real work is done by you, between the coaching sessions. After each session, you can expect to leave with actions and some “homework”. Some of this might be about thinking skills, some might be about having some difficult conversations and making some decisions.
Coaching without follow-up action is simply an interesting conversation. Be ready to get into action mode to get the most out of your coaching investment.
4. Are you prepared to be challenged by your coach?
As I pointed out in a previous blog post, the relationship you’ll have with your coach is different to others. They don’t have the “authority” of your boss, nor will they agree with you like a friend might. In fact, your coach will be listening closely and using carefully-crafted questions to illuminate your issues and discuss your next steps. And these questions won’t have easy answers!
While this might come across as disagreement, or being ‘awkward’, what the coach is doing is helping you to broaden your thinking and perspective on the issue you’ve brought to the table. Remember, it’s not a dinner-party conversation, so expect to be asked to elaborate on your answers.
5. Are you prepared to get out of your “comfort zone”?
As the adage goes, “If it doesn’t feel strange, it’s not change”. By definition, coaching will involve you taking action and doing some new things. This will frequently result in you feeling some discomfort, especially when you’re not immediately successful from the get go.
Discomfort never hurt anyone, so get ready to work through those feelings and make the changes that are meaningful and important to you.
I hope this hasn’t put you off seeking a coach! If you’re still interested, please do get in touch with your questions. And whoever you end up working with, I wish you the best of luck in your change journey.