Over the past 18 months, I have observed professional coaching become more popular with various online coaching services. Those being coached have encountered a range of experiences - some great and others less than ideal.
So, what should you consider when engaging a coach?
CHEMISTRY AND TRUST
You must feel that you can share what you need to with your coach and that they will be discreet. If a coach has been engaged by an organisation for a range of employees, it is worth checking how confidential your conversations will be.
FOCUS AREAS Be mindful of what you want to achieve with your coach as wandering conversations may be interesting but tend to achieve little. I like to work with my coaching clients in the following areas:
People in the team
What is critical, and what is aspirational? Set some clear boundaries to keep things focussed.
Consider where you are now, and where you’d like to be. Gaps are good, and a coach should be able to safely explore these through questioning to help you identify actions that will close the gaps.
These should stretch you, but not be ridiculous. Over time you or your coach may become more ambitious, but I like to build up to that with my clients. Simple and sensible actions that build momentum are a good place to begin. If an action is not completed, it should be explored to avoid unhelpful or limiting patterns and behaviours.
A great coach should ask for feedback at the end of every session. What has gone well? What needs to be better? What’s not been said? This is critical to improving the quality of conversations and deepening the relationship.
My third book, out later this year, will include coaching stories, alongside tips for people to excel in coaching relationships.
Read more about the book here.