What's it like to work with a coach?

Updated: Jul 8

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Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Could 2021 be the year you embark on a coaching journey? Around two-thirds of my clients had never had coaching before they started working with me, and most of them would say they felt a little nervous before starting.

This is a brief article on how coaching works and what it would be like to work with me. As it's brief, it won’t cover everything in-depth, but it will hopefully answer some of your questions.

This article is not going to cover coaching myths as I have already covered that in a previous blog. It also won’t cover whether you are ready for coaching as there is already a brilliant article on it here - read that first!

Once you think you are ready to look into coaching further, then the following questions may spring to mind:

How do I choose a coach?

The most important thing is that your coach should be someone you can trust so that you can be open and honest with them. You also want someone who will challenge you a little, rather than make you feel too comfortable. Most coaches have a specialism, so make sure they focus on the area you are looking for. For example, I focus on professionals who feel “stuck” at work.

Make sure you meet with two or three coaches so can get a sense of whether you will work well with them - all coaches will give free “discovery calls” or initial sessions, so take advantage!

What will I need to do in preparation?

Critically you need to understand what coaching is and what it isn’t. Coaching is about facilitating the learning process, helping you find the answers for yourself. Because of this, you and I will work together in partnership. What you bring is a desire to learn and your accumulated experiences and self-knowledge. What I bring are my coaching skills to bring awareness and help you to create your own way forward. So don’t come expecting to ask me what you should do and also come armed with pen and paper as I don’t keep notes for you either!

I give my clients a pre-coaching questionnaire which aims to find out a bit more about you and your dilemma and asks you questions about your coaching experience, and your expectations of coaching. In our first session, we will go through the answers and agree on how we will work together.

A lot of my clients come worried that they don’t know where to start with their topic - that’s absolutely fine! My coaching process aims to unravel your confusing thoughts.

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How many sessions do we have and how long is each session?

It depends! (admit it - you knew I was going to say that!). I tend to see clients for between three and six sessions. Sometimes they pay for a “package” in advance and sometimes per session. My sessions are between 1 and 1.5 hours, and they are currently all online.

What will we do in each session?

At each session, we will check in on how we are working together and whether we want to change anything. Then you are in the driver’s seat. You decide what you want to focus on. I will ask questions, reflect what I am hearing and “hold a mirror up” to help give you more insight and awareness into what’s going on. That may involve exploring language or metaphor, or noticing themes or contradictions in what you are saying. Occasionally I will use more creative techniques to dig deeper. The purpose of everything I do is to raise awareness within you of what’s important and where you want to go next. Towards the end of the session, I will ask you to think about what you are taking away from our time together, and you will consider any actions you want to take.

Will it feel uncomfortable?

Possibly, but I believe that we grow most when we are uncomfortable. I aim to create a safe space where you can feel a little vulnerable. There will be no judgement, and you will not be asked to do anything you don’t want to do. There are no right answers, its fine to have long pauses, and it’s fine to have a few tears.

What will happen at the end?

In your last session, I will ask you what you have taken away from the whole process, and I always aim to finish on a positive note! After that, there is no further obligation to have any more sessions, but some clients book in a session every now and then, as they want to reflect on their progress and continue discovering more about themselves. I will also send you a post-coaching questionnaire so you can spend time reflecting on what was helpful and what you have learnt, and this helps me improve my service as well.

I hope that helps to paint a picture of what coaching looks and feels like in practice. If you are new to coaching and would like to talk more about whether it could help you get unstuck at work, then email me to arrange a time for a free no-obligation discussion.

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