When meeting a potential client for the first time, as well as getting to know the individual, their current situation and getting a sense of whether we’ll ‘click’, I like to share with them what is useful to know when deciding on the right Coach for them and when starting their first sessions.
I have complied a list of my top Do’s and Don’ts that I hope anyone considering coaching will find useful:
Do your research. As the popularity of coaching and recognition of its benefits has increased over the years, so has the number of coaches out there. Each comes with their own unique style, personality, niche and skill set. If you’re going to invest your time and money in using a Coach, you will want to make sure that you have found the right one for you. Look at their websites, read testimonials and ask for referrals. Consider what area of your life you want to be coached in – are you looking for a Career Coach? One who focuses on Confidence Coaching? Or perhaps a Coach that specializes in the Spiritual? Who is out there that specializes in what you want? Do your research now and avoid experiencing ‘buyer’s remorse’ later.
Don’t sign up with the first Coach you meet with/speak to. I cannot stress enough how much a good rapport with your Coach can impact the level of success you achieve through Coaching. When meeting with your potential Coach ask yourself the following questions: Can I see myself trusting this person with everything I will share with them? Would I be happy to have regular contact with this person over the next 3, 6, 12 months and beyond? When I talk, do I feel like they are properly listening to what I am saying? Do I feel a chemistry with this person or does it feel awkward and uncomfortable? A good Coach will also be looking to see what level of Coach/Client ‘spark’ there is between you. Everyone is different and some people connect, others don’t. Personally, I would not sign on with a new client if I felt the potential to build a great coaching relationship was not there. It would be doing the client an injustice and I’d be much happier referring them to someone in my network who I think they’d get on great with!
Do make sure you understand the difference between coaching and therapy. It is very important that the client (and Coach!!) have clarity on the distinction between the two interventions. The International Coaching Federation defines the difference between therapy and coaching as follows:
‘Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching…supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes…linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching…The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.’ – www.coachfederation.org
Before hiring a Coach ensure you are confident it is the right intervention for you at that time.
Don’t be dishonest with your Coach. Your Coach will ask you a LOT of questions with the purpose of encouraging self-exploration and raising your awareness of what you truly want and the options available to you to get you there. If you hold back or are untruthful the results you achieve will be limited. Coaches are skilled ‘Global listeners’, noticing the tone of what you say and body language clues so don’t be surprised if the Coach picks up on this and challenges you on it!
Do physical and mental preparation ahead of each coaching session. Sessions can be highly focused and it is important that both you and your Coach are free from any external distractions that can break this focus. If you’re being Coached at home, via Skype for example, let anyone else in the house know that you can’t be disturbed for the duration of the session. Switch off your phone. Make sure all technology is working ok. If you’re in an office, put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. Mental preparation is also key so you can make sure any stresses and internal distractions don’t impede the progress of the session. Meditate, go for a walk and listen to some music, or just step outside into the fresh air for 5 or 10 minutes. And, if you have hired a good Coach, they will be doing the same!
Don’t expect to be told what to do. Coaches are not consultants. Coaches work in partnership with clients but would never assume that anyone but the client is the expert of their own world. I believe my clients have the knowledge and skill required to achieve their desired outcomes but that these are often untapped or blocked by limiting beliefs and the obstacles that modern life presents. The role of a Coach is to question and challenge clients, encourage self-discovery, draw out their strengths and explore how to leverage them, and elicit client generated action plans and strategies to create maximum impact. As a client you will be accountable for taking action and the ultimate sense of achievement will be all yours!
Enjoy the process! Coaching will motivate and challenge you. You’ll be taken out of your comfort zone and you will achieve things you never thought you could. Coaching changed my life for the better and I have never looked back. It is a pleasure to now be able to give my clients the same experience. If you’d like to find out a bit more about Coaching and what I do, have a look around sarahelliscoaching.co.uk and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free, no obligation chat.