Coaching can make a difference to you and what you achieve. Coaching can support you in defining and achieving your aspirations. Here I talk you through how coaching can make a difference, highlighting what you can do to make coaching work for you.
Increasingly organisations are using coaching as a key aspect of personal and leadership development. Last year organisations reported an anticipated increase in coaching of over 80% in the coming two years, matched by a 73% increase in spend on coaching.
Equally, many individuals seek out a coach when facing various challenges. The evidence is becoming clearer that coaching make a difference to working through personal change, facing career cross-roads and at times of uncertainty.
Coaching is an investment that we make because we believe it will enable us to move forward and to achieve certain outcomes. Coaching can make a significant difference. My personal experience of being coached and my professional experience as a coach have highlighted for me five key steps to ensuring that coaching makes a difference.
Coaching is a relationship
Coaching is a professional relationship that can make a significant difference to you. For this reason, choose with care. Think about the type of person that you wish to work with and what style you feel will suit you; having said this, be open to different approaches, you may find that something different is what you need!
I always recommend that you have a conversation before deciding to proceed. This allows you both to start getting to know each other and enables the coaching (if you go ahead) to commence with clarity of purpose.
Part of the initial conversation needs to include sharing what you are looking for, ways of working together and boundaries. For example, how open are you prepared to be? Are there things that you really do not wish to talk about?
Like any good relationship, it needs nurturing and reviewing. It may not always be comfortable but is it working for you? Do you feel that your coach is ‘there for you’ even if they are challenging your thinking, what you are saying and doing? Share how you feel it is proceeding. The relationship is fundamental to ensuring that coaching makes a difference.
It is important that you give some thought to your initial focus, purpose and desired outcomes. What do you want from coaching? Why are you there? The coach will encourage you to share this in an early conversation and may help you to take your thinking to a deeper level; that is good, let the conversation build on your initial preparation.
Preparation is not just for the start. Personally, I take some time to think through what I wish to cover before going into each coaching session. This helps me to set the scene for my coach and gives some direction, even if we then agree to take the conversation down a different path. As a coach, I notice that those who come along having thought about what is important to them at that time often gain most from our sessions. Equally, it is vital to be in the moment and to go with what feels most significant.
By preparing you are laying the foundations for ensuring that the coaching will make a difference.
Check your progress
It may be helpful to review progress with your coach at the end of each session. I find this helps me to summarise the rich conversation that has taken place and the range of ideas that may have emerged. Although it is important to start with some idea of desired outcomes, it is vital that for coaching to make a difference you are open to what emerges through the conversations. Be open to ideas that may come to you, work with your coach to consider different paths and new ways of moving forward.
Equally, at the end of the conversation checking progress helps me to focus and agree what next. It is also a good time to check out that the relationship is still working well.
One of the great differences that can come from coaching is learning about ourselves. The nature of a coaching conversation can reveal much about us – how we feel, think, assumptions we live by, our strengths, sources of resilience, prejudices we hold, what keeps us positive and much more!
I always take time after I have had a coaching session to reflect on what we talked about; I seek to understand what it tells me about myself and also how I learn. All this is valuable for when I need to address a challenge and I am not being coached – I can draw on my learning from when I have been coached – some self-coaching.
Coaching can only make a difference if you do something different. That may be taking action or thinking differently. By walking away from each session with some idea about what you will do differently you will really gain from the coaching. This may also provide a useful start for the next coaching session – what did you do/ not do and what can be learned from this.
Let me close by saying ….
Coaching can make a real difference and can really set you off on a different and more positive track. If you are considering coaching then take up the opportunity.
By working with my five steps you can gain the maximum benefit from a coaching session. Coaching makes a difference, particularly if we work hard before, during and after a coaching session.
If you are currently considering coaching then you may have a number of questions, some of them may be answered in my posting on FAQs about coaching . If you have other questions, please drop me an email or post a comment – I will be happy to respond.
This YouTube video gives a clear overview of what a professional coach is. Please contact me directly if you want more information about coaching for individuals or teams.
 Ridler Report (2016). The Ridler Report has now been recognised for years as a major source of current and future trends in coaching.