“You are the person who is ultimately going
to have the greatest impact on your life”
What is coaching?
Coaching is designed to develop the self-awareness and self-discipline required to make changes that enable people to adjust their behaviours, perceptions and thoughts to new circumstances. The process helps them understand known from unknown, the conscious from the unconscious, the rational from the irrational and the emotional. As a result, the coachee learns to understand his or her drives more deeply and take conscious control over them.
Coaching is not therapy. It works on the principle that people are inherently talented, resourceful and creative and that they are able to resolve issues when they understand them and know how to change them.
The process is intensive, usually one-to-one, inviolably confidential, occasionally painful, sometimes challenging, and always aimed at practical action that meets both the individual’s needs and the organisation’s objectives. Both coach and coachee are mutually accountable for results.
Coaching can take many formats, from one to one, Skype or telephone coaching, e-mail coaching, and team coaching and will be designed according to the needs of the coachee.
Each session is one hour and the timetable is usually organised between the coachee, DCD and the coach.
Whilst the aims for a coaching programme are hugely personal, some generic aims include:
- Identifying and integrating practices that help individuals to build resilience
- Developing healthy work-life balance
- Tackling unhelpful thinking or behaviours which block achieving full potential
- Researching and planning for change
- Improving motivation and flexibility to tackle personal or potential career changes
- Identifying transferable values and skills for other careers
- Being able to get to grips with new roles, responsibilities and relationships
The coaching process
Coaching typically begins with a personal interview to assess the reasons for coaching and to establish current opportunities and challenges, identify priorities for action and establish specific desired outcomes.
Subsequent coaching sessions may be conducted in person or over the telephone/ via Skype, with each session lasting one hour. Between scheduled coaching sessions, you may identify or be asked to complete tasks that support the achievement of your goals. The coach may provide additional resources in the form of relevant articles, checklists, assessments, or models to support your thinking and actions.
A typical coaching programme consists of 6-8 formal sessions taking from three to twelve months to complete.
Total confidentiality is assured at all times within the coaching relationship. However, where there is risk of harm to the coachee or others, the coach is duty bound to break confidentiality to avoid that harm.
What does the coach do?
The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources and creativity that you already have.
Your coach can help you to:
- reflect • change
- plan • learn
- rehearse • get unstuck
- initiate • fast track
- challenge • develop confidence
- facilitate • see another perspective
What do you do?
Working with a coach requires both a personal commitment of time and energy. To get the most from your coaching programme, you are asked to:
Focus on yourself, consider the tough questions, the hard truths and your successes
Observe the behaviour, communication and feedback of others
Listen to your intuition, assumptions, judgements and to the way you sound when you speak
Be brave to challenge your existing attitudes, beliefs and behaviour and to develop new ones which serve your goals better
Take decisive action however uncomfortable, and in spite of personal insecurities, in order to deliver extraordinary results
Be compassionate with yourself as you try with new approaches or experience setbacks
Use humour to lighten and brighten any situation and not take yourself so seriously
Maintain positivity in the face of disappointment and unmet expectations
Be courageous to reach for more than before, to shift out of being fear based, to overcome internal and external obstacles
Remember that coaching is a partnership, so be assertive about talking with the coach about your goals and aspirations as well as your concerns and fears.
Why is coaching important?
When people come coaching, they are often dissatisfied with their current situation or questioning whether they should make a certain change and needing an independent thinking partner to ensure they think it through properly. Coaching provides a safe environment for individuals to explore and consider the benefits and costs of making change. It helps people to plan, initiate and also achieve their aspirations.
What to expect from coaching
The results from coaching are intensely personal, individuals report fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles. With a commitment to enhancing their professional and personal effectiveness, individuals can also expect to see appreciable increased productivity, personal satisfaction with life and work and the achievement of relevant goals.
Getting started and working with your coach
If you’re new to coaching, you may or may not know where to start with your coach. Here are a few thoughts that may help.
Coaching is a partnership designed to enhance human learning, effectiveness and fulfilment. As in any partnership, in order for it to be successful, it requires active involvement from both you and the coach at every stage of the process.
You have the power to make the alliance or partnership what you want it to be; so do not be afraid to speak up. It is your coach’s responsibility to listen to your needs and respond to them.
If you feel you do not have chemistry with your coach, you should say so.
In advance of your first meeting, consider ‘What do I want to get from coaching?’
Consider what a good result would look like for:
- Your work life balance
- Your career progression
- Your personal development
- Managing stress in your life
- Personal impact/style
Consider your choice of format for your coaching:
- One-to-one meetings: when, where, duration and frequency?
- Telephone coaching: when, duration and frequency?
- E-coaching: contact between sessions?
Consider what your coach might do with you during sessions:
Going with the flow (no fixed goals)
As the coaching progresses
There are a number of key areas to take into account while working with your coach.
Here are a few questions on which to reflect:
The coaching relationship
- What else do you need your coach to do?
- Do you fully trust your coach?
- What will you do if the coaching isn’t working for you?
- How do you best self-motivate?
- What are you nervous or concerned about?
- What support do you need to take action?
- Is there information that would be useful for your coach to know?
- When have you best succeeded in a difficult situation?
- When / how do you procrastinate?
How will you assess the effectiveness of your coaching?
- How will you log the changes you’ve made?
- What review mechanisms do you want to build in?
Maintaining momentum after coaching
- What do you need to maintain momentum?
- Who will be able to help you?
- What other solutions do you need to pursue?
Remember you can use the Coaching Preparation questionnaire, provided in your confirmation email, to make sure you get the most from your sessions.