That might sound like a strange question. After all you’re the client, are you not?
Please bear with me – I think you will find it more than worth your while…
A coaching story
I’d like to share a story with you to explain my point.
I have recently finished a series of coaching sessions with a client (confidential of course – in fact I have changed a few details to protect her anonymity). She had been a senior manager in a massive organisation. I am happy to say that, during the course of the coaching, her career has rocketed.
When I first met her she wanted a new, strategic, more senior role – which she quickly found. She literally seemed to attract an incredible secondment that ticked all the boxes, AND has allowed her to build strong connections with the most senior people across this huge business. Quite a coup!
The role meant she had to perform at a significantly higher level, as well as learning to think strategically. As the months went by she improved her skills and thinking so much that she is now highly regarded for the transformational work she has done. Finally, towards the end of the coaching I helped her position herself as the obvious choice for three exciting promotions, which she hopes will also be in a higher salary band. All that in nine months flat!
I have this nagging feeling that we could have achieved so much more.
I can hear you thinking “Why on earth?”
Well, there was one session where she felt she “made a massive step up in 90 minutes flat”.
In all the other sessions she made visible progress but I cannot help thinking that if only she had let me see more of herself – more of her thinking, her doubts, tension and frustrations – we could have replicated that “massive step up” several times over.
The thing is, the results you gain through coaching are not dependent just on how good your coach is. They depend just as much on how ready you, the client, are to achieve total clarity, to change and to act on the new insights you gain.
Two ways to help your coach to help you accelerate your progress even more
If you can do one or both of these, I believe you will be shocked by the additional progress you will enjoy:
1. Take time before your coaching session to work out exactly what you really want to achieve – making it as specific and measurable as possible. For example: “work out what I need to do to impress (whoever you need to impress) so much that I am ideally placed for (whatever it is you most want in your career)” – will give your coach so much better guidance than “Discuss how I can improve my performance”.
Sometimes you will just not be sure what you want to achieve in a session – but most of the time you can work it out. So always take the time to do this and give it your best shot.
2. On rare occasions you will simply feel too confused and frustrated to know which way is up, let alone to work out a measurable objective. That is absolutely fine. In fact that is where coaching can be even more valuable.
On those occasions, be open with your coach. Show him or her the contradictions in your thinking, your worries, tensions and doubts as well as your progress, thoughts and ideas. Let your coach in to the point where he or she can feel your pain. If possible, do that in advance of the session to give your coach the best chance of helping you.
Will you do that? I understand that opening up can feel a bit daunting but, do you want to make outstanding progress or is “good” enough?
Do you have any experiences times when you have gained even more from a coaching session – and why you think that happened? Do please share them with me.
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