Once you’ve linked up with a coach, in order to maximise your time together, it’s a good idea to prepare for your 1st session then continue (or develop) this habit to make the most of each of your sessions. This helps you hit the ground running, and both you and your coach can make a positive and strong start at your first session.
Here are some thoughts on preparation
#1 Make a note of any questions that you still have
You may have asked all your questions during your consultation or pre-coaching conversation, but sometimes you think of something afterwards. It’s a good idea to email them over to the coach to answer before your first session, so you don’t take up the first part of the session in a Q & A dialogue.
Questions might include:
What other questions could you ask?
#2 Venue preparation
If the session is being held at your workplace, ensure that a room has been booked that ensures confidentiality.
This is vital! The nature of coaching involves levels of thinking and reflection, which require both coach and coachee to be highly focused. Any interruptions will disturb this, and have the potential to reduce or halt any key learning.
‘Do not disturb’ signs on the door aren’t always respected. Your coach should be putting baselines in place with your employer that includes uninterrupted space. But it’s also good for you to be aware of this, incase any of your colleagues are tempted to come to you to ask a question, etc. during your session. Fortunately this seems to be happening less these days, as organisations understand coaching better and what is required to make sessions successful.
What else might you need to consider to ensure a workplace venue is appropriate for coaching to take place?
#3 Have an open mind
Experience has shown me that the more open you are to new possibilities, and different ideas, the more likely you are to achieve your goals/targets.
Even if you end up going with your first idea, you are more confident and secure with your final decision because you’ve been open to exploring and discounting other ideas as part of the process.
Having an open mind also allows you to adapt your goals to something more suitable if, during the coaching process, a more relevant area emerges.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how open-minded are you usually to new ideas?
#4 Making notes
Have some way of recording your learning in sessions and beyond (more of the latter in a later post).
I encourage clients to bring a notebook or other form of recording to sessions, so they can record key learning points, or anything else they find useful. Usually they record new learning or ‘Wow’ moments. People who attend my Coaching Skills Training get a notebook as part of their learning process.
Of course you don’t have to make notes. Some clients I work with don’t want to make any notes during the sessions, they’d rather focus purely on being in the moment, and make any notes afterwards. That’s fine.
Others (like me!) like to make notes to aid memory and learning. I find it also helps with organising my thoughts. It really all depends on how you learn best and remember things.
What helps to cement the nuggets of learning & development that take place in coaching for you?
How do you record follow-up actions?
The main thing is – remember that you are responsible for recording your own learning. Your coach may also be making notes … as an aid memoire, for example … but it’s not the coach’s responsibility to make notes on the sessions to then pass them on to you.
Tomorrow’s post will continue the theme of roles and responsibilities of coach and coachee (mainly coachee!)
Would love to know your thoughts on this post. Feel free to share in the comments section under the title.
Debbie Inglis is a Leadership Coach specialising in Mental Toughness & Resilience. She also delivers accredited Coaching Skills Training and is a Supervision Coach. Debbie works across the UK and Internationally with leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more resilient, confident, and motivated teams - in a way that brings out the best in them.
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