This post builds on that thinking by sharing how important it is to have an actual objective each time you meet with your coach. One of the biggest mistakes a client can make is not reflecting on what they want out of each session and instead relying on the coach to determine the agenda. This is not how coaching works. It is hard to coach a client who does not know what work they want to engage in or what conversations seem most important. Determining an objective is always the client’s work, and the coach’s job is to meet the client within that declared space.
Here are some objective setting tips:
- Reflect on your big goals. What motivated you to work with a coach in the first place? Are you making progress in the desired ways? The progress, or lack of, can in itself be a coaching objective.
- What has happened since the last time you met with your coach. What were your wins, setbacks, or growth moments? These can be objectives for the current session, and your coach can help you identify how these inform your thinking and leading.
- When work happens between sessions, be ready to give your coach an update on that progress. If you took an action that led to a result (either intended or not), be prepared to share that and what you learned.
- Often a client is well served by unpacking all the events or issues that are weighing on them so they can better identify what is draining their energy or causing them unnecessary angst or confusion. This is a great session objective, and your coach can be a sounding board to help you untangle all the things you are currently managing, so you get clarity on your options.
- If you are feeling less than positive or neutral about any area of your leadership, work, or a relationship – this can be a coaching objective. Until something is named and explored, the growth is held at bay. Your coach can be a witness to the description in ways that enable you to determine what changes or approaches you want to take next.
- Last, sometimes, clients have an issue that has recently surfaced, and they want to use the coaching session to help them problem solve or de-escalate. Perhaps a meeting from yesterday went sideways, or they are angry with someone. These issues are coaching objectives. It is crucial, though, that the client and the coach address these issues within the broader context of the overall growth objective. A mantra for coaches is to not coach issues –coach clients.
These are just six ways for a client to determine objectives for each coaching conversation and get full value out of this vital form of leadership support. Within each of these examples is an invitation to share your story and reflect on what is most important. Your coach is always willing to work on any objective you say is important – take full advantage of this opportunity.
My next post on this topic will cover the importance of paying attention to the head, heart, and gut.
How clear are you on your objectives?