In my first post, How to Work with a Leadership Coach, I covered two critical aspects of being a client. One is the willingness to tell your story, and the second is the willingness to reflect. These two fundamental tips apply to the entire coaching engagement and are essential to each conversation.
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:
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?
I went to Georgetown University to learn how to be a leadership coach. My academic training introduced me to the art and science of coaching another person. I had a journal from those days back in 2010, and I often go back and read it. On the first day of the first week of my training, I wrote: an essential part of being a coach is learning to deconstruct another person’s story, so I can understand how they create meaning. I must be curious to be a good coach.
This concept of curiosity and being willing to deconstruct a story is not just crucial for me – it is also fundamentally important for the client. However, there are a lot of leaders who do not know how to be in a coach/client engagement and often struggle to get value out of this vital relationship.
So, what does it mean to be a good client?
I have come across a lot of different people in my ten years of coaching. There are those in pain trying to recover from a professional setback. Others are anxious to promote and want to soak in as much professional development as possible to be prepared. Some clients feel stuck and unmotivated; they need someone to help them get clear on all their possibilities. Certain leaders have clear objectives and bring them into a coaching relationship. And then others do not know the first thing about being coached, but they want to take advantage of an opportunity and see where it takes them.
Here are two tips that apply to every client, especially those in the last category.
There are other ways to be a good client, but these two are fundamental. When I know someone is ready to share their story and is willing to stay open and reflect – growth is inevitable!
In my next post, I will talk about the importance of having clear objectives when working with a coach and how to prepare for the coaching sessions.
Do I know my own story? Who has heard it?
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University