What Makes for A Successful Coaching Engagement

The success of your coaching engagement depends on how you approach the opportunity. Here are a few things to consider as you begin an executive coaching experience to ensure your engagement is as positive an experience as it can be.

  1. Keep an open mind.
    As you work toward your goals, your coach may suggest new behaviors or new ways of operating. It may be difficult for you to experiment with those approaches and to move beyond your comfort zone. But keep an open mind. You may be surprised at how easy it may become — and by the results you may achieve as a result. Your coach will help you put your effort in perspective and will work with you to generate alternative ways to unlock your potential.
  1. Be receptive.
    You may receive positive affirmation about many of the things you are doing. Relish those moments and save that feedback to bolster you in the future. Be prepared also to learn some things about yourself that may not be the most flattering. Both perspectives are invaluable to understand so that you may appreciate both your strengths and the things that may be holding you back from reaching your goals. Your coach will be by your side as you experiment and experience both successes and setbacks.
  1. Collaborate.
    Your coach is your trusted advisor and your sounding board. Leverage his/her perspective, experience and ideas. Work together to explore the pros and cons of different approaches. Expect that your coach may not have the answer you are seeking. It may take more than one conversation to discover the root of an issue with which you may be wrestling. Once you work to resolve a possible sticking point, brainstorm together different ways to move forward from there.
  1. Trust.
    Even as you receive feedback that you may find challenging, remember that your coach is on your side. He/she is invested in your success and looks forward to celebrating with you as you achieve your goals. Expect your coach to tell you what you need to hear in that moment, and recognize that the insights from that conversation may not come until later.
  1. Have a sense of humor.
    Life gets crazy, we may make mistakes, and sometimes things just don’t go as we hope. You may find that some new approaches suggested by your coach come to you easily, while others may not. As you practice these approaches, remember not to take yourself too seriously. You may not get it all right the first time around, and as you experiment some of your colleagues may not know quite what to think. Seek the humor in these situations. Laugh with your coach about the things you may have tried that may have resulted in unintended consequences. Try to learn a little every day and laugh a little every day, and you may emerge from your coaching experience surprised by what you have accomplished.
  1. Commit to the process.
    State your goals, make your plans, and stay the course. When you feel squeezed by other responsibilities to protect the time on your calendar with your coach, recommit to the process. It is a journey and one that unfolds bit by bit through every conversation with your coach. Making your sessions a priority now may pay dividends later that may be difficult to foresee in the moment.