How to get the most out of coaching

Vicky Glanville, one of our business coaches shares with you her tips for getting the most out of your coaching. The key element being keeping your coaching sponsor or line manager firmly in the loop.

 

Set expectations at the outset of your coaching journey

  • For the coaching to be successful, stakeholder expectations need to be clearly understood and defined at the outset to ensure an effective conclusion to the coaching process.
  • In the initial session and contracting process you should agree feedback methods, expected timescales, and definition of private and public goals.  Agree levels of transparency and openness upfront so that everyone is aware what information will be shared publicly and what will be kept private between you and the coach.
  • Align your goals and outcomes with those of the organisation. Work with your coach to create measurable metrics so that you can show your organisation the positive steps you are making to meet the organisation goals.

 

Share your outputs with your line manager and mentor

  • Make sure you prove your accountability by communicating your status against the defined outcomes regularly to your sponsor or manager.
  • Agree timings for sharing outputs at the initial meeting with your line manager and coach. This will depend on the length of the agreed coaching contract.
  • Remember that keeping your line manager on board is key to the success of your coaching journey.

 

Personal Marketing within your organisation

  • Coaching’s key success factor is proving that coaching interventions work and create change. An effective method of showing this is regular feedback on goals. Don’t just limit this to your manager or sponsor but share with your peers and managers.
  • Let people know what you are doing, how you’ve improved, the successes you’re having and the obstacles you’ve overcome. Focus on facts so that you don’t appear to be bragging.
  • Build and grow your internal networks and seek constructive feedback. This will help you benchmark yourself pre, during and post coaching.

 

Getting ongoing feedback from your peer group

  • Some organisations undertake 360-degree reviews on a yearly basis but informal feedback from your peers is often the most honest and effective. Be brave and ask for blunt and, if need be, brutally honest feedback.
  • Don’t ask vague questions such as ‘how can I improve’ or ‘do you have any feedback for me?’ Seek specific answers by providing them with clear questions. Tailor your questions to defined themes that align with your coaching and PDP goals. Don’t give them an option to provide a yes/no answer.
  • Don’t disregard feedback and if you don’t understand their response ask for clarity. You must follow through on feedback – if they have identified a negative behaviour that you concede is true you need to show them you have listened and make changes.

 

Dealing with challenges and issues

  • You may find that the coaching process brings out issues and challenges you in ways you were not expecting. It may force you to be honest with yourself which may be uncomfortable. A good coach will be able to help you navigate through this.
  • Remember the coach is there to support you and help you on your development journey. They are there to challenge you to think and act differently – to move you out of your comfort zone. Coaches are looking for that ‘light-bulb’ moment.
  • As you change and evolve through your coaching process, these changes will become apparent to others – for example, your manager and colleagues. This could in turn create other challenges such as blocking and removal of support which is discussed in the next section.

 

Non-supportive colleagues

  • It can be a hugely frustrating experience to face colleagues who are not willing to support your coaching outcomes or goals. The key is to understand their reasons why.
  • Talk to your coach to gain advice and guidance on how to manage this and use some of their questioning approaches to ascertain more information from the colleague in question.
  • Focus your efforts on those colleagues who are supporting you and help them in return. Show the non-supportive colleague that it’s a win-win situation.

 

Final outcomes

  • As much as you will enjoy your coaching process it will need to end. Effective coaches will plan for this at the beginning so that everyone understands the goal. Ultimately to ‘begin with the end in mind’.
  • Your coach will help you identify what you can put in place to make sure that your learning and development continues after the coaching ends – this could be in the form of specific training, internal mentoring or books to read.
  • You will need to identify with your coach clear goals and direction for moving forward so that you can keep your momentum up. Your contract may also allow for a ‘coaching catch-up’ within a defined period so that you can both ‘check-in’ to monitor your ongoing progress.

 

If you want to see the full version of this article then take a look at our book 100+ Top Tips on Managing Your Coaching Needs.