If you’ve never worked with an executive coach before, how can you make sure you achieve what you want from the time you spend together?
Prior to starting your 1-1 coaching, an initial consultation with your coach will serve a number of purposes:
- Trust and Rapport
One objective is to allow both parties the opportunity to see whether they would like to work together. It is very important that the “chemistry” between you and your coach is right. You need to feel rapport with your coach and experience them as someone whose professionalism and abilities you respect. If you do not feel comfortable you should ask to meet with another coach.
For the coaching to deliver maximum benefit it is vital that you bring, or quickly develop, a genuine commitment to the coaching process. Your buy-in at both an emotional and intellectual level is essential for success.
- Communication with Sponsors
Whilst executive coaching concentrates on working with you, it may sometimes involve other key stakeholders in your business. By the end of your initial meeting you should be entirely clear and happy with the way your coach will seek the input and support of your immediate line manager and any other key sponsors.
The question of confidentiality is another critical factor in the success of your coaching. From the moment your coaching starts, the process is entirely confidential. Your coach will not report back any view or opinion you express to anyone in your organisation without your express knowledge and permission. Proprietary information about your company, its products, plans etc. is also confidential.
- Coaching Objectives/Outcomes
The objectives for your coaching will be agreed at the very outset of the work. Your coach will work with you to define a set of coaching outcomes that are clearly observable and/or measurable and that relate to both your own and the organisation’s performance. These will often be expressed in terms of behavioural and attitudinal changes which deliver results for you and your company.
- Coaching Location
Where practical, we believe you will gain the most from your coaching if the sessions are held out of your usual office environment. The “psychological space” provided by an off-site, neutral setting makes a significant difference to the value you will gain from your coaching. It also has the obvious benefit of ensuring you are not disturbed or distracted by business issues.
- Length of Coaching Programme
It may be, if you are focusing on a single area such as confidence when presenting, the programme will extend for 2-3 sessions. Alternatively, if you are working with a coach to facilitate onboarding / performance acceleration in a new role, the programme may last for 90-100 days. If you are a middle manager being groomed for succession to more senior roles or a high potential employee whose development needs to be focused and accelerated, your coaching programme might be longer.
- Duration and Frequency
There is some flexibility depending on what you wish to achieve and how quickly you need results. Typically, sessions last between 2-3 hours with at least a week between sessions. At the other end of the spectrum some clients prefer half a day every quarter. Ultimately, we will create a coaching schedule that is suited to your individual needs and expectations.