Whatever the context, people learn most effectively when they are keen to learn and have a clear focus on where and what they want to develop. It is almost always helpful to come to a coaching session having reflected on your current concerns and challenges, what you would like to discuss and what you hope to go away with at the end. It is common to end a session with agreement about particular actions or ideas to be tried out in day to day interactions between sessions, and to return to the next session ready to reflect on what happened, how it felt and what you have taken from the experience. Effective coaching often addresses longer term challenges rather than simply dealing with the most recent work event or crisis!
What to expect…..
Expect to work reasonably hard, both in a coaching conversation and between sessions on reflection and practice. Expect to be surprised sometimes or perhaps a little disconcerted that you can now see a way forward which seems obvious with the benefit of hindsight. Expect to be challenged and supported within the terms of engagement you have agreed with your coach. Expect to leave a session or an engagement more energised, with more clarity about what you want to achieve and how you are going to go about this.
And what not to ……
If you bring little to the relationship by way of focus, commitment or discussion topics there is little for you and your coach to work on. Do not expect the coach to provide the content of your discussion, or to do all the work while you mentally sit on the side-lines. Do not expect to be ‘told’ the answer to your concerns. Do not expect the process to always be completely comfortable, although it should always be supportive and enabling.