(Welcome to the third in a series about Executive Coaching…)
Coaching is not a monologue.
Coaching is all about dialogue.
Think of it as a two-way conversation between people who share a common interest in subject and substance.
While every coaching session is different, there are common elements to a successful call. A professional coach creates an environment of trust early in the relationship which demonstrates to the client that he or she has nothing to fear.
What Happens in Every Coaching Conversation?
The client begins to focus on one self-selected topic for the session. This may be a problem, concern, or obstacle in their work or personal life.
This is known as the coaching agreement. The coach will listen carefully for cues and clues during the session that generate a series of powerful, probing questions.
What is the value of skillful questioning?
- It helps the client generate a new awareness about the challenge that lies ahead.
- It heightens the client’s awareness of a unique way to view the problem.
- The coach helps to reframe the issue, which allows the client to see it in a different light.
As a result of this experienced questioning, it can foster a series of options and actions that allow the client to try a new and better approach to problem solving.
Beyond the Coaching Call: Moving Forward
Next, options for forward movement are listed and agreed upon.
This is followed by a conversion to action steps, which the client can then implement (often as a homework assignment). The results of this new thinking and creative problem solving can become the subject of the next coaching call, but that is always up to the client when defining the coaching agreement.
An experienced and trained coach utilizes three standard questions with each call:
- What is the topic of today’s coaching call? A good coach will ask this explicitly at the beginning of the session, after the exchange of customary small talk and informal greetings.
- What is your goal when it comes to today’s topic? What do you want to accomplish? How will you feel when you begin to make progress on this issue of importance? (Questions help clarify the difference between importance and motivation. What is the value of knowing the topic without motivation and energy to accomplish the goal?)
- How can we best use our time together to help you move forward? What achievements would enable you to maximize the benefit of our time together? Where do you hope to be in your own mind at the end of our session? The coach then invites the client to establish a measure of success to establish overall purpose and direction.
Honest, open dialogue with your coach is the starting point to an effective experience. Your professional coach will bring their “A” game to the session, so be ready to work.
Agreement on the precise topic, clarifying upfront your stated goals, and establishing a measurable definition of success will help you achieve the maximum benefit from every coaching conversation.
Ready to level up your leadership game? Mark Daly provides executive coaching services nationwide. Schedule a complimentary consultation with Mark today.