If you’re reading this then you’ve already worked out my first tip – “proper preparation really helps you get the most out of your coaching experience”Adrian Taylor
In the following post I’d like to offer you a range of real tips and tricks that I personally use to prepare for my coaching sessions. If you run through them then they’ll help you feel more relaxed and prepared for your next coaching session.
Preparing for the coaching:
Make a note of any questions you still have.
I welcome any new coachee by explaining my confidentiality policy and the nature of the coaching experience, but please feel free to ask any other questions that may be on your mind. There’s no such thing as a silly question here, this is a perfect chance to get things off your mind and be able to settle into the session.
What are your expectations from this coaching experience?
Take a moment to remind yourself why you booked the coaching? What was on your mind? What would you really like the coaching experience to be like? Do you already have an expectation of what coaching is?
What would you like to get out of the experience? If you’ve had coaching before, how would you like this to be different to that experience? Please share these thoughts with your coach in the session so that they can really tailor the coaching to your needs.
Will you honour yourself and fully show up?
How important is it for you to make changes in your life? How willing are you to use this opportunity to make that happen?
I’m going to invite you to really dig deep and explore what change means for you, fully.
How much do you really want your goal? How will it look like when you really step up and start to make changes? What might get in the way of that happening?
What do you need from me to help you bring everything you can?
Have a think about these exploratory questions.
Take out a pen and paper and start writing your thoughts about these questions. Don’t overthink them, just start writing – you may be surprised what you discover:
- What are you most proud of?
- What does success look like?
- What do you need most right now?
- What’s standing in your way?
- What are you doing to not achieve your goal?
- What’s the most useful thing for you right now?
What is the most important thing that could happen in the coaching?
- Make a note of all the critical issues you want to discuss.
- Prioritise them, put them to the side for a while and then pick the thing that will have the most impact on your life.
- What specific behaviours can you use to illustrate your issue? If you can’t think of anything, or struggling to pick the most important one then that is absolutely fine, we can look at that too.
Just before the session:
Turn off the phone and let your family / colleagues know not to disturb you. Close down your email and avoid anything that pops up on your screen like calendars. Hide the to-do list, take off the postIT note reminders, close the door. Give yourself space for the duration of the session.
Adopt a beginner’s mindset
Coaching will be super powerful when you approach things with total curiosity. Imagine you are a child, seeing things for the first time. Get ready to ask why, and then why again, and why again!
Imagine you are seeing your goal for the very first time. Be ready to play and explore.
Set your intention
How do you want to be in the session? Do you want to welcome all emotions that come up, to be open, honest and honour yourself by being adventurous and courageous? Do you want to be creative? Practical? What will suit you best?
Take a moment to let that settle in before the session.
Whether this is your first session, or fifth you will likely feel a range of emotions before any coaching session.
When I get ready for seeing my own coach I can feel excited, sometimes nervous, sometimes confused or sometimes suffering with a really busy head. I always recommend taking at least 15 minutes before your session to relax a little. Turn the phone off, go for a walk, grab a coffee, move around a bit. Take a few deep breaths and find some space. Relax and find that mental space, ready to explore. This really makes a huge difference.
Pen & Paper
Have a pad & some coloured pens handy. Some scissors & a ruler too … prepare for creative!
During the session:
Be ready for challenge, or say if you’re not
I really want you to get the most out of the session and will ask questions that dig deeper than you you’re used to. I may even interrupt you, or challenge you. This is done with the best possible intention but if you feel a more gentle approach is needed then please let me know.
Be prepared for different!
Coaching is a creative conversation with an outcome in mind. It may at times feel like a conversation, but it really isn’t – I’m here to help you unlock the way to your goals by using a range of tools. These tools may feel strange at times, but trust me! They work.
- Pauses can happen where I give you space to think
- I won’t not offer suggestions or advice
- I may not comment on anything you say
- I’m unlikely to answer any questions you have, I’ll invite you to answer them!
- I’ll take notes and if we’re in the same room I’ll hand them to you at the end. If you’re remote then I can scan and email your notes.
Take notes, especially of any actions
Ultimately, you are responsible for the change you want to see in your life. Take time to make notes of any follow-ups that come up. If you read them in a week or months’ time, will they make sense?
And finally….. enjoy yourself! Coaching can be challenging, but also hugely rewarding, have fun and enjoy the ride.