Coaching is a powerful way of moving from where you are to where you want to be. It’s an opportunity, an experience, an investment and importantly, coaching is a collaboration.

For coaching to be effective, both coach and coachee have responsibilities in how they bring themselves to the coaching relationship, and the sessions.

For the coach, it’s important to provide a space that the coachee feels comfortable in, where there is trust, rapport, the space is safe and confidential, free from discomfort and distractions.

For the coachee, it’s important to be open minded and honest with what you bring to the sessions. To be ready for change and to be ready to take actions. Critically, as a coachee, it’s important to have a sense of personal agency – to take responsibility for how you choose to be in and outside of the sessions, and for making progress.

For those new to exploring coaching, it can seem a bit of a mystery with no clear structure of how it works. Add to this that there is a broad spectrum of how coaches work, what coaches work on, the tools and models they may use, and the practical elements in terms of how many sessions, how long the sessions are and where they take place, it can become a little harder to work out what to expect happens in each session.

And whilst sessions will differ for the reasons outlined, it might be helpful to understand the principles of how coaching sessions can work.


The Pre Call

This is not technically a session, but useful to know as many coaches will offer a free call before any commitment. This can sometimes be called a discovery call, chemistry call, exploratory call or taster session. 

Choosing a coach is an important decision, and this call is a good way to find out more about a coach and how you might feel about working with them. These calls will usually have no strings attached – no obligation to work together, no obligation to share anything you don’t want to share, and no cost. 

The aim for the coach is to find out more about your reasons for looking into coaching and what might be going on for you, they are likely to ask you questions so they can assess if they are well placed to help you and that they would feel comfortable working with you.

It’s also a good time for you to ask questions of the coach – you might want to ask who they have worked with before that might have been in a similar situation to you, you could ask about the coaches background and experience, about how they work practically including costs. I would also encourage you to ask about their supervision arrangements. Though not mandatory, coaching is an unregulated profession and supervision is there to provide best practice support for coaches. See how you feel in talking with the potential coach – do you feel comfortable, do you feel inspired, are you engaged.

When researching coaches, you could decide on a shortlist and arrange 3-4 chemistry calls to talk to them all before committing to one. 


The First Session

Congratulations you have a coach! Once you have selected your coach, you’ll have completed the paperwork and payment, and your first session will be booked in. The coaching relationship has begun, it’s time to build the foundations in the first session.

The first session is usually about exploring your situation in more detail. The coach will ask questions and be very curious about what’s going on for you. Expect to do most of the talking and be ready to share. 

This is also the session where the coach will seek to understand your goals in terms of the change you want to see, or what you want to achieve. It’s a good idea to prep a little for this session, to think about what you want to achieve from coaching overall.

The coach is there to guide and support you through finding clarity on these goals, so don’t worry if you are not 100% clear, have an idea and be ready to develop it further. The coaches questions will help you have the discussion and exploration you need to develop or unstick your thinking.


Ongoing Sessions

Between the first and last sessions, the coach will continue to work with you to move towards your goal. There will be discussions on actions, accountability and checking that the process and coaching is working for the coachee and discussing any adjustments. If the goal changes, that is totally fine, the coach will be able to be dynamic in adjusting the coaching sessions to any new or adjusted goals. 

As your relationship becomes stronger, the coach will also be there to challenge your thinking and provide different perspectives to aid your own exploration and understanding of your situation. 

Progress from coaching is a process. Some coachees will find a-ha moments early on and some will find them after the coaching has finished. Trust the process, the value is in the process of exploration and discovery, in a space that is held just for you and no one else.

Remember, the coach is not there to give you advice, solutions or to fix anything. Coaching is about you discovering your own possibilities and making things happen yourself. The coach will create space and opportunity for you to do this in a way that will get you to your own true insights and possibilities.


The Last Session

Each ongoing session will end in a brief summary and round up of the session, including any reflections and actions. 

The majority of the last session will be a more rounded reflection of the coaching overall. To explore what has been covered through coaching and where you have landed in respect of the goals outlined in the first session. It’s a good place to review what you have learnt about yourself, about your situation and what you might do differently moving forward. 

Coaching is as exciting as it can be challenging, and is an experience that is tailored to you and you alone in those sessions. It’s an opportunity for real and lasting change, for transformation and for confident progress.

I believe passionately in the power of coaching and would encourage anyone who is thinking about it to have those pre call conversations at minimum – find out what’s possible for you, and make exciting things happen.


Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash