Whenever I speak with a new client, I get asked about the coaching process itself.
“What is the coaching process?”,”How exactly does it go?”, “What do you do there?” and my personal favorite “really? All we do is talk?“.
So yes, most of the coaching we just talk. That doesn’t mean that that’s all we do. We also imagine and do mental (and sometimes physical) exercises. As a matter of fact, we do everything it takes for the client to understand a certain point, or get a different view on the issue that is being discussed.
What does the process look like?
The coaching process typically starts with a personal interview. The interview can be done through the phone or face to face, depending on both the coach and the client. This interview is performed to determine the priorities of the client, define the relationship, see what are the challenges or opportunities that are currently being presented and decide on the desired outcome for the process. Another important thing that the interview checks is the chemistry between the coach and client. Since the relationship between the coach and the client is important for the process and its results, it’s important to check this first thing to ensure that there is a good fit.
After the first meeting, the next sessions can be performed face-to-face or by using phone/skype or any other medium of live conversation. This also depends both on the coach and client. A coach and client who lives in different parts of the world, probably wouldn’t want to meet face-to-face each week…
Each session takes a previously determined length of time. The most common time frames are 45 minutes and 1 hour, but there are other variations as well. Between each session, the individual might be requested to perform certain tasks or actions that will assist reaching the goals that were previously set.
The duration of the coaching process depends on the individual’s or group’s needs and goals. For certain types of coaching 3 months is sufficient, for others, 6 months would do the trick. There are cases where even a shorter period is okay. I have found that the bare minimum for sustained change is 3 months. In most cases you can see the change a lot sooner, but unless the process continues there is a certain chance that the change or achievement will not last long, and dissolve when the coaching stops.
Another approach to determining the duration of the coaching process is to frame it in meetings rather than time. The most common method I use is to have a basic 12 meetings with the client which could take any amount of time. Usually, 12 meetings take 3 months to complete, but it could take less or more, depending on the individual. I usually gauge our progress and if I see a need to lengthen or shorten the number of meetings, I raise the issue in one of the sessions, and we talk about it.
What is the coach’s role in the process?
The coach is responsible for the process. He is not responsible for the results.
Among other things, the coach should:
- Listen closely to the client, in order to understand his situation from his point of view
- Provide objective observations or assessments to support self-awareness or awareness of others
- Act as a sounding board for the client in order to explore possibilities and test ideas
- Encourage mind shifts that enable new perspectives or viewpoints
- Challenge the orthodox or accepted thought patterns and decision-making paradigms of the client
- Keep the client’s agenda in mind, and make sure the process does not steer to other places
- Maintain professionalism of the process and during the process, including keeping complete confidentiality (unless request otherwise), and ethics
What’s the client’s role in the partnership?
The most important thing that the client is responsible for, during the process is the results. The coach can enable, and encourage, and challenge his client’s brains out, but if the client does not want to change, then no change will take place.
There is an age-old question that asks: “How many coaches does it take to change a lightbulb?”
The answer: just one, but the lightbulb needs to want to be changed.
Yes, you are responsible for your own results!
No matter what you think, your coach can do flip flops throughout all the sessions, but if you don’t take responsibility for the results you receive than the entire process becomes meaningless. This sometimes comes as a shock to people, but it’s the cold hard truth. Your coach can’t do the things you need to do for yourself. He can support, guide and show you the door, but you need to walk through it.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are some other things that the individual is responsible for during the process:
- Decide on an agenda for the process
- Envision and imagine success or the achievement of the goal
- Challenge current beliefs and attitudes and develop new ones in order to reach the requested goal
- Assume responsibility for decisions and actions
- Take courageous actions which align with the vision or goal
- Make an effort to see the big picture
How do you know the coaching process works?
You can tell the process is bearing fruits with two types of indicators. External indicators, and internal ones.
External indicators are indicators that refer to the individual’s environment. These are things that the individual can directly influence, and something that he is already measuring or noticing. Examples of external indicators might be achieving the goals that were decided on at the outset of the process, increased income/revenue, promotion at work, improved feedback from colleagues etc.
Internal indicators are indicators that the individual is experiencing for himself. These can be improved self-awareness or awareness of others, improved confidence, better task management or changes in thought
These are the main elements that make up the coaching process. If you like to know more about the process or have any questions about coaching, feel free to contact me or leave your questions below. Better yet, do both!