What does working with a coach look like in practice?

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You may have come across the idea of a ‘coach’. You’ve certainly seen sports coaches too. But what does it actually look like to work with a coach on personal development?

People use coaches for all sorts of reasons – common themes include wanting help to improve a skill or get support with finding a new job or pursuing a promotion. It might also be that someone is struggling with a particular area of their life such as anxiety, confidence or imposter syndrome.

Coaching gives time and space to go deeper into conversations around subjects which you otherwise wouldn’t. For example, I’ve had conversations around how the issue of confidence has really held back a client in speaking up in their team meetings. This has had a subsequent negative effect on their career trajectory, further knocking their confidence.

When we explored the idea of confidence, this came from the idea of not belonging in where they worked, which actually came from their personal life and how they had felt left out when younger. After we had spent time reframing the issue, speaking up in meetings wasn’t so nerve wracking anymore. The effect also had a wider positive impact on their life outside of meetings too. So it can really help, and it’s common to explore multiple subjects with a coach over different sessions.

Different coaches have different styles. It’s why it’s important to find someone that you feel will genuinely help you. Like any profession, unfortunately there are coaches which give it a bad name. It doesn’t take long to find get-rich-quick schemes or people who get their sales by pressuring people into paying for something that isn’t right for them.

I take the time to speak with people several times before even looking at the idea of a client relationship. Coaching is a personal, transformative experience, and you would only want to do that with someone you can genuinely trust and you think can genuinely help you. If I believe I’m not that person for you, I’d much prefer you find someone else who will fit what you’re looking for.

My style goes into the inner depths around mindset and our perceptions of the world. I do this because I believe this has the biggest transformative effect. If we shift the way we see our own existence, suddenly possibilities appear that we never noticed before. This can be incredibly powerful, and can really change people’s lives. It then has the desired knock-on effect of greater career pursuits or simply a happier, more fulfilled life.

My approach isn’t for everyone. After all, this style of coaching requires a larger commitment – it’s not a quick fix to a problem. Some people would much prefer more targeted coaching around a skill, or one that is more focussed around getting to a certain goal as quickly as possible. That’s fine, there are plenty of coaches that do that. It’s just not my personal style.

Coaches regularly meet with their clients to talk about particular issues that the client wants to talk about. It gives an open space to co-create a session that really helps, rather than a pre-set seminar to ‘teach’ people what to do. For example, I’ve had clients who were thinking about wanting to talk about a specific skill such as public speaking, but then arrived on the day overwhelmed with their life. We ended up speaking about how they were feeling and working it through, which had a much greater impact as we could explore some of the root causes of the feelings.

I tend to work with clients on a longer term relationship, spanning several months. This allows for a continued conversation and keeps an ongoing commitment towards making that personal shift. The basis of the coaching itself is via regular sessions: 60-75 minute sessions every two to four weeks depending on the pace the client wants to go on.

Outside of the sessions, I keep an open line of dialogue throughout the time we work together. I often send resources such as books, articles and videos as additional material between sessions, as well as have space within our work for impromptu conversations in case the person I work with really just needs to speak about something at short notice.

That’s how I like to work as it keeps a sense of continuity for the client. Other coaches can work very differently. Some only speak during sessions. Some have unlimited access. It’s worth exploring this with whoever you talk to.

Coaching can be an incredibly powerful thing. It’s why so many people hire them. That said, it’s not for everyone, nor is it a necessity. When it does work, it does bring great changes at a far greater pace than going it alone. So if you’re open to the idea that coaching might help you, it might be worth exploring.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about coaching. If you’re interested in knowing more about what I do, drop me a message

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