If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have experienced great coaching, you’ll know that the results can be staggering.  And even life-changing.

But I want to let you know, there’s a few secrets to it being successful….

The coach plays (or should play) a very minimal part in the whole process.  It’s all about what YOU, the coachee, bring to the party.  Yes, the coach will ask you lots of questions and encourage you to open up about your ambitions, challenges and obstacles, but there’s so much about the whole experience that rides on what YOU bring. You.
Right at the start of my leadership career, I’d set my heart on a promotion.  I really thought it was in the bag….sadly it wasn’t.  I still had so much to learn, and secretly I knew that, but it didn’t stop me from being ultra-disappointed when I heard those dreadful words “sorry, but you didn’t get the job”.  It was a bad day.  I even wrote my resignation.  But luckily I only emailed it to myself (a little tip given to me by the best mentor I’ve ever had – but I’ll tell you about him in a future blog).  Instead of resigning, I decided to run towards personal development and to cut a long story short, my boss invested in an external coach for me.  I was very lucky.  Working with that coach was a pinnacle moment for me.

He stretched my thinking, challenged me and made me see things totally differently.  I opened up about what I really wanted to achieve and built a plan to get it.  Bear in mind this was over 10 years ago and I still use some of the techniques he taught me, even today.  But now that I reflect on the process I went through back then, it was actually me who was driving it all.  My determination to overcome the defeat of that (gggrrr) promotion was so strong, that I threw my energy into being a great coachee.  I dug deep and worked really hard to make progress in between each session, practising what he’d taught me in real life situations with my team.

To be a great coachee, you need to:

  • Bring it!  Your attitude is critical to the success you’ll achieve.
  • Be honest.  Don’t answer questions with what you ‘think’ your coach wants to hear.
  • Be patient.  It’s a journey of discovery.  There’s no fireworks on day one so hang on in there.
  • Be open to being wrong.  A good coach will challenge you and help unlock a new truth that will help take you forward.
  • Work hard.  Not just in the monthly session with the coach, but in between sessions too.  Take good notes, list out your actions and put them into practise until they become a habit.
  • Keep your eye on the prize.  Be really clear about what you want to achieve.
  • Feedback to your sponsor or stakeholder.  If your boss is footing the bill for your coaching, feedback to him/her on how it’s going and the value he/she will get from you going on this journey.
  • Be committed.  See it through to the end and you’ll discover a new YOU.

Good luck.  Hope you found my story and tips helpful 🙂

PS. If the boss who rejected me for that job is reading…. don’t worry, I forgave you long ago xx

 

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