What Happens in Coaching?
Executive Coaching usually takes the form of a series of conversations - the coaching sessions - between coach and coachee. The coach is not an advisor or expert in the coachee's issues, but is skilled in structuring the conversations so as to enable the coachee discover their own answers and solutions, in a novel and productive way that would be very difficult to achieve without a coach.
The sessions may be face-to-face, broadband video link or telephone, or a mixture of all three. They may take place at a workplace or at another venue, depending on preference, and will be at regular, agreed intervals. They are usually 60-90 minutes long.
Make no mistake, being coached requires commitment and a willingness to be challenged and stretched. It is about change on a personal and professional level, and, to be sustainable, change requires work.
Having said that, it does not have to take overly long. Sometimes, an objective is achieved after 3 or 4 sessions, sometimes more. There is usually work to be completed by the coachee between meetings. This is where the work of change really takes place and therefore it requires committed attention from the coachee.
"Things have a way of being richer in the end, a product better made, for the circuitous route we take to include all the elements that are necessary for a job well done."
Confidentiality is vital to the coaching process. This is straightforward when there are only 2 parties to the coaching - coach and coachee.
Sometimes there is a third interested party - the coachee's employer - who has commissioned and is paying for the coaching. In this case, it is very important that it is agreed, between all 3 parties, what the desired outcomes are, and how the employer will be kept informed of progress. The employer must respect the confidentiality of the process and the coach and coachee have a responsibility to keep them informed in the manner agreed.
Initial Exploratory Meeting
The coaching process will vary greatly according to the coachee's agenda. However, it usually begins with this important step.
This is really to allow both coach and coachee to see if they are happy to work with each other. It also gives the coach a chance to hear your circumstances and agenda and to explain the process in more detail. You have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
All agreements are also made at this meeting, regarding confidentiality, reporting to employers, frequency and location of meetings, fees, commitments to complete work as undertaken etc.
After this meeting, there will usually be an engagement letter detailing what has been agreed, to be signed off by all parties.
There is usually no charge for this initial meeting, although there may be reimbursable expenses.
Sometimes, it might be useful for a coachee to complete one or more standard psychometric assessments. While these are never definitive, they can assist in providing a basis for some discussion and often provide useful insights.