The Coaching Process — How Does it Work?

Many people talk about Coaches and their work with them.  Often times what I hear from them is a misunderstanding of the Coaching Process.  This is a hands-on session between the person being Coached and the Coach.  It involves strong communication and the development of measurable action plans.    These sessions should involve a lot of questions asked by the Coach and the person being Coached answering them.  The Coach should be a good listener and they should be seeking quantifiable data about your situation, your business, what you have done and where you think you want to go.  The Coach should work with you to develop a strong list of things you must do and accomplish successfully in order to meet your goal.

How is the Initial Coaching Session Conducted?

The initial Coaching Session is the collection of information I mentioned above.  This should be information about;

If you are a Business Owner:
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Planning/Strategy
  • Decision Making
  • Financial Management Skills
  • Budgets
  • And related areas.
If you are a Business Leader:
  • Time Management
  • Delegation
  • Processes
  • Decision making
  • Conflict Management
  • Accountability
  • Assertiveness
  • Problem Solving
  • Execution
  • And similar areas.

From these, the Coach will help you establish a plan that you will spend the rest of your time together executing.  The Goals from your Coaching sessions should be a combination of short and long-term.  Long-term satisfaction with and the sustainability of your business and/or career is the ultimate goal.

What Happens After the Initial Session – The Coaching Process Continues

Let’s start with this basic rule: A Coaching session is a structured conversation about your business or the work you do for a business.  These questions should be about issues and subjects that are important to you today.  This is YOUR AGENDA and not the Coaches.

The Coach should ask you a lot of questions that help lead to your fully explaining the issue, identifying ways to manage or resolve the issue and a final plan to do that.    During these Q&A sessions, your strengths and weaknesses will be identified.  Your strengths will be used to build on while your weaknesses will be worked on to turn them into strengths.  It is important that your strengths not be overused which can cause additional issues if not properly managed.  As the concerns you have are discussed you will formulate a plan that meets your specific needs while also developing goals and outcomes that fulfill your ultimate expectations from Coaching.  It may well uncover contributors to an issue and in some cases even discover that the issue you have is an outcome of something else, the discovery that what you thought the issue was is really a symptom instead of the cause.  This cause discovery will help you achieve your desired goals successfully.   Remember, the goals are both Short and Long-Term.

New Ways of Doing Things

Coaching is about change.  During your coaching sessions new approaches, methods, processes, skills, and tools will be discussed.  Some you will adapt and others you will decide are not right for you.  The key is the exploration of different ways and finding the ones that work best for you.

These new ways of doing things are not simply pulled off the internet or from a textbook someone bought.  In my case, they come from almost 40 years of business experience and all of the success, and yes failures, that happened along the way.  They may well be ideas or methods you have read or heard about.  You and the Coach should work not on adapting the latest fad but on finding ways that work best for you in your present circumstance with an eye on their long-term effectiveness for you.

Becoming Accountable

Coaching is also about being accountable.  In the beginning of your Coaching experience, you identified tasks and actions that you will take to become more successful than you were then.  The Coach will review these things with you and ask you a hard question; “Have you accomplished these and what happened?”  Tasks not accomplished will be discussed as to why – what was the reason they were not done.  Then, a plan to execute those tasks and actions will be developed.  Tasks that were accomplished will be reviewed to determine what worked, what didn’t work and what worked exceptionally well.  Then you and the Coach will discover why those outcomes occurred.  A Celebration will be the activity where success is achieved.

The Effectiveness of the Coaching Process

In order to truly be effective Coaching should be about measurable objectives.  This is more than words that state your business will improve by X or your career will become more upwardly focused.  Tangible goals established by you and your Coach are what determines if the objectives are being met.  If your Coach cannot provide that, find another Coach.  If they can, then keep them.