So you got a coach. Congratulations! Coaching can offer tremendous benefits in your work, relationships and development. It can open your eyes to improvement opportunities and help you pour more of your strengths into everything you do.
At any level of business hierarchy, a coach tends to be that one person who can push the envelope - ask the tough questions, make you tow the line. She can give you the raised eyebrow when there's more to it than you see or when you just don't want to see it for what it is. She will challenge you to make you see more clearly... or from someone else's perspective... or to see you the way they see you.
You chose your coach carefully, and likely have a natural "fit" - personalities that can work together successfully, even through the tough, soul-searching stuff. Something clicked when you met - like your minds were on the same frequency or you had a connection. You felt that this coach could really help you get where you want to go.The decision to retain a business, career or executive coach is a great step forward... but what if it wasn't your decision?
Neither my friend nor her colleagues had the opportunity to buy-in to the executive coaching idea, or to select their own coaches. The company did it's best to match the leader to one of the coaches they had retained based on their understanding of each and their eagerness to initiate their new program. Though some of the leaders formed connections with their coaches fairly early on, others struggled for months before settling into a routine. A few never clicked at all throughout the year-long engagement.
Understandably, there were mixed results among the leaders in terms of perceived value for my friend's company. Her own assessment was that, though the company's execution was rushed, the responsibility of getting something out of the opportunity, warts and all, belonged squarely on the coaches. Many of the coaches had not made that realization until after the engagement had ended... and then felt like they had wasted the opportunity without even realizing it.
In the event you should find yourself with the good fortune of a coach, even if he or she was chosen for you, rather than by you, try these tips to get the most out of the experience.
There are more, of course... this is just a short list. What tips would you add?
Misty Smalley is an HR leader and writer who actively pursues interests in executive coaching, organizational development and training design. A life-long learner, she joyfully strives to help others to explore the meaning in their own journeys, then to express it authentically.