So, you have determined to engage an executive coach for regular coaching sessions. Hats off to you for making such a wise investment in yourself and career. You are following the well-trod path of all great athletes, musicians, and artisans who know the value of what a great coach can do for their life’s work.
Prepare for Your Coaching Session
Once you have invested time and money into this endeavor, there are several simple but effective ways to make the most of each coaching session. Let’s walk through a few of them.
1. Articulate your personal values to your coach and how you think they reveal themselves in your work life. If you don’t know them, work with your coach to discern a set of five to nine core values that consistently show up as non-negotiable. (Some recommend a set of no less than three and no more than five.) These values will become the compass heading for your work with your coach.
2. Next, take some time, preferably over several sittings, to write out the goals you want to work with your coach to achieve. They can focus on career outcomes, the kind of person you want to be, mindsets or skill sets you want to develop, etc. Go over them with your coach and keep them accessible during each session.
3. Prior to and between each session, keep a log of the day-to-day challenges, questions, and opportunities that arise and how you tend to respond to them. Share these with your coach as background and offer them as teachable moments to revisit or rehearse together. This becomes a powerful tool for exploring and refining your values, your goals, your strengths, and weaknesses. It will help your coach help you define and sharpen your growing edges.
4. Review notes from your last session and reflect on the steps you committed to at that time. What progress have you made? How did it go? Is there more to talk over? Let your coach know about this as well. The more awareness you bring into each session, the more your coach can help you enhance your response-ability.
5. Finally, communicate with your coach ahead of each coaching session. She or he should already have your values and goals, but 2-3 days ahead, let them know what you hope to explore during your upcoming session. This helps your coach pre-process and arrive more prepared with powerful questions and perspectives to consider. This way, you get the most out of the valuable time you have together.
Executive coaching is like life: “What you put into it is what you get out of it!” Preparing for each coaching session with your executive coach will maximize your coaching investment while accelerating your personal and professional development.