You’re thinking about your work over the past week, or the last challenging conversation you had with your child or your parent, or maybe you’re thinking about the future and how to achieve your most audacious goals.
You’re probably also thinking is, “Why do I keep making these same mistakes? Why is this so hard all the time? Why don’t I know what I want and how to get it?”
These are great questions! And it totally makes sense to be asking them, because you know you can do better and you want to do better. So you decide to read that self-help book that’s been sitting on the shelf for months, probably even years.
Better yet, you decide you’re going to buy the latest, most popular self-help book written by one of the top coaches in the world. That’ll do the trick.
It’s not that you didn’t like the book or the suggestions that were made. It’s just really hard to stick to a plan if you’re asking a book to hold you accountable.
If you really want to create transformation in your life, you should reach out and hire the coach who wrote that book.
But that will likely break the bank or at least bust the budget. I mean, Oprah hires those coaches.
Now, as many of you know, I’m an executive coach so it probably sounds like I’m telling you to hire me. Well, sure, if I’m the right coach for you, please, hire me! But before we get there, let’s talk about how to be a good client.
Because no matter who you hire to be your coach can, it can cost a lot of money and it can turn into something you regret after you’re four, five, or six sessions in.
In all fairness, that can happen if your coach is not well trained and is not genuinely concerned with helping you meet your goals.
So let’s consider what it means to be a good client, because a successful coaching relationship requires both parties to be 100% honest, 100% invested, and 100% active in the process.
To help you understand this in a bit more detail, I’ll step out five practical guidelines to help you be a more satisfied and successful coaching client.
- Know your destination. A coach is there to shine a light and guide you on your journey to greatness, success, overcoming fears, and so much more. But it is important for the client to know where they want to go – what fears, what problems, what goals they want to approach.
Without a clear idea of what is desired, it can be frustrating for both the coach and the client. The client may feel that the sessions are a waste of time and money; and the coach may feel they are being forced to consult, mentor, or give advice (something a good coach never does).
- Be selfish. This may sound a bit odd at first, but really this is what your sessions are all about. Your session is your time for you to be totally selfish about what you want.
Don’t think about other people and what is wrong with them. Think about how their words or their actions affect you. Think about how you feel during stressful situations.
- Stay curious. Clients come to coaches with an idea of what their problem or goal is. Quite often during the coaching conversation, the coach will offer insights they have discerned from what you have said or maybe not said.
Be open to these insights and dare to think beyond your own immediate presumptions. The more curious you are, the more you’ll learn about the fascinating human you see in the mirror each morning.
- Go deep. Speaking of looking in the mirror, coaching can touch on some sensitive personal areas – things you might not be happy with or don’t always make you look good. Things you might feel embarrassed about. This is perfectly natural!
Coaching is a safe, confidential place for you to explore, emote, and test your thinking.
And when you think you’ve found new understanding, don’t be afraid to go a bit deeper to see what is at the root of your thinking, what is really holding you back, and what is truly possible.
- Take responsibility. With all the great exploring you’ve done with your coach, it’s now time to put this “mesearch” (research into yourself) into practical use.
Coaching is an action-reflection process. Coach and client look at past actions together and reflect on what could be done differently. Then, in collaboration with the coach, the client creates some action steps and sets out to see how they work in the real world.
At the next coaching session, they reflect to see what worked well and what could be improved, and then act again.
And in case you didn’t realize, your coaching session is the perfect time to rehearse your speech, your actions, and your reactions. This way you’ve already had the opportunity to practice, review, and prepare for upcoming challenges.
No need to wing it in the wild. Practice in a safe, supportive environment first. You’ll gain muscle memory of the thoughts, words, and tone you want to use, and you’ll build confidence that you can do it more naturally in the heat of the moment.
So there you have it. Five tips to be a great client and get the most out of your coaching engagement.
These guidelines are challenging and they’re not easy to adhere to, but following them will improve your relationships with your coach, with yourself, and with your colleagues and loved ones.
So how will you know if coaching is right for you? How will you take that next step and find a coach that fits your profile? And how will you keep disciplined as you work with your coach to ensure the best return on your investment?
You might not feel it right now, but next time you’re thinking, “Ugh, why am I still stuck here making the same decisions, the same mistakes, and getting the same results?” consider doing what the pros do…hire a coach!
And then work with them to increase your energy, improve your relationships and well-being, and ultimately attain the success and fulfillment you’re looking for in life and at work.
Your Mindful Moment:
Once you make up your mind, there are no limits to where you can go!Tweet