How to Get the Most Out of Working With a Coach 

Ever want to just throw money at a problem?

Anyone who has ever bought a treadmill and then used it as a clothes hanger knows what I mean. ????

There’s a satisfaction to finding what feels like “the answer” and making the purchase. Whammo! Abracadabra! Now, it’ll all be fixed, right?

Sometimes people approach the idea of getting a coach in the same way. We want to change something in our lives, and hiring a coach will do it! Cha ching! Break out the bonbons!

Of course, I’m being a little facetious, but I do think there are times, myself included, that we hire someone because we want a fast fix and the relief of feeling like we’re doing something to solve the problem.

The thing about hiring a coach though is it’s a little more like you’re Luke Skywalker asking Yoda for Jedi training, rather than hiring Han Solo as a bounty hunter to go out and do the job for you.

You are still the hero of this story, which means hiring a coach is just the beginning of your journey. So, if you’re at the beginning of that journey, here’s how to get the most out of it!

Show Up. Show up. Show up.

When I say this, I mean literally: Show. Up.

This might seem totally obvious, but if you commit to coaching — you’re paying for it, you’re giving it mental space, you want to reach the thing you hired the coach to help with — it should be one of the last things that gets rescheduled.

You don’t need to be moving heaven and earth every month, but commit to showing up. Even when you’re busy, even when you don’t feel like it. Nothing is going to change if you don’t show up.

Of course, there will be days when you don’t feel like showing up, and that’s okay. Do it anyway. With so many of my clients being performance and achievement oriented, they feel like they always need to show up for coaching on their A-game.

While I appreciate that, no one is that way every day, all the time. We’re not meant to be! Show up for coaching anyway. Even if you’re “meh.” Even if you’re in a “everything sucks” mood. Even if you feel like you’re ready to cry and don’t even know why.

As a coach I’m here for the entire human person you are. And sometimes, those sessions are so different from the usual, you discover an insight you never would have in a different state of mind. 

Know What You Want to Accomplish

Did you read my article about How to Find a Coach? Well, if you did, you know that before you even start looking for someone, you need to figure out what it is YOU want.

My clients have lots of different goals! All kinds of sizes. Some are growing, some are intentionally pulling back. Some are working on problems with their business, others more personal. Whatever it is, know what you want out of coaching. If you’re not sure, figure that out first, otherwise you may be disappointed.

Make Time and Space to do the Work

Coaching isn’t just committing to the coaching session itself. Most every week, you and your coach will come up with next steps, reflection or an action to be taken. Sometimes that’s just exploring something you discovered in the session on a deeper level. Sometimes it’s taking an action step.

While this will usually take some time between sessions, I remind clients that this time is usually something meant to be moving you toward your goals, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider it “extra work” but it still might be out of your usual routine and you’ll need to make space for it.

Be Ready to Try Something New

Speaking of doing the work, you need to be ready to do something different than what you’ve done before.

You know that old adage, “If you want something different, you are going to have to do something different.” by Jack Canfield. Well, that’s definitely true in coaching.

I once had a client who, every time we thought about her approaching something in a new way, she had a million reasons that she couldn’t. We tried to coach through it, but her resistance was so strong, I eventually had to tell her I didn’t think we should work together any more because I didn’t think coaching was benefiting her.

She wasn’t willing to do or see anything differently, so it was impossible to get different results. When you think about your goal — what you’re hoping to get out of coaching — ask yourself “Am I willing to do something different, something even outside of my comfort zone, in order to achieve it?” If not, you won’t get much out of your coaching relationship.

Your coach may ask you to do something unexpected within a session as well. My particular training in Co-Active coaching includes being aware of the impact thoughts, words, emotions have on your physical body, and we might explore that. Not every coach does this, but if they do, as long as you feel safe, go with it. You neve know what you might discover, even if it feels weird or awkward to talk about. ????

Hard Truth

In addition to asking you to try new things, your coach also might sometimes say something you don’t really want to hear.

It’s my job to tell you the things other people can’t or won’t. I don’t have to see you at Christmas. I don’t have a vested interest in your life, other than wanting you to succeed in the goals you set for yourself. And that’s all great. Because it allows me to be honest with you in a way that others might not be able to (and that you wouldn’t enjoy!).

But in the moment, this can still feel hard. That’s normal. 

Trust the Process, but Communicate Honestly.

There will be days you walk away from a session like, “OMG, this just changed the entire way I see my world. Holy shit!” LOL, yes it is that dramatic some days — like getting in a glass elevator and zooming to a new perspective and place.

But other days, we’ll have a conversation and explore some stuff. Things will get a little clearer and give you the next step or thought. You’ll take thought or action and it will live with you between sessions, soaking in and bringing you the next one. Then we’ll come back to the next session and do it again. Over time, it’s like a staircase. Each step is just one, and not big, but suddenly after some time you look back and realize you’re in a totally new place.

And then there could be a few days where you’re like, “I’m not sure I got much out of that.” It does happen!

Those are usually rare, and it’s not totally abnormal. BUT, if it becomes a regular occurrence, or if you don’t feel like it’s working, that’s when it’s important to be honest with your coach.

Most of us feel hesitant to express this kind of thing. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. But to get the most out of your coaching relationship, you need to.

Here’s how to do that: most coaches have a session or two at the beginning where they lay out how the coaching relationship works. That’s a great time to say, “Hey, if something isn’t working for me, how should I go about communicating that?”.

Often, a coach will include a check-in every few meetings or so to make sure you’re on the same page. So if you’re feeling hesitant about something, take advantage of that time and speak up!

Bring Your Honesty

Be honest with your coach, even when it’s hard.

You might be afraid of being judged. It might feel terrifying to say what you really want aloud. Or it feels so tender to acknowledge. The coaching relationship should be a place that’s so safe, you can do this. It’s part of the magic.

My first coach was the first person I ever uttered what I wanted my ideal schedule to be and my goal for how much money I wanted to make.

It was so hard to say, I literally froze up trying to speak. I felt that my dreams were ridiculous and that she would judge me. But saying it aloud — that was the beginning of the life I have now. It started with being honest in a safe place about what I wanted in life.

Being honest also means that emotions will often pop up in a session, and that’s okay. While I’m not a therapist, emotions are part of being human, and I’m here for them.

Emotions provide us with incredibly valuable information.

Processing our emotions allows us to release and move forward. I’ve had many clients cry, and that’s totally okay. On the other end, I love celebrating with my clients too!

When we’ve been told our whole lives not to be too full of ourselves, it can also be hard to celebrate, be proud of ourselves, and celebrate our accomplishments big and small. Allow yourself to feel the whole range with your coach. It will enrich your experience!

Don’t Give up.

Experiencing that panicky feeling of wanting to get out because this is JUST TOO HARD? After about 5 sessions, perhaps the newness has worn off. Your coach is starting to see your patterns, and you’re likely in the messy middle of whatever you’re trying to accomplish.

You may want to quit. Don’t. Trust me.

See it through. Success, whatever that looks like for you, is likely just over the next hill. Don’t let yourself roll all the way back to where you started just because you’re starting to huff and puff a little!

Investing in yourself with coaching is SO valuable, but it’s not a magic wand. In order to get the most out of your investment, you have to commit to it fully and engage. That’s when the real magic happens.

Next week, I’ll be sharing more about how to know when a coaching relationship is complete and how to move forward with a new coach or next steps.

I’m excited for what you’ll do next. ????



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