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11 ways to get the best out of your coach

>> 19 January 2011

Have you ever had a coach?

  • the trainer you had in high school
  • the consultant they paid when you were laid off
  • the fitness coach you decided to hire to loose those pounds
  • the life coach you felt you needed to get through mid life
We have all had a coach in our life at some point.
Sometimes we chose them, sometimes they were thrust upon us... for better or for worse. Often for worse.

Here are a few tips to make your next coaching experience a success:
  • it goes without saying that the points outlined below need to be agreed and provided by BOTH you and your coach!
  • For easier writing, I have used a female coach in my points below. Please feel free to replace by male attributes.
  1. Commitment:
    You need to be committed to the goals that you have defined together.  So before you get a coach, try to get some clarity on what it is that you want. This will avoid loosing anyone's time. When you're ready to go, make sure you check out your coach through website, testimonials, etc.
  2. Time:
    Being coached takes time. Depending on the goal(s) you set, you need to set aside a certain amount of time that you need to dedicate to work on them. No use in setting up a coaching session every 6 months so that you have time to work on the items.
    Once a month is probably a minimum, sometimes more frequent is necessary to keep momentum going. Usually sessions should be about 1-1,5 hours.
  3. Availability:
    Make sure you are 100% available during set meetings/phonecalls. No multitasking, no rattling on about your dog, your shitty job etc (unless that is part of your goal).
  4. Preparation:
    Prepare! Do the actions that were given to you in the last session. Do them thoroughly. If you have questions along the way, don't hesitate to ask your coach.
  5. Honesty:
    Don't pretend or lie with your coach. Be YOU. If you do, you might as well quit immediately. it is the foundation of your success. A coach cannot guide you if you give her wrong information. If along the way something feels wrong or uncomfortable, say it, immediately. Don't wait for things to grow.
  6. Open mind:
    It is important to be open to questions, criticism, challenges. It may not always be comfortable . Change never is at the beginning. If you have an open mind and can suspend your judgment or disbelief and let the coach guide you, try out some new ideas or steps for you, you will see where this is going after a while.
  7. Partnership:
    A coach is not an enemy. Yes, you pay her to help you. But it is in her interest as well that you succeed and are satisfied with her services.
  8. Change:
    Be ready for change. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Scary is good! And because you're being coached the scary is controlled. The coach is not going to make you do anything you're not prepared to do. But if you want to achieve your goals, you need to change.
    As my coach says 'If you continue to do what you've always done, you get what you always got'. So do something different. Your coach will make sure it turns into achieving your goals.
  9. Advancement:
    If you received some action items during your first session, you should be seeing at least some kind of advancement already. If only in your attitude, your level of excitement. If not, tell her and change whatever needs changing (goal, direction, intensity, number of actions etc).
  10. Investment:
    Coaching is an investment in yourself. Treat it like you treat your investment in your house or car. No, treat it better! Honor your payments. Get what you need in order of importance (foundations, walls, roof, insulation, furniture, paint, decoration etc - i.e. don't start with the decoration...)
  11. Fun!
    Being coached is fun and exciting. If it's not, get a better coach. One that fits your needs.


Lance 19 January 2011 at 14:27  

I'm currently working with a life coach. It has been an absolutely wonderful experience. And that is because of the points you've outlined above, and how we are both focused on that. When that happens, the coaching experience is deeply meaningful.

Tim 19 January 2011 at 14:28  

Hi Mimi:

Some really good tips here...I've never had a coach, but learning that the most successful people have coaches makes me realize I should get one in the very near future. Your tips are a good preparation as I anticipate and plan my next steps. I'd be curious to learn about how coaching has helped/changed you.

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