When you’re asked to work with a coach

Two young business womenIn the dark beginnings of organizational coaching, coaches were often brought in to work with leaders who were poor performers. It’s rare for companies to expend resources in that way now.

Today, executive coaches work with good to great performers where there is a decent chance that the coaching engagement will yield successful outcomes.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s not unusual someone who is asked to work with a coach to assume the worst. That person can come into an initial conversation with their coach suspecting that they have fallen out of favor.

A lot could be said about how this concern could have been mitigated by the individual(s) presenting them with the option. Yet it’s unlikely the organization would pay for the executive coaches’ services if they didn’t believe that person was worth it.

So when you’re asked to work with a coach, enter into the engagement with an open mind. Don’t let your suspicions shut you down. Stay open to finding your hidden potential and do the work with your coach as your guide. If you want to reach your coaching goals, start here:

Be honest with your coach. The coach should be able to articulate the limits of confidentiality in the engagement. They’ll let you know that anything you discuss will not be repeated outside of your meetings without your explicit permission. When you’re honest, your coach will be able to do their best job of guiding you to reach your goals.

Be active in your development. This means that the coach can’t do the work for you. You have to do the heaving lifting of closing the gap between where you are right now and any future goals you have. The meetings between you and your coach are a small part of what actually gets you there. You will have work to do between each meeting which will move you forward – commit wholeheartedly to it.

Be courageous and take some personal risks with your fieldwork. This might mean that you have to do some things you never thought you could or would do. Courage requires you to let go of the persona you’ve created for yourself in order to show up more authentically to help you to be more of the leader you can be.

Be present to yourself and others. When you’re present, you’ll learn to better self-observe your thoughts and actions as well as other’s reactions as you show up differently. Those actions and reactions can become a barometer to help you to modify your actions to be most effective.

Put aside your negative assumptions about why you’ve been asked to work with a coach. This is an opportunity to learn and grow, and when you’re open to that, you’ll achieve or exceed your potential!

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.