Top tips for the coachee: How to get the most out of coaching

Coaching can be one of the most powerful tools for helping individuals to unlock their latent potential, and to deliver change within their own behaviour and across their business. It helps give clarity on what drives us to make decisions, and can unlock new insights that can make us more effective leaders.

So, what should people be doing to get the most out of coaching sessions? How should they be preparing themselves, and what attitudes will help them to get the best results from their efforts? These are questions that we often face when speaking to those who are just embarking on a new coaching programme.

With that in mind, here are some of our top tips to help all coachees get the most from their time in coaching from highly experienced coach Jan Brause, a Primeast Senior Consultant in the UK:

How to get the most from your coaching

Understanding the importance of personal buy-in is arguably the first step in maximising the potential gains of any coaching experience, but there are many other aspects of coachee behaviour that should be considered.

  1. Consider what you want from your coach – Have a preliminary meeting to discuss the whole process of working together. Think about the type of coach that will work best for you. What sort of experience do they need? Do you want to be challenged? What approach and style will work best? What models and frameworks in coaching will work best for you? Focus on chemistry at this early point to ensure the foundations of a positive relationship moving forward.
  2. Get support from your boss – Ensure you’ve had an in-depth conversation with your boss about the goals for your coaching. What are the wider business aims that you hope coaching will support you to deliver? How much time will be dedicated to preparation and implementing the changes delivered through coaching? What support can be given to make sure coaching sessions have the best possible results? These are all important questions to ask before starting any coaching programme.
  3. Set up a three-way contracting meeting – Arrange a contracting session to bring together yourself, your coach and your boss. This can be a great way to outline the personal and business aims of a coaching programme, ensuring that all parties have a clear understanding of how investment in this type of individual support will benefit everyone. Here, we can look at the bigger picture to bring alignment to all aspects of the programme.
  4. Undertake specific preparation around each session – Think about what you’ll be bringing to each of the coaching sessions. In essence, the coach provides the process, but the coachee needs to bring the content. This means you should think about the topics you’d like to explore, how you will approach each aspect of the programme and where you foresee the biggest challenges to arise.
  5. Be prepared to both give and receive feedback – Be prepared to be both challenged and supported throughout the coaching programme and understand how the feedback you provide will influence the direction of the sessions going forward. Always be aware that coaching is a two-way conversation. It takes effort from both sides to coax out the insights into our actions that will ultimately lead to changes in the future.
  6. Consider your best way to learn – Different forms of coaching can be tailored to meet the needs of the individual, so it’s important the overall process is delivered in a way that provides the best results for the coachee. This means understanding whether you are better at self-learning and appraisal or if you need others to point out your blind spots. What will be the best process to unlock new insights for you? How much feedback (both positive and developmental) are you happy to receive? Where should your focus lie in understanding the best use of your time with a coach?
  7. Be prepared to reflect on your progress – Always be aware that coaching will not deliver change and insights overnight. It is up to the individual to put in the time and effort required to think about the way they have approached their career and challenges in the past, with the need to go away and digest what they uncover in these sessions before answers to new ways of working can be achieved.
  8. Understand your emotions – Emotions can often get triggered throughout the coaching process, so coachees should have a strong emotional awareness. Understand that this needn’t be a negative aspect of coaching, but can be a powerful guide to where future focus should lie.

Overall, coaching can be described as a conversation with a purpose. In its simplest form, coaching is a means to get to the heart of why we make the decisions that we do and challenging our thought processes surrounding decision-making to facilitate change. It is about being open and honest with ourselves to make positive changes in the way we work.

Coaching truly can be a life-changing experience for many and it can come in different forms, but ultimately, individuals will only get as much out of their coaching programme as they are prepared to put in. It means that the onus will always be on the coachee to make those leaps in understanding and self-discovery, with the coach there to facilitate this process.

You can find out more about the varied approaches to coaching and the growing scope of coaching around the world by reading our recent article ‘Coaching: Has it come of age?

  • Jan Brause, Senior Consultant at Primeast