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  • Writer's pictureNicole Provonchee

The Most Popular Coaching Question: How Does Coaching Work?

"So ... how does coaching with you actually work?"

I get this question a lot. It is a great question. And, of course, the answer is: "It depends."

It depends on the goals, needs, style and location of the person being coached. (And, it depends a lot on the coach. Working with me can be very different from working with someone with a different style). But, those answers are far from helpful.

So, with the understanding that each coaching engagement is different and customized to client, I have outlined my typical coaching approach below:

1. Before We Get Started: Pre-Meeting Questionnaire

Before our first call, I will send you a short questionnaire. The form asks a few simple, yet important, questions about your goals and how you will define success with coaching. This document serves as the fuel for the next step – An Initial Conversation.

2. Let's Talk All About Your Goals: An Initial Conversation

When you are working with a coach, you need to feel that you can trust this person with your goals, victories and struggles. During this conversation, I share my process and answer any questions you have about coaching. We also review our roles and responsibilities and talk about how you feel you would work best with a coach (longer less frequent meetings, shorter more frequent meetings, etc).

We will talk about confidentiality (a coaching requirement) and your preferred approach to accountability. And, of course, we review the Pre-Meeting Questionnaire to ensure we are on the same page about your goals and your definition of success. The goal here is to start a relationship and make sure you are comfortable with how coaching works.

One note about this step, I will also review one of the popular misconceptions in coaching: I am not here to provide all the answers. Why? Because you already have most of the answers, you just need someone to help you pause, and see things different or get you out of your own way. (That said, I will never leave you hanging. If I have key experiences, learnings and insights to share, I will.)

3. The Key Details: The Coaching Agreement Based on what we discuss in our Initial Conversation, I update the Coaching Agreement to outline how we will work together: how often we meet, length of each meeting, assessments, availability via phone/email/text, pricing and billing arrangements, and roles/responsibilities. You review, ask questions, make edits and we both then sign. Now we can get started with the exciting work of coaching!

4. Learning About You: Assessments

In most cases, we kick off our coaching with an assessment. Depending on the tool, assessments can be incredibly impactful in coaching because they can quickly provide insight into the drivers of behaviors, your reactions to stress, your preferences when working with others, communication style, and much more.

Which assessments do I use? Some companies require the use of certain assessments and sometimes I will recommend an assessment. In many cases we start with a Verbal 360 Review. A Verbal 360 Review is a powerful tool that enables me to gain feedback from your peers, direct reports, customers/clients, and boss(es).

5. Jump In & Go: Coaching Begins

For coaching to be successful, we need to know what problems we are trying to solve and where we ultimately want to go. So, our first step in coaching is to set clear, measurable goals and determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We will revisit the goals and KPIs with great frequency to ensure we moving closer to your defined success point. Through out the coaching engagement, activities will include:

  • Review Assessment(s): We will take time to dive into the assessment(s) and learn from the results. Based on the results, you typically pick one behavior you want to work on that will have an impactful positive result on your work and life. When you master that behavior, we might move on to another one.

  • Leadership Dashboard: This one-page dashboard lists all of the key information you need as a leader in one place. It serves as our North Star in coaching. We revisit it often.

  • Actual Coaching: This makes up the bulk of our time. We will discuss the issues that are most pressing for you and I try to help you tap into your inner wisdom. You talk. I nudge and push you further – yet never leave you unsupported. My style is to provide insights based on my experience and training when helpful.

  • Skill Building: Coaching often requires you to stop behaviors that are no longer serving you and learn new skills that will help you meet your goals. Often, this requires you to lean into a new skill after coaching. You may be asked practice a new behavior, keep a log, or read an article or book.

6. Check-In Frequently: Goal and KPI Review Throughout coaching, we will check in on your progress to your goals and KPIs. Again, coaching is meant to drive you toward a specific end point, and your goal/KPI review ensures that we adjust course early - before getting too far from your desired destination. This is also where we check in on the value you should be receiving from coaching - coaching should be driving a real ROI for you and the organization.

7. Keep It Going: Growth, Celebration and Adjustment When progress is made, I will ask you to celebrate YOUR success! Coaching can be hard work, and most overachievers do not take time to celebrate the milestones along the journey. And, we will learn a lot along the way. Sometimes what you learn will cause you to make an adjustment to your path, goals and/or KPIs.

8. You Made It!: Attainment/Value Demonstrated

Of course, the most desired end state for coaching is goal attainment with clear demonstration of the value of the coaching. This could translate into a host of results: re-engagement in work and life, improved personal and team productivity, successful launch of a new product line, promotion/new role, greater work/life balance and more.

How long does coaching take? Typically, I like to work with my clients for 6 months or longer. Why? Because sustainable, impactful change takes time. Old habits and ways of being in the world that no longer serve us must be dropped. New habits must be established and new skills must be learned. Coaching is an investment that should pay enormous dividends - both professional and personally.

Ready to get started? Drop me an email and let's schedule a chat!

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