BSC Tips & Techniques
Growth Through Coaching
Becky S. Corbett, MSW, ACSW & Emily Tevault, MBA
Coaching provides you with the opportunity to look within to discover where you are and where you want to go in your personal and professional growth journey. A coach walks alongside of you and asks questions that bring awareness and clarity of your opportunities while offering accountability to identifying and achieving your goals. Coaching allows you to connect your potential with your performance and move your ideas to action. Below are tips and techniques to support you in selecting a coach and obtaining the most value from coaching.
Why have a coach?
Coaching is about change and change is needed to grow. Coaching provides you the opportunity to be intentional about your growth. A coach will hold you accountable in a supportive environment to increase your rate of success. A coach will stretch and challenge you to get you where you want to be faster than if you do it on your own.
Am I ready for a coach?
Before you contract with a coach, ask yourself “Am I ready to commit to the coaching experience? Am I prepared for the financial and time commitments of coaching? Will I devote the time to attend sessions and do the work between sessions to achieve my goals?” Take a few minutes to reflect and write down your why—I want to work with a coach because… A successful outcome that would result from working with a coach is…
How do I choose a coach?
When selecting a coach, you want to find the right fit so that you can be open and honest to gain the most from each session. Determine compatibility by having a discussion with the coach prior to signing a contract to understand her/his philosophy and values. For example, at BSC we use a strengths-based coaching framework and approach coaching sessions from a positive stance. Ask the coach if s/he has been a recipient of coaching services and what were the benefits? A coach also needs to have the proper credential, certification and/or background in the mental health field. Colleges and Universities have certification programs and organizations such as the International Coaching Federation or The John Maxwell Team are resources to help educate you about coaching qualifications. Coaches need to carry professional indemnity insurance and clearly communicate a code of conduct, including confidentiality of information discussed in sessions and disclosing that you are a client.
What is my role in coaching?
You are responsible for identifying what you want to accomplish, the direction of the conversation, and informing your coach how s/he can hold you accountable between sessions. Come into each session with an open mind, be ready to be stretched and communicate fully and honestly with your coach.
What is my coach’s role in coaching?
A coach is completely focused on your goals and believes in you and your success. S/he will establish rapport and support you in a non-judgmental way in reaching your goals. Your coach will not come to the session with an agenda because you are the driver of the session. S/he will help you identify and move past your self-limiting beliefs. A coach will challenge and stretch you with thoughtful questions and hold you accountable for your goals and commitments.
Is coaching—mentoring or mental health therapy?
Coaches believe the answers lie within the individual and use a method of asking questions so that the solution comes from the client. Mentors share information with others based on their experiences and expertise. Coaches will sometimes act as a mentor and the protocol is that they inform the client before doing so. Although coaching is not mental health therapy, you may experience emotions as you go through the coaching process. If the coach believes the scope of the session goes outside the boundaries of coaching, s/he needs to communicate with you and recommend other professionals as appropriate.
What commitment is required of coaching?
Your level of commitment drives your results and outcomes will vary depending on how long you work with a coach and what actions you take between sessions. Coaching sessions typically range from 60-90 minutes in length and are 1-4 weeks apart to allow time for you to work on what you discuss. To jump start your growth and to build in accountability, commit to a minimum of 3 coaching sessions. Intentional growth is a long-term commitment and you need time to develop an awareness and take action toward your goals.
How do I prepare for a session?
In order to maximize your session, schedule time to complete your assignments prior to your session. Ask yourself “What do I want to discuss and achieve during this session?” Reflect on your actions taken since your last conversation and any challenges you encountered. Have a journal or notepad available to take notes during the session and write down your reflections after the session. Make sure you are on time, invested throughout the session, and expect to end on time to value you and your coach’s time. If you need to reschedule, provide notification in advance and be familiar with your coach’s cancellation and rescheduling policy.
What is the optimal environment for a session?
Your surroundings need to be conducive for you to be fully present. Your environment needs to be quiet, safe and free from distractions. Confirm with the coach if sessions will be conducted in-person, on the telephone or using secure video conferencing over the Internet. If you are having your session on the telephone, do not participate in the session while driving your car. Yes, we have experienced this and now include it in our expectations for clients. It is not safe and you are not able to give your complete attention to the conversation. If your session will be conducted using secure video conferencing, test the software and Internet connection prior to the session.
Committing to coaching allows you to achieve long-lasting change to support your intentional growth and goals. How has coaching supported your personal and profession growth? Share your thoughts and experiences, join the conversation below.
Resources To Find or Become A Coach Co-Active Coaching http://www.coactive.com/ International Coach Federation https://coachfederation.org/ The John Maxwell Team: http://johnmaxwellteam.com/john-c-maxwell-certification-program/
“Coaching makes the unconscious, conscious and takes someone from where they are to where they want to go.”
Christian Simpson, Coach & Mentor