How to Get the Most Out of Working With a Coach

Working with a coach is one of the ways to create a “better” life for yourself. I write “better” because  your definition of better is not necessarily my definition, or your neighbours definition. Do you want to enjoy living abroad more? Would you like to get a new job or change careers? Need more love in your life, more money, or more fun?

A coach may be able to support you in achieving that. A coach will ask powerful questions, identify barriers, and work with you to move forward towards your goals.

But how do you get the most out of working with the coach you selected? These are my tips from my own experience as a coachee and from looking at what worked for my clients and friends. 

1. Take responsibility for your results

Sometimes people expect that a coach will solve their problems for them. They sit down, cross their arms and lean back, waiting for the coach to tell them what to do.

Unfortunately, that is not the way it works.

Coaches do not have magic wands.

Coaches do not live your life for you. Coaches do not enter into difficult conversations with your boss or your spouse on your behalf, they cannot sign you up for a course or make the time to study on your behalf.

You need to take responsibility for the change you want and do the work. And no, that is not always easy. It will take time, action, (potential) failure, new tries, different steps.

Your coach will use his/her knowledge and tools to make sure you identify the changes you want, will keep you accountable, help you to let go of limiting beliefs and cheer you on. But they can’t make the change for you. They know you can make the change.  

2. Be willing to get uncomfortable

Although you choose a coach based on positive connection and trust, coaching is not always comfortable. A coach will also challenge you to take actions that take you out of your comfort zone, and make you realise where you are holding yourself back. Yikes!

Change is uncomfortable by nature. You will have doubts and your inner saboteurs will definitely raise their voices (which is actually a good sign). If you have the feeling you do not want to continue with your coach honestly ask yourself the question- is it the coach and the methods they use or is it my resistance to change?

If you are willing to be uncomfortable, to step out of your comfort zone and explore what else is possible for you, you will get the best results.

3. Do your homework

In coaching it is sometimes said that the “real work” happens between sessions. When you think back of your session, discuss with friends, take the actions you said you’d take. So commit to making time for working on the issues and actions that come up during the session.

And sometimes, the action is just about being, and not doing much, just sit and reflect or explore what are the characteristics of who you want to be in life, and feel those. 

Write a summary for yourself after each session, take time daily (even if it is just 5 minutes) or weekly to work on assignments. To deepen your learning you can also read books, watch videos or listen to podcasts on the topics that come up in the sessions with your coach. It is about feeding your brain with new insights. Of course, you will also get a lot out of the sessions, but if you take some time in between sessions, you will gain more.

4. Prepare your sessions with your coach

Around 2 days before your session, take a few minutes to consider what you want to discuss in the next session. It may follow from the previous session, or perhaps an important event or insight happened in between sessions that you want to work on. Your coach may provide you with a short list of preparation questions if needed. Do you have really no idea what to talk about? Discuss that with your coach, maybe it is time for the coaching sessions to conclude, at least for the time being. Or maybe it is inner resistance to change?

5. Be kind with yourself

We are our own biggest critics. All the things we tell ourselves, what we should do and must do and have to do, and beating ourselves up when we do not do it, do not do it fast enough, or good enough.

You will get better results from coaching if you are kinder with yourself (maybe this should even be the number 1 tip). Do not confuse being kinder with making excuses, or letting yourself off the hook from doing the hard work. Being kinder is about giving it your best shot, but then not beating yourself up if it doesn’t immediately work. Take on a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset and you will achieve more.

Thanks for reading my tips on working with a coach.

Have you been working with a coach before? What is your biggest tip for coachees?

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