In my last post in this series, I focused on the importance of the coach’s Education and Credentials. Let’s now explore the Coach’s Approach. We’ll first explore the Philosophical and Personal Style components, and the next post will focus on the Logistical components of the coach’s approach.
The Coach’s Approach
Take time to understand the coach’s approach to the engagement. There is no right way to structure the coaching engagement. Most experienced coaches try several approaches and then settle into one that works best for them and their clients. There are important philosophical and personal style components, as well as logistical components to consider.
Let’s start with the Philosophical and Personal Style Components
What fundamental beliefs does the coach hold about personal and professional growth and change? How do they approach the challenge of inherent obstacles to change? Many coaches provide tools and techniques, but real growth comes from supplementing these with an approach that uncovers deeply held narratives and scripts that can get in the way of growth. This developmental coaching approach helps the client build awareness of “how I want to be” and “what is required of me to get there”.
What practices does the coach utilize for their own growth? Ask about their own journey and how coaching helped them, and how it didn’t. Not every coaching engagement is successful. What makes them an effective coach? Since coaching is based on good inquiry skills (versus advice skills), how do they utilize inquiry in their coaching? How do they challenge clients when it is needed?
Ask for examples of clients who were successful with the coaching engagement, and some that were not. How does their personal style feel to you? Will you be comfortable sharing personal thoughts, details, frustrations, and vulnerabilities? Do they feel like a partner, a thinking partner, for you?
Lastly, does the coach work within a specific niche? What made them select this niche? Is there some passion behind their selection? Some expertise? If you don’t fit their stated niche, ask them how they will approach working with you. What are the transferrable coaching skills beyond the niche?
It takes courage to commit to coaching. It’s worth it to take your time to understand the coach’s approach. It will help you make a better decision.
Have you had a successful coaching experience? What made it successful? How about an experience that wasn’t so successful? What happened?