Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

So you’ve decided that if it’s good enough for Roger Federer, then it’s good enough for you, right? In fact, if Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman and Ash Barty have one… surely it must be a good idea? You’ve realised that if you’re serious about growing and improving, really maximising your personal and professional potential, then perhaps you need one too. But if you’re going to invest time and money in your future by hiring a personal coach, then you want that investment to pay off. Here are five ways you can make sure it does.

1. Take the time to find the right coach

A good coach is not a guru, a mentor, a trainer or a therapist (although the process can be quite therapeutic). And a good coach is definitely not your mother. Finding the right coach is absolutely critical, so take the time to find the right one. You don’t have the liberty of choosing your workmates, your customers or your family, but in this particular partnership you can choose who champions you!

Get recommendations from colleagues, your manager and friends, do your research online, make sure the coach is qualified and ask for testimonials from previous clients. A good coach will expect this and be prepared to help you make right choice. Ask plenty of questions and make sure it feels absolutely right before you commit. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to say so and try someone else!

2. Commit to the process

The coaching process can be incredibly transformational, but the way in which your approach your sessions will determine what you get out of them. Disconnect from everything else for the time that you’re with your coach – be 100% present. Be willing to engage, be challenged, work hard and face down your obstacles and fears. Be prepared for meaningful conversation.

Park your ego and go into the process with a growth mindset. Inevitably, your coach will ask you some challenging questions and make some suggestions that are outside your comfort zone. Be prepared to develop new behaviours and be prepared for change. As Albert Einstein so eloquently put it, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  

3. Come prepared

A little preparation can make your limited face-to-face coaching time more efficient and effective. Think really hard about why you want a coach – put pen to paper and make a list of:

  • what you hope to learn
  • what your major concerns are
  • what your big challenge is
  • what your goals are (have a key focus and try to define your measure of success)
  • any questions you have for your coach
  • what you’d like to celebrate achieving

If you come to your coaching sessions prepared, your coaching time will be spent in productive discussion rather than sorting through objectives. For a small moment in time, you have the biggest ally of your life working with and for you – make that time count.

4. Be open and honest

The relationship you have with your coach is a key determinant in the success of your coaching experience. You must trust your coach implicitly and feel a strong connection if you’re going to be open and honest, and be comfortable letting your guard down. If you’re not open with your coach, you’re limiting the potential of the whole process. The quality of your sessions really does depend on the information you provide, so it naturally follows that the more honest your responses, the more meaningful the results will be.

Remember – your coach is there to help you, not judge you, and the information you divulge is 100% confidential.

5. Do your homework

Coaching isn’t just about what happens during the sessions, it’s also about what happens between the sessions. This one is up to you. It’s likely your coach will ask you to take some action after a session – whether that be reflecting on the session, exploring some ideas or experimenting a little. Take the actions you agreed on, or try to understand what challenges prevented you from doing so. There’s no shame in it.

Your coach has one focal point, and that’s your growth. Your coach provides clarity and focus on your goals, and helps you develop the path to achieving those goals. But in the end, you’re the one that needs to walk that path to get there.

It’s pretty simple – the more you put into the coaching experience, the more you’ll get out of it. But there’s no doubt that with the right coach, real commitment and honesty, a bit of preparation and the right mindset, your coaching investment can pay life-changing dividends. And isn’t that why you’re there?

If you’d like to learn lifelong skills in value-setting, resilience and taking action to achieve your goals, If you’d like to have a conversation about how we could work together to maximise your potential so you can live the life you want to live, simply get in touch and we’ll organise a time to chat.

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I’m an experienced career coach and mentor here to help you improve your mindset, motivation and momentum. I believe everyone has the power to change their lives. It starts with taking responsibility.