How does coaching work – is it art or science?

Well, it’s a bit of both really. 

There are aspects of coaching that are indisputable facts of the matter.  For example there is an agreement that we both sign and commit to.

There are also aspects that require the touch of masterful artistry.  For example, being creative, open and flexible in our thinking to achieve what you want.

What happens first

First, the science, but let’s call it the “chemistry” between you, the client and the coach

A really important first step for us is to meet and do a bit of a chemistry check “  (let’s call it the ‘CC’)

Because we will be partnered together to create new outcomes for you, it is really important that you have the opportunity to experience how we combine and work together.  You can make sure it feels and sounds like I am the right person for you to work with and vice versa. Is our ‘chemistry’ right. Do you sense that we are in rapport?

  • I walk you through what coaching is, what it isn’t, what my role is, what your role is and the level of commitment we will both bring to this partnership.
  • I will answer and discuss any questions you have about how coaching works.
  •  I’ll also describe a little of how we might approach different phases of the coaching.

Where: This meeting can be face to face, skype or phone.

Duration: The session can take from 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the number of   questions you have.

Outcome: At the end of this meeting hopefully we will both know if we are a great ‘fit’ and you can make your decision.

There is no charge or obligation for this “chemistry check” session.

Now what happens?

Should we agree to work together, then we would proceed to completing various 1080932-Clipart-Male-And-Female-Students-Working-On-A-Volcano-Science-Experiment-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustrationpreparation questionnaires, and other administrative tasks. This part is more science than art as we cover off scheduling, complete start up checklists and questionnaires and get our coaching agreement signed.

At our first coaching session after the CC we will spend time clarifying what the change is that you are wanting and set some specific goals or outcomes.  You might arrive at this session with clear goals in mind, or you might not be clear at all about what the specific goal is. We will together combine our artistic, insightful and creative minds to the task to clarify what your most desired outcomes are.

From there I will help you develop specific plans and key steps to achieve those outcomes.

Duration: This session will last from 1.25 – 1.5 hours.

Yikes, this is getting serious!

So the beaker is really starting to heat up now…..what happens next?

kaboom

We start – launch, take off, bubble over, get underway, or however you want to think about it. We are now in a powerful working partnership to achieve what you want.

How often are the sessions?

Sessions can be weekly or fortnightly.

Weekly sessions really allow you to gather momentum and create a great pace.

However, for many people, it is not possible to commit to a weekly session schedule.That being the case, fortnightly works just as well.

I encourage clients to set a regular session time to create certainty, pace and continuous progress to the goals. From time to time I realise things might change and we can deal with that but generally I would recommend sessions are agreed and diarised some way out.

Sessions are between 50 minutes and 90 minutes depending on the coaching package you choose. From each session there will be:

  • Specific and agreed actions for you to take to be completed by the next session.  These agreed actions are actions that you have decided to take on or we have created together. I do not tell you want to do; rather, we together discuss and agree what those next steps might be.
  • A review of what has come out of those actions you have taken previously – what is working, what is not, what have you learned and from there, what is the next step or set of actions to take. The review is a rich learning opportunity and full of surprises, lessons and the odd epiphany as well!

How many sessions do I have? Or how do I know when the beaker is boiled?

I strongly recommend that you commit to a minimum of 12 sessions in total.

Why? You might be asking…..

Coaching is about you making permanent and very positive changes. It is exciting, inspiring and challenging. Challenging simply because it is new and it is change. We know how easy it is to start some changes then get ourselves to a point of significant new actions or habits to create but it just feels too hard or hopeless or big. It is at these times that working with a coach will help you move through these challenging periods, rather than talk yourself out of it all.

I have coached hundreds of people in dozens of different kinds of roles, businesses, and stage of life. I know how powerful it is to have that accountability structure in times of change and challenge. By committing to 12 sessions you are committing to ensuring that you give yourself enough time to wire new thinking and create new habits.  I know this also because I do walk the talk and regularly work with my own coach on new goals and ideas– I know how it all feels from the other side too!

What happens at the end of the 12th session?

It is over to you, but this is what you can do.

  • Continue on coaching as normal but on a month by month basis or an agreed number of sessions.
  • Complete our work, go off into the sunset and have a wonderful life, career, business.
  • Take a break for a month, a few months, a year or so then take up more coaching.
  • Move to monthly or 6 weekly sessions
  • Or some other timetable that I have not thought of.

The bottom line is that once you have completed the first 12 sessions, you will have a really good grasp and understanding of how to get the most from a coaching engagement and how you build your own momentum around that. I have a number of clients that I have worked with for many years, some on a regular monthly basis or more often, some choose to have a 4-6 session series on regular basis, some on an as required basis. And of course there are those clients that embrace fully the first 12 sessions and that is our work done.

Things to remember is that at the completion of our work you will have a number of self coaching tools to constantly check for yourself how you are going against how you really, really want to be. These tools can set you up well for the future and also help you see if /when you would benefit from any more coaching. Let’s face it, we are all an ongoing work in progress as we get older, learn, grow and change how we think, value and approach things.

If you feel that you prefer to have fewer than 12 sessions and would like to discuss this then please contact me so that we can talk that through.

I also offer shorter series of 4-6 sessions that focus just on your Values, Strengths and Beliefs. Please contact me if this is of interest to you.

When the elements have to change….

What if I have to cancel or change session time?

The session time is kept specifically for you. Cancellations or rescheduling at late notice create problems for me and also do not honour your own commitment to the process – which of course is all about you. I ask for a minimum of 36 hours notice to reschedule. Should you reschedule within that time frame, then depending on your situation a forfeiture fee could apply.

Naturally if you are too ill or there is a serious crisis then I would not be applying that fee. Asking to reschedule simply because you have not done the agreed tasks is not reasonable grounds to reschedule, rather a very rich opportunity to explore the situation with you.

Where sessions are booked out some time in advance and there is an unavoidable disruption to your diary then we can together decide how best to manage that and work with and around that disruption to the schedule. E.g. holidays away etc

If this is sounding like a rigorous process then that is because it is.  This is all about you making the changes you have decided you want. You are centre stage. I am running alongside you invisibly but very much there to support your work. We know that human beings don’t ‘do’ change very easily; it’s just not how our brains like to work. So to help you create new thinking leading to you  taking different actions, creating new habits, as your coach my job is to hold you to account to what you want to do and be – firmly, positively and supportively thus allowing you to create permanent and positive changes.

Remember, this is important work for you. Also remember just because something is important doesn’t mean we have to be serious all the time.  Lightness and playfulness is not just fun to be in, but also helps us think clearer. I promise you, we will have fun and lightness.

What people should look for in a great coach for you….

  • Good chemistry between you and the coach
  • Solid qualifications as a coach
  • A coach who listens deeply and questions powerfully with curiosity and without judgement.
  • Someone who walks their talk and is prepared to share some of their own story if you want.
  • Someone who has the courage to instigate challenging conversations and the skill to entice you into it with curiosity.
  • A solid track record with clients

 

Gai Foskett is one of two Master Certified Coaches in New Zealand. Gai specialises in executive leadership coaching.
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