Over my years of coaching, I notice the same questions cropping up – “what if coaching doesn’t work?”. Understandably, it’s important for my clients and prospective clients to know that the coaching process works. But sometimes, coaching doesn’t work, so what can you do to guard against that or, if you realise your current coaching isn’t working what can you do to fix it?
I’ve had some great coaching and I’ve also had an encounter that really didn’t pan out as I expected. When that happened I was pretty upset and confused. I took some time to regroup, to recover and then eventually was able to see what I could learn from it. So if this looks familiar to you, or you’ve had a bad coaching experience in the past, there’s no cause for alarm! We can spend some time resetting your relationship with coaching to get you back on track.
- The Wrong Type Of Coach
There’s lots of different types of coaching. Executive coaching, mindset coaching, life coaching, business coaching, sales coaches, sports coaching. The thing is you need to consider WHAT you want the coaching for. WHY you think you need it and WHERE you want it take you. This will narrow things down for you.
When you’ve figured that out, you can begin to investigate different coaches. Now, there are some coaches who simply teach and guide you their model – what worked for them. There are other coaches who look at you, your business, your struggles, your goals and help you figure out what will work for you (that’s me)!
You might need to work with one coach for a period of time and then move on to a different coach. If someone recommended a coach to you, make sure it’s going to meets your needs.
- No Rapport Between Client And Coach
The client/coach relationship is crucial. If you don’t click with your coach it’s likely to affect your working relationship. Chemistry makes all the difference: you have to respect each other and the way you operate. Some clients thrive on a gentle, nurturing approach, whereas others prefer direct straight talking. Then there’s a balance of all sorts in between (I’d say I’m honest and straightforward with support and kindness thrown in).
In order to ensure there is rapport and the possibility of a good working relationship, it’s always a good idea to meet or talk with your executive coach before you jump in.
- A Lack Of Trust
You’ve got to be able to trust your coach. You’re going to be talking about your feelings and your struggles. Whilst it won’t all be focussing on the negatives, you’ll get the best from coaching when you’re honest and possibly a bit vulnerable, so you need to feel safe doing that and trust that your coach can help you.
If you’re part of a coaching programme through your organisation, make sure you know the terms: by checking the confidentiality terms you can feel safe to disclose all your thoughts, issues and feelings.
I usually work independently with executives and entrepreneurs, and we do sign a working agreement which sets out confidentiality clearly and professionally.
- Boundaries And Expectations Are Not Clear
Clear boundaries are important in the coaching relationship (in any relationship). Ensuring that your coach will set out what they expect, when you can contact them, how you can do this and ensuring they’ll do what they say they’ll do. Clear boundaries help you to feel safe so that you know what’s OK and what’s not in the coaching relationship.
Setting expectation throughout the working relationship always helps too. I always try to get all the sessions planned out in the diary as far as possible so everyone knows what’s happening and when. There is flexibility to change them, but there’s a cancellation policy too.
You also need to get clear on your goals and what you can expect to work on. It’s hard to make changes if you don’t know what you want to change, or what that outcome will look like. That’s why I spend some time digging into what your goals really are (they might not be what you first expect!) and then working with these over time. For more about what happens in executive coaching, check out this post.
- Coaching Gets Stuck In The Past
Coaching is about moving you forward from where you are now, to where you want to be. It’s important not to get stuck in the past and going over old situations or dwelling on what you ‘should’ have done. Coaching is about making change, going after what you want, and being happy with your life. That only comes through vision (looking to the future) and action (doing things differently in the present),
Unlike some other executive coaches, I’m not solely future-focussed. I know that patterns and belief systems from our past affect our present and future. So it’s not as simple as the first coaching session being about where you are now and working forward from there. Sometimes we need to go back and work on getting you some strong foundations so you can go forward stronger and stay successful in that progress.
- When There’s No Legacy To The Coaching Work
Whether you’re with a coach for an hour, a day or three months, it’s really important that you can maintain the good progress you’ve made. There’s no point investing in coaching then letting old habits and patterns slip back in. So it’s worth spending time working with your coach to identify how to apply the changes to your life for good. With my experience in psychology and neuroscience I can help you ensure your coaching investment pays off for the long haul. The changes I help clients make mean they are easily incorporated without having a ton of extra duties on their to-do list! That makes sure that coaching does work.
I hope this has helped you see how many executive coaching pitfalls are easily avoided! And the number one thing to do is choose the right coach for you. Take the time to speak to coaches before you work with them – you may want to use these points as guide to see how they respond!
If you’re interested in executive coaching I’d love to speak to you and find out if we’re a good fit (though you’ve already got a headstart on my answers to these particular points!). Book a call to get the ball rolling.