So, you’ve decided to hire a business coach. What can you do to make sure that you get the most out of business coaching? These 11 tips will help you do what over 90% of coaching clients fail to do: make the absolute most of your investment, in both money and time.
1. Be prepared
If you really want to get the most out of your coaching experience, you need to commit to giving the coaching process your all. Don’t be scrambling at the last minute before each coaching session. At least a day in advance, set aside time to think about topics you want to revisit or cover.
2. Clear your calendar
Leave as much time as possible around your coaching appointments. Also, make sure you give yourself time to:
- Evaluate the last session
- Implement suggested changes or strategies
- Prepare for your next session
Stop working at least 20 minutes before your coaching session begins. Get something to drink and make yourself comfortable, so that you are not rushed and out of breath when it’s time for your session to start.
3. Start taking notes early
Get in the habit of keeping a notebook or using a mobile app to take notes before and between sessions.
- Jot down questions to ask your coach as they occur to you
- Refer to your notes when planning your agenda (see tip #5)
- Include what you have actually achieved since your previous session
- Make note of what you had problems with and what type of problems
4. Get organized
Set up a coaching folder, either paper or digital. Categorize your folder into sub-folders:
- Session notes
- Action items
- Recordings (if applicable)
- Recommended resources
- Anything else that would help you stay organized
5. Create an agenda
Your coach will have likely have questions to ask you, but to make sure that you get the most out of your coaching experience, create your own list of:
- What you need help with
- Questions you want to ask
Then, prioritize your list based on the topic for the individual session. Highlight your top priorities, so that the rest can be tabled to another session, if you run out of time.
6. Identify your big-picture coaching goal
You will achieve far more if you identify your most important goal before you begin coaching. Focus on the big picture, but also be both specific and realistic. Coming up with answers like “I want to make more money” is not a goal – it’s a wish.
A measurable, quantifiable goal might look like this:
In four sessions, I want to create a detailed marketing plan that covers content marketing, e-mail marketing, and social media, with action items for the next 90 days.
7. Establish mini-goals for each session
You have a limited budget for coaching. After you’ve identified your main goal, break that down into smaller goals for each session.
Dealing with mini-goals for each session can often laser-focus your thinking. Knowing ahead of time what you want to accomplish in each session will keep you from wasting time trying to cover the same issue in multiple sessions.
8. Prevent interruptions
Figure out what you need to do to avoid being interrupted during your coaching session. Do you need to hire a babysitter? Put the dog out outside? Shut your office door?
And whatever else you do, turn off your phone and log out of email and social networking sites. You don’t want notifications popping up or sounding off during your session.
9. Use a checklist to prepare and take notes
If your coach doesn’t provide a checklist template, be proactive and make one yourself (or download the one below). Print it out as part of your pre-session preparation.
Questions you might include in your checklist:
- How do I feel after last week’s session?
- How do I feel now?
- Did I accomplish my goals from the last session?
- If not, what got in the way?
- What issues or plans do I want to include in my next session?
A checklist will help you be more prepared so that you get the most out of your coaching session.
10. Don’t expect your coach to do everything for you
This is the very opposite of what coaching is about! The reason you hired a coach is so that you can venture out of your comfort zone with the aid of someone who has walked in your shoes and knows what you need to do. But you have to do the work.
11. Follow through
This is the most important step. Not following through and taking the recommended suggestions is just throwing money away.
If you find it difficult to get started, contact your coach right away. There may be something she can help you with. For example, maybe something you talked about isn’t 100% clear to you or maybe analysis paralysis is coming into play.
If you commit to taking action and then you do the work, you will reap the reward.
Investing in coaching at the right time can be the wisest business move you could ever make. Make sure that you get the most out of business coaching by going all in. Be prepared and do the work.
Have you ever been coached? What would you add to this list?