By: Mahaley Patel, LMFT, Clinical Director
If it is your first time in coaching or you are a little rusty, it can be hard to know how to get the most out of the experience. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your coaching experience.
1. Be specific:
What do you want to focus on? The answer to this question will determine the type of coach you should seek out to work with. If you have a specific focus or are in a specific phase in your life, this can help determine who might be a good fit. Finding a coach that works with the specific skills and experience that you're looking for will be key. Take time to explore what you need most out of this coaching relationship to optimize the time invested and find a coach from the start who is the right fit.
2. Make a list of goals:
While you are thinking about what you want to focus on, give some thought to your goals for coaching. Many coaches will ask you what your goals are, but if they do not, be open to sharing them. Goal setting is a good way to track progress and help your coach know what you are hoping to gain throughout your coaching journey. I personally love to reassess goals with my clients every few months and revisit old goals to make sure we met them or assess if there is more work to be done.
3. Find the right coach:
I say this to every client during our intake – finding the right coach and establishing a positive coaching relationship is the number one key to success out of your time together. You might not always know after the first session, especially because intakes can look different than a traditional session. Give it a few sessions and if you are still not feeling like it is a good fit, try someone else. Do not give up. Coaching can feel like dating at times – sometimes you must go through a couple of options before you find someone you connect with. This is a normal part of the process and even though it can feel discouraging, do not give up. Remember to advocate for yourself and your needs.
4. Put in the time:
I think sometimes clients have unrealistic expectations for coaching. They come in and expect to make radical changes in 1-2 sessions. This is often unrealistic. The best results come when clients do regular sessions, at least for the first few sessions, and have some consistency with their coaching relationship. Coming in regularly, at least at first, also gives clients and coaches a better chance at establishing rapport and building a relationship. I generally recommend coming in every week for the first 4-6 sessions and then spacing it out from there, depending on how a client is feeling.
5. Be honest:
If you aren’t honest with yourself, or with your coach, how can they help you? It may feel weird and uncomfortable. A lot of clients fear judgement for what they say or how they feel. But rest assured this is the place where you can be completely honest. And it’s to your benefit to not hold back. It allows for connection, vulnerability, and for your coach to help you better understand your needs and better understand yourself.
6. Do the work outside of the sessions:
Coaching is not limited to one-hour sessions per week. Clients will see the best results when they start to make changes outside of the session. This can be journaling, mindfulness exercises, meditation, exercise, finding community, etc. The important thing is to incorporate the things discussed in your coaching sessions throughout the week, not just in session.
7. Trust the process:
Change does not happen overnight. Patience and consistency is key. Coaching is not always linear, and it is normal to have setbacks. It is important to look at your progress overall and not just session to session.
If you have sought out coaching services in the past or are currently considering coaching for the first time, congratulations! It can be hard to prioritize working on yourself and committing the time, energy, and resources required, but the benefits are life changing. You won't regret it!
If you find yourself in need of coaching, don't hesitate to reach out to us and schedule a session. Our dedicated team at Empty Nest Counseling is here to help you navigate life's challenges and transitions with care and compassion. Whether you're experiencing difficulties related to the milestones of becoming an Empty Nester or new grandparent or finding balance in how you relate to your adult children, our coaches are ready to support you. We offer both in-person and virtual coaching sessions. Schedule a coaching intake session with us today and take the first step towards a healthier you. Remember, you don't have to face it alone – we're here for you.