by Ndidi Yaucher, DLCC Coach
I have had the opportunity to experience both sides of a coaching relationship, as a client and as a coach. Based on my experiences, how I define successful coaching is a little different depending on what side of the fence I sit on.
From a client’s perspective, I made the decision to find a coach because I was looking to accomplish some big audacious goals and also needed support to handling work and life balance. Others seek coaching for many different reasons. Their goals could be in any area of life: career, health, finances, relationships, business, etc. As a client, success in coaching was finding balance and gaining better clarity with my business goals and path. At the end, I met my goals because of the following reasons.
- A new sense of self awareness: The best gift that I received from coaching was a better sense of self awareness. I walked away from the coaching relationship with a better sense of knowing what I enjoyed and disliked, what areas of opportunity for growth existed, and what ways I have grown. I better understood my values and from there my priorities. I walked away with the tools and resources that empowered me to coach myself in times of difficult and challenging situations. My coaching relationship was successful because I had a better sense of awareness and was empowered to learn how to coach myself.
- Accountability: In order to move forward to reach my goals, I understood that I had to be accountable with the actions steps I needed to complete at the end of a coaching session. When I was stuck or felt overwhelmed, I made sure that I utilized my coach for support and sometimes requested additional resources. I decided what I wanted and the next steps I needed to take to move forward. I understood that I had full responsibility for wanting to make a change and for creating success. My coach was always there to provide additional tools I needed or sometimes sent me a message in between sessions to make sure I was making progress (per my request). Accountability is key in moving action forward.
- Being prepared: I got the most of coaching when I came into the sessions prepared. I came into the sessions with a topic that I wanted to focus on or a challenge that I had that week. This helped me and the coach focus on the topic and get specific about what I wanted to walk away with at the end of the session. Being prepared also helped ensure that we were on the right track with meeting our coaching goals.
From a coach’s perspective, there are some skills we should possess to make sure each session is successful. Some of the most important skills include:
- Listening: Great coaches are great listeners. They listen to both the spoken and the non-verbal cues of the client. They are great at picking up the emotions behind what the client is saying and bring that into the conversation to create awareness. By actively listening, the coach can pick up on information that may be valuable to the client (such as their values, what excites them, what is holding them back). Listening is an important skill in successful coaching.
- Powerful questioning: Great coaches are curious. They ask thoughtful questions to create awareness and to deepen the client’s learning. Questions also help identify gaps in knowledge or thought processes, and they can be useful in designing next steps that will help the client move closer to fulfillment.
- Celebrating accomplishments: As clients move closer to reaching their goals, great coaches acknowledge the progress made thus far and celebrate accomplishments. It is important to take the time to celebrate even the smallest accomplishments because these may sometimes be overlooked by the client. This is also a good time to check in on the coaching plan, manage progress and identify next steps to make sure the coaching goals are still on track.
A great coaching relationship is created by designing how both parties choose to work with each other. If clients and coaches both bring their enthusiasm, skills, and knowledge, and approach the relationship with an open mind, great things can happen.