Having just returned to the office after a week away, full of motivational talks to different companies and groups, I’m excited to shortly be starting the first of many coaching consultations. This made me think that in this week’s blog, it’d be helpful to explain a bit about what happens during a consultation.
I often call the coaching consultation a chemistry session, because it’s very much about finding out whether there’s the right chemistry between you and the coach. If you’re not comfortable talking and opening up to the coach, or she/he doesn’t feel that his/her coaching is appropriate for your needs, then you need to keep looking for the right fit – before any financial commitment or significant time is invested. That’s why I always recommend a consultation before I start working together with a client, and why they are completely obligation free – it’s important to me that everyone I work with is right for my coaching and feel completely ready to embark on it!
In my consultations, I always start out by asking what the potential client is hoping to change or improve with the help of coaching. Throughout the years that I’ve run be me life coaching, I’ve found that people tend to fall into one of two camps when they first arrive – they either know exactly what they want to achieve but have little or no idea of how to get there, or they have no idea what they actually want, but what they DO know is that they don’t want status quo. Both are very effectively addressed in the coaching. At this first phase of the consultation it usually becomes quite apparent which of the two camps the person falls into, and what area(s) of their life they have the desire to change or improve.
I then explain the process of my coaching. I’ll talk through things like the fact that the beginning of the coaching typically involves enabling the person to really open up their minds to exactly what they want – what does the perfect picture look like, feel like, sound like, typically in about 6 months time. The 6 monthly deadline usually works well as it’s far enough away for them to make some significant changes whilst it’s not so far away that they lose sight of where they’re heading and get distracted by the present. After we’ve identified their visions or goals (maximum two to avoid the overwhelm we can often cause ourselves by trying to perfect everything all at once), we then break down the path between where they are today to where they want to get to. This milestones session is again all about the what. On our own we often get stuck on the how. And when we don’t know how we’d ever feel that way, achieve that something etc, we soon lose sight of the what and carry on with status quo as before. Which isn’t where we want to be or what we want to experience or feel!
Then after enabling the client to focus on the what they want and what they need to do, feel, decide, acquire to get it… pretty much all the work is about the how. How to overcome the obstacles that stop them already having, feeling and experiencing their dream visions. This invariably involves identifying and addressing limiting beliefs, fears, unhelpful habits and thought patterns and so on.
Both parts of the coaching (identifying the what and enabling the how) are important and powerful. There tends to be a mixture of sessions where I as the coach drive the agenda and ones where the client does. And over time, the client is likely to increasingly do so, with sessional goals on overcoming specific challenges, developing new helpful strategies and habits, reframing and letting go of something painful and so on. There are also times when we step off the ordinary path and allow a more organically driven agenda from the get go. The key is to tailor each coaching programme to the individual client.
At the end of the consultation we discuss all the logistics, including number of sessions, pricing, regularity of sessions, mode of coaching and so on. Of course I also answer any questions that I haven’t covered, both at the end and throughout the entire consultation.
The consultation, or chemistry session, usually lasts about 30 minutes and takes place in the comfort of the person’s home or office, on the phone or Skype. At the end we agree whether there’s a match between what they’re looking for and what I offer and the best way forward from there. This may involve setting a date to get cracking, arrange a time to touch base again or a referral by me to one of my colleagues if I feel they’d be better suited to the client’s needs.
Would you like to explore how coaching could help you? Drop me a line and I’d happily arrange a time slot that works for us both. There’s really nothing to lose!