#1 Seek Help From The Best Professional You Can Find.

A major goal in coaching is for you — the client— to discover your power to make the changes you want to make. In the beginning, this may feel impossible. If you are like many of my clients, you have multiple issues unlikely to respond to one simple solution. It can be difficult for you to sort all this out without the assistance of someone else. You might not even know where to begin.

Finding the best coach in the area (in Pocatello, for example) may be a challenge but, if you take the time to interview a few, you can get a sense of who might be the best person to work with. Take advantage of the free consultations that many coaches offer.

A good fit is very important and it can be challenging to figure out what to do if you are working with someone who doesn’t seem to “get” you. The best strategy is to simply explain to the coach that you’ve decided to go in a different direction.

#2 Educate Yourself On What Coaching Is.

When you understand what coaching involves, you can make good decisions about how to go about it, such as deciding when to start, choosing a coach, the best way to participate, knowing when you are done, and maximizing results. Generally, you want to make the best of your investment in time and money.

#3 Consider Which Approach Resonates Best For You

Coaches generally differ in their methods and theoretical orientations. Given that many coaches offer coaching online,  you have access to a wide range of coaches located in other parts of the country.

#4 Realize That Self Help Books Go Only So Far

It may be helpful to consider one important aspect of coaching, the working alliance, a term that refers to the working relationship between you (the client) and your coach. The working alliance is an important topic because coaching, by definition, takes place in relationship with another human being. It is a relationship-based learning situation, so it is important for you to be aware of how you and your coach relate to each other.

When you go to a session do you feel heard and respected? Are you able to talk about what you want to talk about? A good working alliance involves a two-way exchange where both you and your coach are jointly in charge of making sure sessions are on target to address your issue.

Obviously there is something about the working relationship that is important for healing and change. Otherwise we could just as well go read a self-help book and be done with it. When you work with a coach you benefit from the added plus of the interpersonal space where new ways of being can spontaneously emerge.

#5 Know Your Mind Is Organized Around Social Connection, Even In Coaching.

Already a great deal of what we learn and do take place in an environment where we are in the company of others. In coaching we embark on our journey to self discovery while in relationship with our coach. Here are some of the ways that learning happens within the coaching context:

Whether you are aware of it or not, you (as a human being) are quite sensitive to your interactions with other people. Coaching is no exception. It is a special type of interaction. A good coach is not supposed to have a personal agenda at all relating to you, other than to help you resolve your issues. She is trained to be as reliable, predictable, attuned, and empathetic as much as she possibly can.

Your experience of these qualities can go a long way in easing the kind of uncertainty that interferes with self-exploration and change. A good coach “holds space,” which means she brings her entire presence to the session. She pays attention to what you say without judgment, accompanying you wherever you need to go. Within this interpersonal space you can feel more empowered to try new things, learn and grow.

#6 On The Other Hand, Expect Your Coach To Be Imperfect.

Your coach does not have to have to act perfectly in order for coaching to be effective. In fact, there is something called a rupture in the working alliance, and it is not necessarily a bad thing at all. It really depends on how the situation is handled. A rupture in the working alliance is the tension or breakdown in the working relationship, something that transpires when you (the client) do not experience your coach as reliable, predictable, attuned, and empathetic. A rupture can happen (for example) when your coach misunderstands you, fails to pick up on emotion, there is a disagreement, or the dynamic feels otherwise “off.”

Ideally, ruptures in working relationships are seldom, but they are quite normal. The key to successfully dealing with a rupture is to notice it as soon as possible and make your observation known so that the rupture can be addressed. Then you and your coach together focus on getting your relationship back on track and in sync.

Therapeutic ruptures are relevant because all relationships involve disconnection (rupture) and repair (getting back in sync). What you learn in session about this important process can be brought into your relationships in everyday life. Working through and skillfully resolving relationship disruptions can lead to greater understanding and trust. This is true both for your relationship with your coach as well as your relationships outside of the session. In other words, most relationships are workable. Hashing it out with your coach is a great way to hone your skills at relationship repair while in the safety of the coaching relationship. 

It is also important to notice if there is a similarity between the relationship problems you have with your coach and relationship problems you experience in other parts of your life. If so, your coach can be the ideal person to work with to explore and resolve self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that make relationships difficult.

#7 Consider The Coaching Relationship As A Partnership.

You are an expert on the issues you are dealing with and you know yourself best. Your coach will need to draw on this expertise. At the same time, your coach specializes in goal setting and goal attainment. She can guide you through that process. Consider her an equal partner in your journey to self discovery.

When you and your coach closely collaborate, your combined knowledge can lead to something greater coming out of sessions. A relationship of equal participation and mutual respect maximizes the potential for what is possible.  Your job is to stay engaged in the process and to assert yourself. Your coach can help you have insight by mirroring what you experience and help you stay focused. She can offer a different perspective of you and your life. She is trained in how to ask questions and make statements to further you along your inquiry.

#8 Stay Honest.

Coaching is a perfect opportunity to learn how to gently turn towards what is difficult and messy. There is a strong human tendency to do the opposite and stay away from whatever feels unpleasant. It can be difficult to be honest when there is a strong urge to avoid discomfort or pain, yet honesty is critical for coaching success.

#9 Keep The Faith In The Process.

You, as client, bring important elements to the process, namely your intelligence, your awareness, your motivation and your life experience.

You have to believe you are capable of changing or you won’t even try, even when it feels important to do so. Feelings of frustration, confusion, or lack of confidence are matters where coaching can really be of help. Your coach can help you establish a stronger connection to your strengths and other important resources for change.

The way to predict the future is to create it. Make sure your coaching is working for you.