Preparing for Coaching

Davina Greene is a coach, trainer, and People & Organisational Development consultant based in Dublin, Ireland. This column was first published (adapted) in Irish Tatler magazine, on sale August 2013.

In October, myself and other managers at work will commence individual coaching. What do I need to do to prepare?

Happily, no detailed preparation is required! However, every coaching relationship – and session – should start with what is known as ‘contracting’. Think about:

Content The coach should clarify with you in advance what goal(s) you are seeking to reach, and what needs to be achieved – a clarification of thinking, a decision made, an action plan, a combination? Note: you should always leave a session with at least one new forward-moving action.

Tone What style of interaction works best for you? Maybe you prefer to be listened to and find your own way to solutions. Maybe you enjoy being challenged and pushed, ‘devil’s advocate’ style. Maybe you lie somewhere in between.

Input  A coach won’t tell you what to do or think. However, they can contribute to your own growing list of ideas, suggestions and options, if something springs to mind. Agree in advance if the coach should always do this, never do this, or ask your permission each time.

Setting I assume this is intended to happen in your office, but think around this, also – some people think better when moving (e.g. walking around a local park) or outside their working environment (e.g. in a quiet hotel foyer across the street). Might an alternative, nearby setting help you focus better on you?

This may take the entire first session. At least 1-2 minutes should be dedicated to this at each subsequent session. Coaching is all about open communication, so adjust as you go.