By Mary Herrmann

You’ve decided a coach will be a good support partner in optimizing your leadership impact. Great! Coaching can be a great opportunity for growth when approached intentionally, and there are many steps you can take to optimize your coaching experience. Here are some tips for how to get the most out of your coaching sessions.   

Before You Even Decide to Work with A Coach

What do you want for yourself?

It may help to write this down with specific language. See a clear and detailed picture of your future leadership. Ask yourself: 

  • How do I want to be observed by others, help team members to grow and prosper, exceed business goals and expectations? 
  • How will I lead with authenticity and influence? 
  • What will it look like? 

How much do you want it?

To get the most out of your coaching sessions, ask yourself: 

  • Am I willing do the work, spend quality time with my coach and considerable effort exploring my strengths and opportunities and being very, very honest with myself? 
  • Is the outcome important enough to integrate the work into my day-to-day life, business, and busyness? 

Are you, right now, willing to be vulnerable and create change?

One of the most courageous acts you can take is to look in the mirror with complete honesty and commitment to accentuate the positive and change what does not serve you.   

As Coaching Sessions Begin 

Establish a strong and dynamic partnership with your coach

To get the most out of your coaching sessions, start by making mutually respectful agreements you can keep about your time, including the time spent between coaching sessions, and how you each want to communicate with one another. 

Co-create clear and actionable goals

We all know that goals need to be specific, attainable, and measurable. Goals that achieve desired outcomes are also flexible as you learn more about yourself, what works, and what does not. Be willing to discover and try new things!  

Throughout the Coaching Experience

Prepare for your coaching sessions

Maximize the use of your time with your coach by: 

  • Doing any “homework” agreed upon. 
  • Reporting results of action commitments and other observations. 
  • Letting your coach know before the session what is on your mind and what you want to talk about. 
  • Take note of what is happening around you – your relationships, team dynamic, business drivers. 

Be vulnerable and open

Your coach is your greatest ally and confidante in this transformation you have set out to make. All that you say and do, successes and failures, boasts and admissions remain confidential. Your coach’s singular focus is on your success. 

Take time for reflection

After each coaching session, take time to reflect on: 

  • The coaching conversation you just had. 
  • The overall coaching experience and its cumulative impact. 
  • The changes in you: confidence, presence, communication, approach, and energy 
  • What is going well and what could be even better. 
  • How to sustain momentum. 

Be true to yourself

  • Believe in the commitments you make, or don’t make them. 
  • Do what you say you are going to do with purpose and intent. 
  • Admit failures  
  • Above all: celebrate every success and happy event! Acknowledging and celebrating your wins are key ingredients of the whole coaching recipe. 

Establish an internal support system

To get the most out of your coaching, establish a support system within your organization for feedback, idea sharing, and sustaining momentum.  

Final Thoughts on How to Get the Most Out of Coaching Sessions

Just like exercising your body’s muscles to become strong can be uncomfortable, so can exercising your leadership muscle. The results are well worth the stretch!  

Content Related to How to Get the Most Out of Coaching Sessions

Leadership Coaching: Never More Accessible – or Essential – than Now 

Coaching’s Role in Leadership Development Programs 

Executive Coaching Research: Impact & Return 

Coaching: Going Beyond Feedback