New to Coaching? Follow These 5 Tips for a Successful Engagement

With the right preparation and mindset, an executive coaching engagement can bring deep learning and improved self-awareness and can lay the foundation for long-term behavioral change. Enhanced leadership, relationships, and confidence on the individual level quickly impact your personal tasks and teams.

If you’ve never participated in an executive coaching partnership, you probably aren’t sure what to expect. At Arden, coaching executives and rising leaders is our specialty! The most successful engagements we’ve seen come from individuals who have done the following prior to day one of the partnership:

1. Figure Out Your Engagement Objectives

Knowing what you want to get out of your coaching engagement will provide you and your coach with an area to focus on from the start.

You may not know exactly what you hope to attain through coaching and that’s okay. Most coaches are willing to spend the beginning of the partnership identifying and further defining what the client’s goals may be.

But being able to recognize where you are now and where you’d like to be before the engagement kicks off can be helpful for developing a game plan of what you and your coach will be working on together.

2. Allot Time for Coaching (Sessions + Practice!)

Coaching takes time, not only for the coaching conversations themselves, but also for implementing the practices that you and your coach come up with in between.

Whatever you’re working on with your coach also takes homework time that you’ll need to plan for and work into your schedule. If, for example, you and your coach are working on making the meetings you lead be more efficient, it may now take you an additional half hour of prep time to plan before each meeting session.

Make sure that your calendar reflects the time your coach recommends for practice. This way you can set yourself up for success in implementing what you’ve learned.

3. Get Your Manager’s Buy-In

To fully make time for coaching sessions and practice, it helps to have your manager’s approval to shift around your workload.

If you’re going to spend an extra 30 minutes prepping every time you hold a team meeting, maybe there’s one fewer project you can take on during this three-month period? Having this discussion with your supervisor early on and making sure that they’re on board will help you add coaching to your plate while still managing your other responsibilities without causing unnecessary strain.

4. Make Sure That You’re in the Mindset to Learn

Coaching is a mentally demanding process. On the part of the executive, it takes bravery, vulnerability, and a genuine willingness to learn and grow. The reality is that it’s not always a great time to be taking on new challenges and stretching ourselves to learn.

For example, if you just had a new baby and you’re hardly getting any sleep each night, it’s probably not the best time to be challenging the way you think about things.

Ask yourself if you’re in the right mindset now to dedicate to making coaching worthwhile. If not, give yourself a break and postpone it till a better time.

5. Hire the Right Coach

While tips 1 through 4 are things you should do directly, hiring the right coach is a major part of the equation when it comes to how successful the engagement will be. For the best possible results, you need to choose a coach who’s credible, one who will challenge and inspire you to get after your personal and professional development.

Not sure what you should be looking for when hiring an executive coach? The Arden team has you covered: Download our eBook on the 7 Most Common and Costly Mistakes Businesses Make When Choosing an Executive Coach. This free educational guide is your ally during your research for the right coach with comprehensive recommendation for how to find a coaching service that will allow you to make the most of your commitment.