executive coaching

In Between Sessions

Published Date: May 10, 2023 | Executive Coaching

by Peter James, PhD, MBA, PCC

Congratulations! You have an executive coach. And whether this is your first time or you’re an old pro at this partnership, it may be a good time to reflect on how you would like this journey to go. And not just within the session itself, but also outside of the session. After all, you’re here for a reason. So, let’s not expect your coach to do all the work. It’s your career. It’s your business. Now is not the time to hand over the steering wheel. But having a great navigator is essential.

Analogy: If you have ever worked with a physical trainer in order to slim down or get stronger, then you understand some aspects of this coaching partnership. During the training session, your trainer is pushing you. You may finish a session exhausted, exacerbated, and just plain tired. But you also know that this session alone will not allow you to accomplish your fitness goals. You will have to pay particular attention to what you eat, how much sleep you get, and exercise (dare I say) in between sessions in order to make progress. Yes, you will need to practice some of those same exercises that you learned with your trainer. And what’s interesting about this analogy is that all elite athletes understand that the practice in between sessions is just as important, if not more so, as the training within the session itself.

But I digress. Let’s get back to your business. Let’s get back to your career. Let’s get back to what you should be doing in between your executive coaching sessions. And let’s start out by not blaming time (or lack thereof) for why you don’t do some of these things we will identify. Let’s commit to our next level beginning right now.

With all of the above being stated, here are five ways that you can begin to strengthen your own coaching engagement.

1. Review your notes. You are taking notes, right? Even if it’s just the key items that resonated with you that you need to work on. How will you implement them? Who do you need to talk to? What type of conversations might you need to have? And when? Many of us remember that in school (grade school or college), the best time to review ones notes is immediately after the class. With coaching, there is no difference. Reflect on what you need to step into. And what you might need to shift.

2. Pay attention to what you digest. Whether it’s what you are listening to, who you are talking to or what you are reading; what you are digesting can really accentuate the dialogue that you and your coach are having. I am almost positive that your coach has a book up her sleeve. Or a video to watch. And definitely an article. Therefore, identify some “input” that will reinforce what you were able to take away from the last session. How might it help to strengthen your resolve? And support you in ways that you did not know possible. As an example, The Big Leap is one of my favorites that I love to pass on to clients who need to be challenged a bit.

3. Adjust old habits. Practice new behaviors. On the topic of books, I am also a big fan of James Clears’ Atomic Habits. Within this text, he provides us with clear strategies on how to strengthen behaviors that should ultimately become habits. And he also adds strategies on how to limit those habits that are just not benefiting anything that we desire to accomplish. Of note, this will require intentionality. This will require focus.

4. Shift Your Circle. Who is in your ear? And what are they telling you? Are they just supporting everything that you say? Or are they willing to challenge you when you are not going in the right direction? It’s easy to have yes men or women around us. But the true leader understands the importance of those with a different perspective – a different lens. This is not to say that you need to get rid of your current circle. But who might you need to invite in?

5. Shift Your Mindset. Those of us who are set in our ways, or have a fixed mindset are mostly unaware of this last one. And the truth is, all of us have a fixed mindset in some area of our lives. Where might that be for you? And how might you begin to chip away in order to overcome it? We often have beliefs in our heads that are there due to our upbringing, education, religion, or experiences. But how might a shift in these beliefs allow for more effective and efficient outcomes at work? What is it that you might need to change? 

These are just a few ways that you, as an individual who desires to achieve your goal(s), can reach your objective, or get to the next level much faster. Yes, you can do these things on your own. But having that navigator with you truly helps to streamline the process. Here’s a secret: No ultra-successful individual has been able to accomplish success on their own. But you also must own this process during your executive coaching journey. 

If you truly desire to be that superior corporate athlete, there will be some things you will have to do without your coach. There will have to be strategies and behaviors that you will have to practice on your own. And lastly, this won’t be the smoothest process. Please know that there will be roadblocks, obstacles, and hurdles that arise. So be patient with yourself during this process. Just keep making moving forward.

Elevate your Leadership Potential

To learn more about executive coaching and strengthening your engagement, reach out to Peter for a consultation.

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