All coaches and coachees want a highly rewarding, enriching and successful relationship so doing some preparation beforehand is always worth the effort. It sets, not just the legal side of the agreement, but just as importantly, the desired outcomes, goals and accountability of a relationship that needs to be built on trust, integrity, confidentiality and openness.

Lets start with the roles specific to coaching:

Role of the coachee (you)

– choosing the subject(s) for the session
– identifying the goals and objectives that need to be worked on
– creating the actions that are required to achieve the goals
– deciding upon the time frame

Role of the coach (me)

– providing the time and space to express their problem or challenge
– ensuring the coachee sets clear goals and objectives
– holding the coachee to account and challenging them
– supporting the coachee in keeping on track

The coach does not tell the coachee what to do, although invariably coaching can slide towards the directive end of coaching. In these circumstances, the coach must ask the express permission from the coachee to do so.

I’m of the opinion that coaching, respects the coachee as an adult who is responsible and capable of solving problems and achieving their own goals. It works from a place of potential and is future orientated.

There are three distinct techniques to coaching and particularly my preferred method of non –directive coaching:

1. Active listening – the better the coach understands the coachee the better they can facilitate positive, change enabling outcomes. They do this by paying close attention to what the coachee is explaining, how they are saying it, their verbal and body language and, just as important, what they are not saying. Listening requires the coach to provide both the time and space to be able to express their emotions and explore their thoughts. The coach not only then confirms understanding but also acknowledges those feelings in a non-judgemental manner.

2. Questioning – is always purposeful supported by an open, objective style of inquiry. It is focused, as its intent is to encourage the coachee to identify what they need to do, how they are going to achieve it and by when. Questions within non-directive coaching are designed to help the coachee disentangle, expedite and boost their confidence in decision making. The coach never tells the coachee what to do.

3. Playback – listening and questioning puts the coach in a strong position to reassure the coachee that they have the ability to achieve their goals. Coachees will often express self doubt and be unsure of their capability in solving problems. The coach’s role in a non-directive setting is to provide assurances that the coachee has it within them to solve the problem. They help the coachee conjoin it with their own efforts and provide the environment where the coachee feels confident in achieving the goals that they have set.

‘To be interrupted is not good. To get lucky and be interrupted is better. But to know you will not be interrupted allows you truly to think for yourself.’ Nancy Kline. (1999)

Engaging a coach will be one of the most important decisions you make and will require investment. Understanding how to engage with each other is critical to creating that strong foundation for developing a sound, solid and successful relationship. Get it right and it can be ground breaking and life changing