What is it Like to Be Coached?

When most of us think of a coach, we imagine an energetic man or woman pacing a basketball court or football field, barking orders to sweaty athletes engaged in competition.  And this would be accurate.  Well, partially accurate.  Athletics is certainly a domain where coaching is common, but it is not sport that defines a coach.  Rather, it is the universal undertaking of all coaches – in sports, business, science, art, and all other fields of endeavor – to help people maximize their effectiveness and fulfill their potential that distinguishes the art of coaching from other kinds of enterprises.  Coaching helps bring out the very best that people have within them.

Many coaches, including myself, are often asked the same question:  What is it like to be coached?  For starters, it requires clients to prepare themselves for an interesting journey marked by changes in thinking patterns, increased self-confidence, and the recognition of opportunities to improve that were previously missed.  To be coached is to see one’s self differently.  When people experience frustration and stagnation in their personal and professional lives, or when they feel like they are capable of more but are not sure how to achieve it, coaching exposes the impediments, some of which are created by the clients themselves – often to their surprise.  With more clarity, clients are able to manage themselves and their thoughts with greater skill.  Interpersonal relationships improve, opportunities present themselves, and things that used to be troublesome don’t seem as threatening as they used to be.  Life is no longer something that happens to us; it happens for us – awakening new and exciting possibilities.

My coaching sessions last, on average, 45 minutes and rarely more than an hour, and it can be done over the phone, in person, or by video conference.  After my clients complete an online self-assessment, I will typically meet with them once a month for one year – for a total of 12 sessions.  In some instances, it is necessary to accelerate the sessions by holding them once a week or once every two weeks.  Either way, I have a few basic priorities to which I hold myself accountable as a professional coach:

  • to learn what life is like for my clients
  • to understand what my clients expect of themselves
  • to understand what my clients’ employers expect
  • to identify skills and attributes that are most likely to fuel my clients’ progress
  • to identify belief systems and thinking patters that limit my clients’ progress
  • to partner with my clients to establish priorities and indicators of progress
  • to hold clients accountable for creating positive change

After only a short time, clients experience remarkable improvements to how they think and function.  They are able to deal more effectively with a variety of people and situations.  As their confidence grows, so does the coaching experience as new possibilities emerge for consideration.  But they have to want it . . . they have to work for it.   In the end, the benefits are worth the effort.

By John Collins MA, SHRM-SCP
Published on June 16, 2017

John Collins is a High-Stakes Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach at Critical Victories (www.criticalvictories.com).