TSLH #009: What Being Coached Looks Like?

TSLH #009: What Being Coached Looks Like?

Read time: 5 minutes


I wish I had known about coaching a lot earlier in my career.

There are so many situations I can think of, where hiring a coach would have allowed me to develop as a leader in a much more smoothly way than what I sometimes experienced.

Many leaders today do take that step early enough, i.e., when they need support and help. My clients typically hire me when they face one of the following situations:

  • They feel stuck in their current leadership role and want to get forward
  • They started as the leader of a team and want to develop it as a high-performing team
  • They’re longing to be their best self as a leader
  • They have a strong desire to do things radically differently
  • They have communication issues with their manager or other people in their organization
  • They are stepping up as a first-time manager
  • Some just need someone they can confide to, to discuss their challenges, their fears
  • And much more

You see, as a coach, I will not solve my clients’ problems. And this is a good thing because this is not what coaching is about.

As a coach I’ll co-create an environment with my client where they can find the solutions to their challenges or to the questions they have and that brought them to coaching.

A fair question I always get from clients early on is therefore “What do we do in coaching?” or “How does coaching work?”

This week, I want to show you how I typically work with a client and what benefits they get from being coached.

The overall process. When you work with me, it starts with an Exploration session where we will discuss about what it is that leads you to consider coaching. What is a challenge you have in your role? What is something you want to develop in your leadership? What is something you need help with so that you stay accountable to yourself? At the end of this session, you and I get a feeling of whether we could work together and you make the decision to hire me or not.

If you hire me, we’ll start working together for anywhere from 3 months to 1 year. Coaching does take time. A good analogy for coaching is going to the gym. You don’t go to the gym just once and then expect to have transformed your body radically. Coaching is the same: You need repetition of sessions, and work in-between these sessions to see your transformation as a leader and a person. One coaching session only will achieve nothing.

The next step is a Discovery session, the longest session you’ll have in the coaching program. That session is the only one in the program where there will be little coaching. This is because this session aims at defining the coaching relationship, what you expect from me as your coach, what I expect from you as my client. We dig on your goals, current challenges, big dreams, things that energize you and things that don’t, etc. It is a very intense conversation that lays the entire foundations for the rest of the coaching program.

In that session, I will clarify a lot of things for you, about what coaching is and is not, about how I will be with you, and a lot of other things. Most importantly, I will define 4 key foundations that will make coaching a thriving and engaging experience for you, the coachee:

  1. I will guarantee to you that every discussion we have within the coaching context will stay absolutely confidential between the two of us. This is true whether I will coach you as an individual person or if your company hires me to coach you. I will never disclose anything from our discussion.
  2. I will guarantee to you that our coaching sessions will be a safe space of no judgment where you can speak out, be honest, experience, fail, feel, all while not having to fear being judged by me. My role as a coach is not to judge you. I will never tell you whether your opinion or idea is right or wrong. I will be here only for one thing, and it is to support you to find your solutions and actions to fulfill your goals.
  3. I will set a clear expectation that you must come prepared to each session. Prepared means that you have a topic you want to be coached on.
  4. I will set a clear expectation that for coaching to succeed, you will need to be accountable for the actions you decide to undertake. This is the #1 condition under which coaching will work. It’s like the gym: No training, no results 😊

And then it starts! We will usually meet once every two weeks for 45 to 60 minutes, sometimes more. The key thing in these sessions though is that it is YOUR agenda, not mine. This means that YOU come to the coaching session with a topic you want to be coached on. It can be whatever is on your mind on the day of the session. Of course, most of the times, the topic will be related to the goals that you defined in the Discovery session. But it could be that you have a bad day and then decide the coaching session should be on this. This is fine too. Or you may have a special situation at home or at work that you want to be coached on. It’s all your decision, your agenda. I am only here to support you in what it is you want to achieve.

Towards the middle of the coaching program, I’ll ask you where you stand with your goals, how coaching has helped you make progress and transform, where you see challenges, what needs to change in the coaching relationship.

At the end of the coaching program, you will have the possibility to continue being coached. Or you can decide that you reached your goals and you want to stop there. In that case, we will do a Completion session where we will review where you are now, and we will celebrate your successes in transforming yourself.

This is it really, nothing really complex.

What a coaching session looks like. That is probably your next logical question. Like I said, my expectation is that you come to each coaching session with a topic in mind that you want to be coached on. This does not need to be something very complex or detailed. In the past, people have come to me with topics like for instance:

  • I don’t find time to be with my partner
  • I am talking to that big team next week and I need to get prepared
  • I don’t know how to create engagement on my team
  • I feel I am drowning under too much work and pressure
  • I want help to think about my next career goal
  • I don’t feel valued at work
  • I am struggling with working away from home for the whole week
  • Etc.

Here are the 2 questions you can expect from me at the start of the coaching session:

  1. “What is something you want to work on today?”
  2. “What would you like to have achieved by the end of our coaching session?”

Then, this is where most people who discover coaching get confused (sometimes!) Because now, in a session of 45-60 minutes, I will ask you a few questions and you will do most of the talking.

This is the key learning of this newsletter if you ever consider coaching: Do not expect your coach to find solutions to your challenges, questions, goals for you. The coach is here as a sounding board, in support of you, to cheer on you and your greatness and accompany you as you find your solutions and take actions you stay accountable for.

At the end of the coaching session, I’ll help you recap your learnings and key take-aways from the session. And we’ll co-create accountability by me asking you for instance to journal about something, to take a specific action, or me challenging you to do something beyond what you think is possible.

How you benefit from coaching. All the above is good info I am sure you are telling yourself, but what’s in it for me? How do I really benefit from all of this.

First and foremost, you will only benefit if you stay accountable to yourself and to the actions you have decided to take.

Then, each person’s experience will of course be different. But over the course of my still young coaching career, here are some benefits that my clients have enjoyed after coaching with me, be it in an individual setting or a corporate one:

  • Enhanced Executive presence as a leader
  • Improved leadership abilities
  • Greater empathy and heightened capacity to listen
  • Full awareness of your personal values, qualities, strengths, weaknesses, and purpose
  • Enhanced self-management skills, for maximum resilience in challenging times
  • Strengthened capacity to navigate challenges of change management or a team turnaround
  • Better time management abilities
  • Confidence to inspire, engage and collaborate across teams and organizations across the globe
  • Clear sense of personal purpose, responsibility and accountability
  • Higher effective collaboration within the team and with external stakeholders
  • Greater accountability and empowerment of their team
  • Understanding of your self-limiting beliefs and fears
  • Healthier and more active lifestyle


Take-away: Whatever it is you want to work on with a coach, the coaching will help you reap strong benefits.

I want you to do one thing now. Think about one challenge that you have in your personal life or at work. Journal about what it is you would like to achieve in order to tackle that challenge. And then ask yourself how talking to someone who is completely unrelated to that challenge could help you. Someone who will not judge you, who will act as a sounding board, who will create a safe space for you to discuss in full confidentiality. What do you discover? What else do you need to know before getting a coach for yourself?

I wish you a great read. I’ll see you next Saturday!

TL; DR (Too Long, Did not Read)

Coaching is a process to support you in addressing any topic in life or at work

  1. The overall process is 3 months to 1 year and consists of regular sessions where you are coached on a topic of your choice.
  2. Each coaching session is designed in a way to push you in deeper thinking, that makes you consider different perspectives of your topic, and find solutions and actions you are accountable for.
  3. If you stay accountable throughout the coaching program, you will reap many benefits as an individual and as a leader.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1️⃣ Work 1-1 with me to step up as the authentic leader you aspire to be.

2️⃣ Hire me to help you build a high-performing team.

3️⃣ Start with my affordable digital courses on Mastering Difficult Conversations for Leaders and Goal Setting