When working with clients who are new to coaching, we find that they sometimes struggle with getting the most impact out of each session. One of the most common pitfalls clients have is focusing on short-term objectives and emergencies rather than long-term professional development.

All of our clients have overall goals for their coaching (such as ‘improving my team leadership’). However, it’s up to our clients to determine the focus of each individual coaching session.

From our experience, one of the best ways for clients to maximize the value of their coaching programs is to choose the topic of each session carefully and with their overall goals in mind.

Come prepared with a topic beforehand

Spend a few minutes before each call to consider what you want to focus on. Ask yourself the following questions;

  • Considering my program’s coaching goals, what do I want to focus on?
  • What is the most important thing I could work on?
  • What is my biggest challenge right now?

Keep working towards your overall goals

Making sure each of your sessions has a well-defined topic that fits into the larger coaching goal is crucial. When clients don’t prepare, what typically happens is that they focus on a short-term priority rather than a strategic, important, long-term topic that has farther reaching impact.

When clients focus on emergencies or short-term priorities, they tend to start asking questions like…

  • “What would you do about…?”
  • “What should I do regarding…?”

Although looking for specific advice about situations or issues can feel like it is helping in the moment, it is a very limited application of a coaching session because it doesn’t do anything to stimulate your growth and development.

Focusing on developing behaviours, tools, and outlooks is a better approach that will yield both short-term and long-term results.

Client Example

We worked with a senior marketing leader at a tech company who was working on developing his team leadership in a new role. His team had some conflict and competition between two members that was hurting the team’s ability to collaborate and succeed. Other teams were also having difficulty working with the group.

Although there were some short-term emergencies he could have focused on in the sessions, the longer-term outlook for the team was more important. As a result, we worked on sharing visions, building trust, getting alignment, and dealing with conflict between team members.

The result was that we focused on the issues that mattered most, which gave him strategies and solutions to implement both immediately and throughout his career. The issues were addressed within 6 months.

Coaching is a powerful tool, if used wisely

Organizations of any size looking to take talent development to the next level can benefit from coaching. Professional coaching services supports growth and retention among your employees while preparing your organization with the next generation of leaders. It is a proven way to accelerate business results by making your people more effective.