Maximizing Coaching

By Yesenia Sanchez of Soleil Coaching

So it's 2011 and you are feeling that “new year” energy! You are going to exercise, get your finances in shape, and really work towards moving your arts practice, or organization to new levels. Right? Right! And then comes February, or maybe March, and somehow it's harder to find the time and energy to devote to these things. You know you still want to do them, but something happened: you had to write three major grants, you had to figure out what your next piece was really trying to say, or you had to manage a collaboration with visionary artists with competing artistic priorities, in other words: LIFE happened.

This is where a coach comes in. A coach can work with you to make sure that the goals you have set for your self, or your organization, don't get lost in the day to day dynamics of a life in the arts. A coach can support you in integrating and prioritizing your goals in tangible ways that allow you to feel successful, creative and empowered.

If you decide to invest in your career, or personal life, by hiring a coach make the most of this powerful relationship! As a coach, I have found that there are a few things that you can do to enhance your chances of achieving your goals and maximizing your coaching experience:

1. Have a clear understanding of what coaching is and what it's not.

Have your coach explain their definition of what coaching is as you before you begin your coaching relationship. Often other modalities have similarities to coaching, but are not coaching. (An example would be that though coaching can be processed based and help you to identify your patterns, or intentions around a wide range of life matters (similar to therapy) coaching will almost always move you forward, be present and/or future based, and outcome oriented.)

In contrast, therapy often helps us by exploring our past, or giving us a safe place to explore our feelings around particular issues that may be affecting us, with it's goal being to a therapeutic, or healing affect, mentally or emotionally. Coaching can often lead to similar breakthroughs, but it's goals are rooted in moving toward what you say you want for yourself. Therapy, or other tools such as consulting, or mentorship, may also be needed to support you in moving forward.

2. Know that what you get out of coaching is a direct result of what you put in to it.

The benefits of coaching can be many: accomplishing your goals, a feeling of success, a deeper level of confidence and clarity, to name only a few, but in order to get there you have to be willing to do the work. In order for coaching to be successful, investment is required. One of the most obvious is the investment of time. The more that you are able to prioritize and make coaching important in your life by maintaining the continuity and scheduling of your coaching sessions, the more rewards you will see.

Another investment is your willingness to follow through on the commitments that you make to yourself. It takes prioritizing these commitments in our day to day, often fast-paced lives. The goal of this is not to be a good “student” and get all your homework done – but to actually put your goals and aspirations at the center of your life!

3. Don't give up!

It is important to know that resistance is a natural part of any change process. Most people will experience some degree of resistance in the coaching relationship. It may manifest as continually not doing something you say you want to do, missing appointments, or feeling that what you thought was important at the beginning of your coaching feels less of a priority, or that you just don't have the time, energy or willingness to devote to your goals. This is natural! The best way to move through this resistance is to bring it up with your coach. Your coach can help you brainstorm ways to get through your resistance, or maybe help you to pare down, or re-prioritize certain goals, or help you identify what other kinds of support you may need to help you move forward.

4. Ask for what you need.

At different times your coach can be a cheerleader, a sounding board, or a guide. Ask for what you need. Sometimes it's unclear what that may be, but a helpful thing to do before each session may be to ask yourself the question: “If I could take away one thing from this session that would really help me right now – what would it be?” This can be anything from: clarity, an action step, or guidance, to even affirmation, encouragement, or validation. Commit to receiving as much as you can from your coaching sessions. Remember your time is valuable and your goals are important!

Soleil Coaching & Consulting © 2011 415.216.7625