Your company has initiated a coaching program for high potentials. So you have been enrolled in a three month coaching program by your boss, your sponsor. What now? What can you do to get ready and make the most of this great opportunity to work with a professional coach?
Here are eight questions to think about.
- Are you prepared to take responsibility for your own growth and development?
- What specific goals do you need and/or want to focus on during the three month coaching program?
- Are you willing to talk to your boss and discuss what goals she had in mind for you?
- Are you willing to work on these goals as well?
- Are you willing to listen and receive feedback?
- Are you willing to be open to another person?
- Are you committed to taking action on your learning?
- Are you willing to commit to the weekly coaching sessions?
To get you started, consider these points.
1. Are you prepared to take responsibility for your own growth and development?
You are always responsible for your own personal and professional growth and development. Other people may be there to help you, and unless they know what you need and want, they may not be able to help you as much.
2. What specific goals do you want to focus on during the three month coaching program?
Based on your experience and feedback from others, what do you want to be different? What do you want to change and be better? If you have information from a 360 assessment that you took, go over it carefully and ascertain what areas/competencies you need to work on.
3. Are you willing to talk to your boss and discuss what goals she had in mind for you?
What are your boss’s reasons for enrolling you in the program? What did she want you to take away from it? What benefits did she hope you would get so that you can be a better you and more ready to take on new challenges? Take the initiative to meet with your boss on a periodic basis to find out how you are doing, to discuss your career goals, and to give feedback about your progress relative to your agreed upon goals.
4. Are you willing to work on these goals as well?
How similar or different are the goals that your boss had in mind and your own goals? If they are quite different, how do you reconcile these differences and prioritize what to focus on during the three months? Get agreement on the priority goals.
5. Are you willing to listen and receive feedback?
How open are you about feedback that may not sit well with you or that you may disagree with? Think of all feedback, good and bad, as gifts of different points of view to explore. Ask yourself what might be the truth in each of these and how you can use these different perspectives to help you grow.
6. Are you willing to be open to another person?
Take heart, confidentiality is part of coaching. Typically, what you discuss with your coach is confidential. Often, the responsibility for updating your boss is with you. Nevertheless, it would be helpful for you to have a discussion about the limits of confidentiality with your coach and your boss. What is the coach required to report on?
7. Are you committed to taking action on your learning?
While the coaching process may give you a lot of opportunity to reflect on the present situation, you must take steps to act on what you have learned to move closer to your goals. If you have an “assignment” between one session and the next, work on it and learn in the process. If you want to make progress, you must be willing to change self limiting beliefs and behaviors.
8. Are you willing to commit to the weekly coaching sessions?
Last, but not least, is that you will show up and on time during your coaching sessions. Plan your week and block off your calendar to make sure that you don’t schedule anything else during your coaching session. Coaching is an investment in your future and deserves your time and energy.
Want more? Read “Get the Most Out of Executive Coaching” from the HBR Blog Network.
Check out this “coachability” quiz at http://breakthrucoaching.com/BT-TEST-COACHABILITY.pdf