You now have a confirmed Engagement with a Coach who is ready to support your desire for change. The Coach has volunteered their time. Your Coach is a lawyer or a paralegal, with the demands of practice and life. The Coach may have acted as a mentor or advisor or coach for years. The Coach may have undertaken self-study and attended training, all in the service of supporting others in their professional journey. Take the time to consider how best to use the time that you have with your Coach.
How to get the most out of your Coaching Engagement
- Value the time being invested by you and your Coach.
- Be committed to your goals and vision. Take the time to examine what you want and need and determine goals that are meaningful to you.
- Make your coaching sessions a priority in your schedule: block time for preparation, attend each session prepared, complete your report backs and ensure your session is free of interruptions and distractions.
- If you need to reschedule a session, ensure that you provide ample notice to your Coach who is generously donating his or her time.
Within one week of receipt of the confirmation of a email, and prior to scheduling the first session, you are required to complete the Pre-Contact Worksheet, and to email it to your Coach. Once that task is complete, you can contact your Coach to arrange a date and time for the first session, which will be 1.5 hours in duration.
Session #1 – Discovery
The first session will focus on building the coaching relationship by:
- Reviewing expectations
- Clarifying administrative processes and discussing scheduling of future sessions
- Clarifying the desired future state and the current reality
- Setting goals and expected outcomes.
In addition to completing the Pre-Contact Worksheet, you may wish to review the questions that follow. Answers to these questions will highlight the change you want and this forms the basis of coaching. Begin with the questions about the future/ideal state, and then move to address the current reality.
1. Identify the Future/Ideal State.
- What is my vision for the future? What do I want?
- Who do I want to be?
- What is important about this?
- What does success look like for me?
2. Describe the Current Reality.
- What do I want to change/add/improve?
- What actions have I taken?
- What is working?
- What is not working?
Preparing for Sessions #2 to #5
Between coaching sessions, you will:
1. Complete homework that moves you towards achieving a goal.
2. Prepare to report back the insights gained through homework.
Learning is deepened through action and reflection. The coaching conversation results in a clearly stated intention, a task that you want to conduct. You are then expected to complete that task or homework and will learn by doing. This work is followed by reflection. During reflection, you evaluate the results of the action taken: positive, negative, intended and unintended. Based on the results, you are now able to adjust your actions, behaviours or thinking. You may wish to use the Report Back Worksheet provided.
Think about what you would like to report back at the start of your next coaching session. For example, the action you undertake may provide unintended results that you want to share as it may impact your goal. As the initial five minutes of your coaching session is dedicated to discussing progress from the homework, consider how best to use this time. The report back should include a high-level overview about what happened and what you learned. These questions will assist in identifying what to focus on in your report back:
- What actions did I take since our last session?
- What were my wins/challenges?
- What supports helped/did I need?
- What do I want to be held accountable for?
3. Identify the goal you want to want to address during the remaining 25 minutes. Be prepared to share your response to "What do I want to get out of the coaching session today?"
Preparing for Session #6 – Celebration and Closure
The sixth session marks the end of the Coaching Engagement. It is recommended that this session include the typical five minute report back, but that the coaching discussion should focus on bringing awareness of the process overall and where you intend to go from here.
It is an important part of the learning to acknowledge the gains made as a result of the coaching relationship.