One of the most frequently asked questions I hear about coaching is: “How long do I need a coach for?”
I am sure every coach has his or her own response to this enquiry, referring to any number of books or studies on the subject to support the viewpoint given. Nevertheless, as you are here, I will offer my answer to the “How long do I need a coach for?” question.
To save you having to wade through many words, my reply is “It depends on you“. Let me quickly clarify this possibly unhelpful statement.
In the very first session a person can find significant value in being truly heard but not judged, by pondering a simple question or through reflecting on his or her words repeated back by the coach.
I have experienced this ‘light bulb’ moment both as a coaching client and as a coach. When it happens it shifts one’s thinking, opening up new perspectives and choices previously hidden or unexplored.
On other occasions, issues are worked through over a series of sessions at the pace best suited to the client.
Believing fully in the Co-Active Coaching cornerstone “The agenda comes from the client“, the idea of locking a client into a three-month, six-month or twelve-month programme sits uncomfortably with me.
Some coaches may argue a package deal is a way for the client to be held accountable for their growth. Others might underline the ‘cheaper cost-per-session’ advantage for the client when he or she commits upfront to a certain number of sessions.
Valid points, perhaps. However, I prefer my clients to pay me on a monthly basis for the hours of coaching they have received. I trust them to be honest with themselves concerning the benefits they are obtaining from the coaching, plus the work they undertake on themselves between sessions.
The effect of this thinking
Giving the client absolute freedom in this area has led me to work with people in three broad categories:
A) Those requiring coaching for a specific time linked to a particular project;
B) Those who appreciate sessions over a period of time, ranging from once per week to once per month to once every now and then for as long as they like, sometimes this being well over a year;
C) Those who are happy to maintain contact via social media and have a session as needed to enhance their ongoing personal and professional development efforts.
Whatever works for the clients works for me. I keep their feet to the proverbial fire, encourage them to hold themselves responsible to their desired objectives and acknowledge their potential to be the best they can be.
To see this ‘Kicking you with compassion and kindness‘ from the perspective of a client, click here.
Thanks for reading my wordy answer to the “How long do I need a coach for?” question.
If you would like to set up a complimentary coaching session via Skype or Google+ hangout, please get in touch. Ideally you too will find the experience as beneficial as others before you have done.
Brian Groves DipM MCIM Chartered Marketer, CTI-trained co-active coach and freelance trainer, supplies professional and personal development through coaching, coaching workshops, marketing development training and English language training.
As an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy, Brian teaches a postgraduate course based on dramatic texts and elements of coaching to examine various work-related performance matters.
Performance skills at work (2015), Personal performance potential at work (2014), Coaching, performing and thinking at work (2013), Reflections on performance at work (2012), Elements of theatre at work (2010) and Training through drama for work (2009).