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Coaching - how do i make the most of it?

(10 Posts)
indeed Mon 22-Jun-15 14:27:28

I work for a smallish (40 of us) agency. There are 7 partners and I'm one of 7 consultants, who are essentially the next tier down. Two of the partners are retiring at the end of the year, and we (consultants) have all been invited to take part in a Development Programme, which I'm guessing is essentially a nod towards succession planning.

The programme involves some structured interviews with an external leadership consultant, plus some individual coaching and team workshops. Having never had any coaching before, I'd be interested in others' experience and advice on how to make the most of it.

I'm happy with my job, but have got young children (I do 4 days) and have limited appetite/bandwidth/energy for taking on more responsibility. But I see this as quite an interesting opportunity and don't want to balls it up.

My key questions - how honest should I be? ie should I appear hungry for progression even though I'm not (at the moment)? There are issues with the partners, there's definitely room for improvement, but should I go in guns blazing, cards on table, this-is-what's-wrong or should I keep shtum and just play nice and see what happens?

Just wondering what people's experience has been. Sorry to be vague, but I do feel a bit vague - or just unsure - about what I want out of it. Part of me just wants to keep my head down but there's a nagging voice saying I need to be more strategic going into the whole exercise.


ImNotChangingMyUsernameAgain Mon 22-Jun-15 14:29:27

Just don't do what I did.....I told my coach that my objectives for the next stage in my career were to get married and have children. I achieved both but I'm not sure how my coach helped!?

indeed Mon 22-Jun-15 14:31:48

Unless your coach is now your husband? Because that would be well played!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 22-Jun-15 23:30:40

Sounds like a great opp to me.

I have had coaching - usually to deal with an issue (staff, dealing with colleagues, a new role), so different to you - and it has always been so helpful.

You need to ask the coach whether or not your conversations are confidential. They normally would be, but I guess this could be different if they are using it to pipeline talent.

I would think about what you want to change with your ways of working and what could be improved internally. I guesss they want you to think about what you need to do to get to partner standard, is that is what you want...

In terms of how coaching worked, the meetings were 1.5 hours long and I chose a couple of issues to focus on. I would always walk away with actions that I'd aim to put in place before next time.

I just think some time away from your desk to just talk about you is worth it alone. smile

That help?

indeed Tue 23-Jun-15 09:24:52

Thanks Margo, that's very helpful. Particularly the bit about focusing on a couple of issues - I can think of a couple of areas to concentrate on, that aren't politically sensitive but do affect the way I work. And actually you've helped me realise that my uncertainty does come from that feeling of 'Oh god, where do I start, there's so much to consider, do I want to work harder/longer/less flexibly etc' - it initially felt a bit overwhelming, but yes, if I just take a couple of themes then I feel a bit happier. Might not even be about progression.

And it is confidential (in theory). So you're right - it's a good opportunity. I shouldn't think of it as anything else. Thanks for the reassurance.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 23-Jun-15 22:23:20

Glad it helped. We tended to start each session with 'what is top of mind?'. It doesn't need to be a firm strategic plan/discussion just whatever is helpful.

Hope it goes well.

NiceBitOfCheese Wed 24-Jun-15 22:50:08

I had coaching recently. It helped me deal with some difficult issues at the time. I was in control of when the sessions took place and how long they were. I set the overall agenda and the agenda each session. My coach asked open, prompting questions, we usually agreed at the end on a couple of key things that I would work on for the next session. It helped me have a different perspective on things. However, I was able to choose my coach and was fortunate to have a person I trusted. Your situation sounds a little different but it does sound like a wonderful opportunity which I hope works for you.

KenDoddsDadsDog Thu 25-Jun-15 22:23:45

I have had and am having coaching at the moment. It has been excellent so far and changed some of the ways I work.

Gfplux Thu 02-Jul-15 20:04:23

Promotion might not suit you at the moment, however it is important to push yourself forward as this will place you in the line of succession for the future if not for now.
IMO anyone who refuses or backs away from advancement is written off for any future opportunitys.
Of course if promotion and more responsibility is something you know you will never want it does not matter.

Chiconbelge Sat 04-Jul-15 18:17:02

Going back to your post I don't think you should expect coaching to be either feedback from you on the firm or a way for the firm to assess your appetite for promotion. Coaching should be about you and your goals, and about how you learn and develop regardless of whether you go for promotion. Don't over-read the succession planning issue - but do make sure when you sit down with the coach - as others have said - that you understand what the ground rules are on confidentiality.

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