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How does it feel to be coached?

Hello everybody. In this edition of The Coaching Conversation, I'm going to talk about how it feels to be coached...



Surprisingly enough, as a coach, I have actually been coached personally many times over the years, and that coaching has been a combination of coaching and mentoring and it's been done for me with some really, really talented coaches, really skilled coaches; people who really know both that profession and, in many areas, the subject matters that we were specifically trying to work on.

Now as a coach, it may feel a bit strange that you need another person to help you do that. But coaching itself is really quite different. It's difficult to be objective. You only know what you know, and it's quite hard not to get into a loop of the same old way of thinking. So having a third party interject and a third party to ask challenging questions, or present new ways of thinking about something is really very, very helpful.

Obviously, as a coach, when you are being coached, you recognise many of the tools and approaches that are being used by the coach and the mentor, but that doesn't negate their effectiveness equally. As a coach being coached, you can also learn a lot. You can pinch some techniques from other models. So, what does that tell me about how co-chiefs feel within the program that I'm conducting and clearly a coaching program, particularly at an executive coaching program? Is he still orientated? It's about moving someone's level of ability from one place to another place, across a small spectrum of subjects. Usually very important stuff. And sometimes when we say important, we can also mean challenging and sensitive, and difficult.

So, as a coachee, how does that feel? The emotions become quite diverse because you can become really excited about the opportunity to tackle things that perhaps for a long period of time proved quite hard to deal with. At the same time, nine times out of 10, this coaching has been paid for by your employer, the sponsor, and any lack of progress is clearly going to reflect on you as the coachee, more so than the coach. It's also going to put pressure on you in a way to deliver against the expectation, whatever that is, that the sponsor has. A blend of push and pull is at the heart of the way a coachee will feel during the course of the program.

Depending on the progress that they make, depending on how fast they go and how far they got their level of confidence will wax and wane during the course of the program. And the skill of the coach is to maintain that even level of enthusiasm, that even level of focus to make sure that the program is helping everyone.

Very rarely do I see a coachee go off the rails or lose commitment or find that the program isn't for them, but that's almost never happened to me. I've had people slow down. I've had people get ahead of themselves. Change the objectives through the course of the program, because they felt that they dealt with the subject well enough and want to move on to something new.

The point about how they feel is that's going to translate into what they do. And so, the more confident they feel, the more committed they feel, the more excited they feel, the more energy they're going to put into it. What is changing and the learning that they're putting themselves through. One of the additional dynamics in a coaching program is that the coach, in reality, doesn't have the answers to the challenges that the coachee is facing.

What they have are tools for helping the coachee tackle interesting questions. It can be objectivity. It can be hardwired training materials, but basically, the coachee is being helped to navigate their own solution, which can mean that the coachee has recognised the responsibility for success is entirely their own. And when they do realise this, that can feel like less of a burden; the coach is really removing blockages.

So, as progress is being made through the program and more challenges are being faced by the coach, what the coach does is find ways to remove those blockages in the eyes of the coachee. A good coach will know that these sorts of things are going to come up in advance and they will guide the coachee to a form of alertness to that before they bump into the brick wall. That feels as though you're being guided by a trusted friend, someone who is entirely invested in you, and that is a lovely feeling. That is true confidence, inspiring, truly heart-warming feeling that you have somebody on your side. Someone who's going to be there for you when things get tough, it's not an everyday experience and it feels special.

You feel special as someone your boss has taken the time and the money to invest in. They have absolutely committed to your personal development and it won't be everybody in the business that gets this privilege. And so, you do realise pretty early on that this is a unique experience. Mostly it may be repeated later in life at this moment.

It's a great relationship builder between the coachee and the sponsor. There is truly high-level gratitude because the coaching will move their level of performance for that person, for the whole of that career. Not necessarily only their career with that particular employer, that particular sponsor.

The other feeling that a coachee will have during the course of a coaching program is 'If I'm not careful, this might be overwhelming. I may be taking on far more than I can chew because I do have a day job as well. You know, I have other things to do’. So as a coach, it's very important that you strike an effective balance between prioritising the things they've committed to doing in the coaching program and not jeopardising the day job, not jeopardising the daily responsibilities.

It is important as a coach to understand when you see the signs of over. It doesn't happen very often because of the level of energy that is generated, but it can happen particularly if the first attempt so that these new things don't go as well as you’d like.

So, coaching - it feels many, many things; it feels exciting. It feels vendor

sing. It feels challenging. You feel special, you feel pushed and pulled. And at the same time, excited and very, very positive. And the beautiful thing about that is that it's infectious. All the people around you see the positive effect of what's happening to you as a coachee and get behind you, and also behind the sponsor, they see the sponsor as a benefactor as someone who is genuinely committed to the development of their people at a personal level.

So, if you're thinking about a coaching program, if you're thinking about applying to one for your staff, or you're thinking about joining one, know that's the kind of emotional spectrum that you're going to feel.


So, there you have it, the latest edition of The Coaching Conversation. I hope you found it interesting. I hope you found it useful. You can find out more about our coaching programmes at

If you want to reach out you can send us an email at you can book a free 30-minute coaching session at which will give you a really good feel for how coaching can help you.

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