The art of being coached 

 February 8, 2021

By  Donna Woodrow

When we share articles on our blog about coaching, we often write about the process of meta-coaching and what you can expect from your coach when coaching with Modo. However one of the consistent questions I get asked by new clients is... What do I need to do? What is my part or role in the coaching process? And whilst I do send my clients a link to an article about how they can get prepared for their session with me, I think there's yet more to be discussed. 

I think this is a fantastic question that clients are asking after all, this is also an important part of coaching - receiving coaching! So in this article, we're going to explore the role of the coachee and look at the behaviours of someone who really knows how to be coached.


The art of maximising your coaching sessions

1) Be choosy and be curious. 

Do not just accept anything and everything the coach says or recommends, be choosy. What are your criteria for being coached? What are you looking for in someone who would be able to facilitate you to unleash new possibilities?

2) Be truthful and authentically honest.

Say what you really think, not what you think the coach wants to hear from you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interrupted a coach and client when I’ve been supervising to ask the client— “Is that what you really think?” And the client then shakes their head side-to-side and meekly utters, “Well, no, not really.” When you are the client, you are the one paying for effective service to compassionately challenge you to become your best self. So speak up, say the truth, don’t worry about the coach’s feelings. That’s not your job as the client.

3) Ask questions.

Coaching works by asking questions— exploring and taking you where you need to go, and sometimes where you fear going. If it works by the coach’s questions, it also works by the client’s questions. An effective coach will be asking you all sorts of questions— testing, checking, exploration, clarity, meta, torpedo, etc. You also can ask questions of the coach, after all coaching is a two way discussion, not a teaching exercise or monologue!

4) Experience the coaching.

Don’t just talk about things. Intellectualizing about what you think and feel or want or fear is not what coaching is designed to facilitate. Coaching is the conversation that’s designed to take you where you need to go. It’s designed to be experiential which is why your coach should be using their voice in a way to help you experience whatever you’re talking about. So, what are you experiencing? Let your coach know and when they invite you into an experience— go there. Be increasingly curious about yourself and your internal states.

5) Give your coach constant feedback.

As the session progresses, take a moment from time to time to let your coach know how you think the coaching is going. Is the coaching conversation going where you want it to? Do you understand what the coach is doing or why? Do you want to know? Then ask. Give feedback, “I don’t understand why you are asking that?” “How will that facilitate me reaching my outcome?” As the client, be sure to get value from your coaching.

6) Share your insights and self-awareness

If you suddenly have a thought or a realization, say so. “I just realized something!” “That’s strange, I just had a flashback to X ... is that important?” In other words, let your coach know what’s going on in the back of your mind as things arise. Your coach cannot read your mind. That’s why you need to let them know what’s happening, what’s emerging, where you are going in your matrix of frames. “You know you could have asked me Y...”

7) Close the session

Most meta-coaches I know will end a session by asking you what worked well for you in your session and what the coach could have done differently to make it an even better session for you. But even if they don't ask - tell them! At the end of the session, after you have your task for the week, let your coach know what worked best for you and what your coach could have done better. Hopefully, your coach will ask you about this, but if they forget — volunteer this information.


Clients who really know how to be coached, understand that coaching is a two way relationship and that you get out of coaching, what you put in. So, reflecting on the above, how could you maximise the value in your next coaching session? Are you challenged by any of the ideas above, if so, perhaps that's a worthy topic for your next coaching session. 

We'd love to hear your thoughts on your coaching experience. What actions and steps do you take in your role as coachee to ensure you are getting the most out of your sessions?


Michael Hall Headshot - The art of being coached

This article was co-authored with Dr. Michael L. Hall, Meta-Coach Co-Founder.

As a prolific writer, Dr. Hall has written 58 books, another 30 serial books, over 100 published articles, and is recognized as a leading NLP Trainer and Developer.  Most notable of the models is the Meta-States Model, also The Matrix Model, Axes of Change, etc. Michael co-founded, with Dr. Bob Bodenhamer, Neuro-Semantics® in 1996 as a field which focuses on meaning and performance.

As a modeler of expertise, Dr. Hall has completed 27 modeling projects which include modeling resilience, self-reflexive consciousness, “thinking,” communication excellence, sales, persuasion, accelerated learning, wealth creation, women in leadership, fitness and health, cultures, leadership, collaboration, and more.

Donna Woodrow

Donna takes a genuine interest in the collective and personal growth of the human race and its individuals. Donna is a seeker who loves to travel and invests considerable time in her own personal growth. Donna is a professional coach and trainer, experienced Enneagram facilitator and the Managing Director and Partner of Modo Coaching & Training.

Donna Woodrow

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