For many people, they see a coaching session with their manager as something they go to, but don’t necessarily participate in. It’s their manager’s meeting, not the individual. In order for a coaching session to be valuable, it has to be engaging and equally participative. Here are some tips on how you can make your coaching sessions most effective:

  1. Own your coaching session and be prepared. Be clear about what you’d like to talk about in your meeting. Determine what the most important thing is that you should be discussing with you manager, and what type of help/coaching would you like. Do you want to brainstorm ideas, seek advice/information, communicate a decision/idea, determine a solution, solve a problem or simply make your manager aware of something?
  2. First thing during the meeting, set clarity. What are we talking about today? Here’s what’s most important for me. What’s most important for your manager?
  3. Be succinct in your discussions. We often feel the need to fill in space with words, share the entire back story, or just talk. Be clear: start with 15 words or less (I’d like your input on _______ decision). Then share 2-3 bullets of information. After that you can then ask: what else would you like to know?
  4. Pay attention to your energy. It’s common during meetings to be focused on what we’re going to say next, and in the process we miss what’s really being communicated. Listen, listen and listen. Summarize information in your own words so you can be sure you have the context and meaning that was intended to be conveyed.
  5. A rule of thumb: ask yourself to WAIT (why am I talking?). Ask open ended questions out of curiosity: say more, can you elaborate, why is that important, etc……
  6. Keep your coaching sessions/meeting short. You will fill up the time – so if you set a meeting for an hour, it will go an hour, if you set it for 30 minutes, you’ll be more efficient and fill the 30 minutes.
  7. Always end your coaching sessions with a summary and action items. “Here is what I believe we’ve agreed to: who, what, and when. Do you agree?”.

Great coaching sessions are engaging and worth the time. For that to happen, you need to be prepared, own your own role and show up ready to make the most of your time.

Donna Flynn
Career & Management Coach, BankTalentHQ