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Executive coaching is anything but passive. To benefit from your work with a coach, you have to give as much as you get; you have to be engaged and active in the process. Of course, if you’ve never worked with an executive coach before, you might not know what that looks like—but I can tell you! Here are a few of the tips I give to all my own clients as they embark on this journey.

How to Work Well with Your Executive Coach

  • First work to establish trust. Securing trust with your coach simply requires you to open up a little bit. Talk to your coach about what your interests and goals are, what you’re hoping to get out of the process, and what your previous career history has entailed. Get to know each other, before anything else.
  • Be ready for a consistent routine. Regular communication is critical, so be prepared to work with your coach to find a set time when the two of you can get together each week or each month.
  • Keep an open mind. Your coach isn’t here to prescribe, or to force you to do anything you don’t want to do—but your coach will have some solutions and perspectives you may not have considered before. Just maintain a sense of openness, and remind yourself that you don’t have all the answers!
  • Think in terms of action steps. At the end of each coaching session, summarize for your coach the action steps you need to take. This is a great way to ensure understanding and to put the things you learn into practice.
  • Set goals. You should arrive at the executive coaching process with some clear goals in mind. Your coach may suggest some slight revisions to your goals, but the critical thing is having some idea of what you’re looking to get out of your sessions.
  • Do your homework. Your coach may assign you some things to work on between sessions. This isn’t busywork! It’s important, and it’s meant to help you achieve your professional goals—so don’t blow it off!

Remember, above all else, that your coach is here to help; your coach is successful when you’re successful, so lean into each session, do the work, listen closely, and enjoy the process!