So you’ve booked your first coaching session with me, and now you’re wondering about making the most of your coaching sessions. (Perhaps you’ve forgotten what we first talked about and can’t really remember what coaching is – if so you’ll find a reminder here)
Having had coaching myself, I’m all too familiar with that sudden realisation that the next session is coming up, but there hasn’t been a moment to think since the last session, let alone the next one! (As a side note, this can often be a clue that we’ve over-scheduled the diary – a great topic to bring to coaching)
Coaching is not a magic bullet – just showing up doesn’t guarantee change – to see results from coaching sessions you need to be prepared to put in the work. I recommend this book about preparing for coaching, but here’s a TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) version:
1. Make Notes
Keeping your own notes in one place provides somewhere to capture thoughts about your coaching learning; before, during or after a call.
You could add:
- Your own list of possible coaching topics at the front (add to this list as you go).
- Anything that comes up between sessions – so you can refer to it to during a session
- Any distractions just before, or during a session: Capture them quickly so you can put them out of your head and come back to them later.
- Any updates since your last session. (For example, WWW – What Went Well)
- Any insights which come up during a session.
- Your takeaways from the session at the end of a session.
- Actions/ changes arising from the session: make a list (perhaps including deadlines).
- What you would like to focus on in your next session (more below)
2. Plan your Entry & Exit
We’ve all rushed into a call straight from another meeting but if you do this with coaching sessions you might spend the first 10 minutes of the session trying to remember what you talked about last time and what you wanted to use the session for.
- Add buffer time in your diary immediately before your session to read your notes, take some deep breaths, decompress from the day and focus on your session.
- Add buffer time in your diary immediately after your session to reflect. Look through your notes to make sure they make sense and highlight any insights, takeaways or actions from the session.
- What do you need to do now to make sure any actions will happen?
3. Choose your topic
If you haven’t even thought about coaching since your last session it may be hard to come up with a topic – let alone identifying your top priority. To make the most of your coaching sessions, deciding your focus ahead of time will be a big game changer. (Stick to one main topic whenever possible – coaching generally works better if you go deeper rather than wider). What do you want to change? Here’s just a few options:
- ADHD-related challenge/ symptoms – something that’s bugging you.
- An upcoming decision you’d like to think about.
- Something that feels stuck that you’d like to unstick.
- Something you want to understand better (e.g. a relationship dynamic or your feelings about something). You can also ask for ADHD-related information between sessions.
- Now think about what you’d like to leave the session with. What would you like to feel/ do/ know differently by the end of the session?
More on managing your ADHD during sessions
Sometimes you’ll come to a session intended to talk about one thing but end up somewhere completely different – I get that! My role as a coach is to help you use the time effectively to talk about what’s important to you. However, for many people with ADHD it’s not until it’s out of your head that you recognise its importance (or not). We can, of course, go with the flow – just let me know if you want more reining in!
- Go with the flow and see where it takes you.
- Offer me ‘permission to interrupt’ if you go off topic.
- Turn off visible/ audible notifications as much as possible
- Use your notes to capture random unrelated thoughts – and don’t waste valuable coaching time acting on them!
- I don’t need you to give too much detail (eg. your business structure) – and I’m unlikely to remember it all anyway. Tell me the basics and I’ll ask more if needed…
- Feeling emotional? Coaching can unearth some strong feelings for us ADHDers; if you’re ok with that, I am too. Sometimes these moments highlight important stuff.
- Bearing this in mind, coaching isn’t therapy and I’m not a therapist. Sometimes, if you are at crisis point, or a past trauma resurfaces, issues may be better dealt with by a therapist. I can signpost you to useful resources if required.