6 – Building rapport with your coach

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“For us to have the same partnership, I cannot begin a conversation when I am suppressed. I have to approach it with my barriers lifted. I have to give myself to the closeness and want to be what arises from it.” Hugh Prather, Notes to myself.

Building Rapport with My Coach

Coaching is essentially a relationship between two individuals; therefore it is of utmost importance that a rapport is established between you. The first meeting, particularly if it is face to face, can be a bit daunting for some coachees. Organisations wishing to have some control over the programme and the relationships may ask the coaches / coachees to either meet in a social context pre-arranged by the company / organisation or use a facilitator to guide the pair through the process.
More often than not though, the pair will decide when and where to meet. The first meeting is crucial; it is about getting to know each other, seeing whether the chemistry works, finding commonalities and establishing the ground rules by going through the coaching agreement.
Typical agenda for the first meeting
  • Introductions (background, experience, common interests)
  • Ground rules (what is acceptable and what is not)
  • Objectives (for the meeting and for the relationship)
  • Review of the coachee’s current situation and personal SWOT analysis
  • Discussion on learning styles
  • When, where and how often to meet
  • Any cost involved and contractual agreements
  • Actions (things to be done before the next meeting)
  • Date of next meeting
If the first meeting works, then the pair will continue to meet, being mindful and respectful of what was agreed. Having a structure to follow for the meetings help the pair with preparation, for building confidence in each other and for having a productive relationship.
Working one-to-one with an experienced professional coach can help you to shorten your learning curve and give you the advantage you need to get that promotion, negotiate and close a deal, gain a competitive advantage, give you the confidence and assurance to take the next step, or just help you to be happier and more satisfied in life.
The success of the coaching relationship depends in part on the skills, knowledge and values of the participants. Coachees need to access their emotional intelligence in order to move the relationship to a deeper and meaningful level. They also need to buy in on the values of coaching and its potential benefits.
Develop your rapport building skills – Use this template