9 – Clarifying Roles

Knowing your role as a client is of critical importance for your success

Knowing your role as a client is of critical importance for your success

“You have no control over what the other guy does. You only have control over what you do.” A.J. Kitt

The values that underpin coaching are such that responsibilities are shared by everyone involved in the process. Trust, honesty and confidentiality are fundamental for an ethical approach to coaching.

The most important responsibility and role of every coachee is that of making the most of the learning. Without this commitment from you as the coachee, coaching would be pointless.

Every coach will work in their own particular way. Some will allow you to contact them on an ad-hoc basis, others have a strict schedule. Some coach’s will “chase” you (aka nag) for updates and progress, others rely on you to manage this yourself. Some provide you a private web-based portal for tracking your progress and reminding you of actions and keeping notes that both of you can access, other coaches don’t keep notes. It’s up to the coachee to find out and decide what you need from your coach and to work with one that supports you the way you want to be supported.

Defining Expectations

A number of coachees overlook this important aspect of the coaching agreement. Defining expectations and monitoring them on a regular basis is important so as to avoid disappointment and to strengthen the relationship.

Coach’s responsibilities:

  • Respect confidentiality of all discussions absolutely.
  • Be prepared for scheduled and agreed coaching sessions with a clear mind and without distractions.
  • Recognise and deal effectively with strong emotions.
  • Establish ground rules for session scheduling, venue or systems.
  • Push and challenge the coachee in new ways of thinking and performance.
  • Agree outcomes, coachee actions and follow through on any offer of resources and support.

Coachee’s responsibilities:

  • Respecting confidentiality and personal information given by the coach.
  • Recognising that the coach’s time and energy is precious and that they should be used wisely, taking care to be punctual and to attend the meetings at the given time and place, or at least to give plenty of notice in case of a necessary, but unexpected cancellation.
  • Expecting that a coaching process can sometimes cause strong feelings and emotions which should not be used against the coach.
  • Be ready to take over the management of the relationship in terms of setting the agenda and defining time and locations for the meetings.
  • Be prepared to be challenged and to challenge the coach so as to create an interesting and mutually beneficial dialogue.
  • Follow through on actions following your coaching sessions. It is in the application of new behaviours or knowledge that will benefit the coachee.

 Who does what checklist