You’ve signed up for coaching and you’re excited to get started. But you want to make sure you get the best possible return on your investment, and you understand that how you show up and do the work will be the biggest factor in your success ‒ or otherwise.
So how can you maximise your learning during coaching?
1: Get out of your comfort zone and into the learning zone
Taking new actions always means that you will be going out of your comfort zone. Unless you do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
We are hardwired to avoid discomfort. But it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel incompetent.
In fact, it’s necessary.
“For real learning to take place people have to struggle with feeling incompetent. They may have to recognize they will make many errors before attaining a fundamental level of competence, so the fear of failure cannot be overwhelming.” Danielson & Wiggenhorn
And if you identify with being a perfectionist, of wanting everything to be right first time, that’s normal too.
Three ways to support yourself to stay in the learning zone:
- Stay intentional and focused on your goal
- Exercise curiosity and non-judgement with yourself as you try new things
- Have compassion for yourself (and look for the learning!) when something doesn’t go the way you wanted
2: Act and reflect
Another way you can accelerate your learning and impact during your coaching engagement is to learn how to be a better learner.
Those that both ACT and REFLECT on a regular basis will achieve mastery in the skills their coaching is focused on developing.
We call this the Action > Reflection Cycle.
Copyright © David B Peterson & 7 Paths Forward LLC. Used with permission from 7 Paths Forward LLB
ACTION > Acquire and apply new behaviours in new ways and in new situations.
- Try the new behaviour you have practiced in your coaching session, experiment with it and push your comfort zone.
- Seek new opportunities to practice – like being in the gym, the more “reps” you do, the stronger your skill will get and the more automatic it will become.
- Seek input and further ideas by asking for feed-forward, asking for feedback and observing others who are excellent at the skill you want to master.
REFLECTION > Extract maximum learning
- In action: Pay attention to what is happening as you are doing the new behaviour/skill.
- After action: Ask yourself what was my intention/goal? How effectively did I achieve it? What will I do next time?
- Before (next) action/rep: Be intentional – generate action plans.
Create your own Act and Reflect cycle
You can set up an action and reflection cycle for just about everything. For example:
1. Time management
- Set the action(s): What is the most important thing I need to accomplish today and what is the best way to do that?
- Reflection at the end of the day: How well did I do?
2. Listening better or acting more strategically in meetings
- Set the action(s): What is the most important thing for me to do in this meeting?
- After the meeting: How well did I do?
You can experiment with daily, weekly and monthly reflection questions to cement your learning, embed new behaviours and reach your goals during our coaching.
- What new thing did I try today?
- How did it go? What worked well? What didn’t?
- What is the most useful thing I learned today?
- What opportunity did I miss?
- What am I most grateful for?
- What one thing will I do tomorrow to stretch my comfort zone?
- What progress did I make last week? How satisfied am I with that?
- What do I need to focus on in the coming week?
- Where are my key opportunities to further my learning and development?
- How am I doing on my development objectives? Am I satisfied with my progress?
- Do I need to do anything differently to continue making progress?
- What feed-forward/back do I want, who do I want it from and how will I make sure I get it?
Get into the habit of practicing your Act and Reflect cycle regularly, and see how quickly you start to progress towards your goals.
Looking to work with a coach? Find out more about the different options we offer here.