Does Business Coaching Need to be Formal?

Photo by Sandeep Nair

When you think of a business coaching session, what do you see? I’m pretty certain that the image you’re coming up with is of two people in suits sitting across a table from each other. Perhaps there are charts and figures between them on the table, perhaps there’s an open laptop. No doubt the image is a very formal one.

But what if business coaching looked a little different?

I’m a firm believer in making sure your coaching sessions are designed in a way that will be of most benefit to you. Some business owners respond really well to a formal setting and want to meet their coach in a boardroom environment. For others this feels unnatural and they’d much rather have their sessions in a more comfortable space.

I hold most of my conversations with clients on the sofa in my relaxing coaching space, but I’m always open to alternative suggestions.

As a coach I aim to always be open to these new ideas, mainly because they can lead to a lot of progress being made. Some of the biggest breakthroughs I’ve had with clients have been during outside coaching sessions. I sometimes offer my clients the option of taking a walking session. This means that instead of sitting comfortably inside to chat, we put on a pair of comfortable shoes and go out for a walk together!

There’s something very powerful about walking and talking in the fresh air: it can shake things and allow us to see a situation in a completely new way. Personally I know that I’ve had far more creative ideas while out walking my dog than I have while sitting at a boardroom table. By giving my clients the option to work together in a less formal style I feel that I’m opening up more creative opportunities for them.

If you’re considering working with a business coach, make sure you ask prospective coaches whether they can accommodate your preferences.

  • Do you want to talk formally at work?
  • Will you feel more ready to talk in person?
  • Would you prefer to meet virtually from your own workspace?
  • Does the presence of a hot cup of tea or coffee make you feel more prepared?
  • Could you benefit from group sessions?
  • Would you prefer to talk in the open air?
  • Do you need a calm oasis away from the office to allow you to really focus?

Taking the time to ask yourself questions like these could help to get your coaching relationship off to a productive start. When you start work with a new coach it is likely to take them a few sessions to really get to know you and recognise the circumstances under which you work best. You can speed up this process by helping your coach out in advance: what do you know about yourself that would help your coach to work more effectively with you?

There are no rules for what an effective coaching session should look like. The right coach will work with you to design a programme of sessions to give you exactly what you need… even if you don’t know what that is yet!

If you’ve got an out-of-the-box idea for an informal coaching session, why not share it with me on Twitter? I’m @GreenShootCoach.

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment