8 Key Things to Expect from an Executive or Leadership Coach

I find when I am beginning a coaching relationship with a coachee – especially if they haven’t personally sought coaching (e.g. if coaching has been suggested by a manager or is a mandatory part of a leadership development program) that people often don’t know what to expect. This can result initially and understandably in defensiveness, confusion, anxiety and lack of engagement. As a result, building a positive coaching relationship can be impacted at least initially.

I am writing this to share with those I work with to give us a starting point from which to begin a conversation and though which we can develop a shared understating about leadership coaching as it relates to them. I thought I would share it with you too.

What you should expect…

  1. An equal, professional, collaborative and respectful relationship.
  2. Your coach to create with you and for you, a learning space that is both challenging and supportive.
  3. A focus on your strengths.
  4. Commitment from your coach to your learning, development and outcomes and expect your coach to require your commitment to the coaching relationship, process and the outcomes.
  5. An assessment and initial session to help you understand where you are (e.g. 360 feedback, EDISC), what your strengths are, where you want to be and how to get there as well as how the coaching process will support that.
  6. That the goals you set will be focused on the professional context.
  7. Because leadership is about who we are and how show up and how we influence, expect that you are likely to apply your learnings and changes across your life.
  8. That learning and change is a complex process that happens over time. You should expect the occasional light bulb moment, but coaching is not a quick fix – you will need to work at it.

You should also expect:

·     A dialogue

·     To learn about human behaviour

·     Uncertainty sometimes

·     The unexpected sometimes

·     Excitement and inspiration

·     To think differently

·     To try new things

·     To laugh

·     To be acknowledged

·     To gain personal insights

·     That with effort and hard work you will be able to change the way you think and behave so that you can reach the goals you set

Leadership coaching is a complex, multifaceted and individualised process  and if you are a coach or have worked with a coach I have no doubt you could add to this list. I would love to see your thoughts  in the comments section.

For more information about leadership coaching call 0421 775 924 or email



Coaching for Leadership (3rd ed.), 2012. Goldsmith G., Lyons, L. S., McArthur, S. Ed. Pffeifer

A Guide to Third Generation Coaching. Narrative-Collaborative Theory and Practice (2012). Steltler, R. Springer.

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