Coaching demystified: what to expect from a coaching relationship…

Have you ever thought of giving coaching a go? I find when I am beginning a coaching relationship with a coachee whatever the focus, that people often don’t know what to expect, what to bring and what is possible to achieve through coaching. There is also often confusion and uncertainty, both about what coaching is and what it isn’t. This can result initially and understandably in anxiety, doubt and a reluctance to engage in the relationship and/or the process. For this reason, the first thing that I do is find out what the coachee knows and understands about coaching and then provide information that fills in the gaps and creates a shared understanding about coaching as it relates to their needs and goals. This process is important for all types of coaching such as leadership, career, health and life coaching.

If you are a coachee working with me, or any coach really, you should expect…

  1. An equal, professional, collaborative and respectful relationship. Much as it is in counselling, building a positive coaching relationship is the key to successful coaching outcomes. For this reason, it is important that creating the coaching relationship is the focus of the first few sessions and that it is integral to every following one.  
  2. Your coach to create a contract with you that documents your shared understanding about the purpose of coaching as well as their and your rights and responsibilities. Essentially it should describe how you are going to work together and include a commitment from your coach to your learning, development and outcomes. You should also expect that your coach requires your commitment to the coaching relationship, process and the outcomes.
  3. Your coach to create with you and for you, a learning space in every session that is both challenging and supportive.
  4. A focus on your strengths.
  5. An assessment of your current reality in relation to the type of coaching you are engaging in (e.g. health or leadership), to help you understand where you are, what your strengths are and where the gaps are for you 
  6. That the goals you set will be realistic, focused on the outcomes that you are seeking, use your words, have a timeframe and are be inspiring and motivating
  7. That regardless of the type of coaching, you are likely to experience change and that this will impact you across other aspects of your life too. We bring our whole selves to coaching, not only the leadership or health part.
  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, but it can be fun too.

You can also expect:

  • Your coach to absolutely believe in you and you capacity for change
  • A dialogue
  • To learn about human behaviour
  • Uncertainty sometimes
  • The unexpected sometimes
  • Excitement and inspiration
  • To think differently
  • To try new things
  • To laugh
  • That your successes will 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

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 .

For more information about coaching with me please DM, call 0421 775 924 or email


Goldsmith, M., Lyons, L., & McArthur, S. (2012). Coaching for Leadership: Writings on Leadership from the World’s Greatest Coaches. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Dossey, B. M., Luck, S., Schaub, B. G., (2015). (2015). Nurse coaching: Integrative approaches for health and wellbeing. Florida: International Nurse Coach Association.

Jordan, M. (2013). How to be a health coach: An integrative wellness approach. San Rafael, CA: Global Medicine Enterprises, Inc

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