How Does Executive Coaching Work?

How does executive coaching work? What benefits can you expect from it? Lets' take a look!
how coaching works

How Does Executive Coaching Work?

We talk a lot about coaching. Despite this, not a lot of people know what an executive coaching session actually looks like. It’s not exactly like therapy, and it’s not really like mentoring, either. Instead, an FOM Coaching session is a unique process with key differences from other kinds of programs.  

So, how does executive coaching work? What benefits can you expect from it? And what happens before, during and after a coaching session?

Keep reading—because today, we’re diving into all the nitty gritty details of a coaching session.    

How does executive coaching work before a coaching session?

Coaches start by gathering data

What should happen before a coaching session begins? For your coach’s part, they need to come to the session prepared. That means before a coaching call, your coach needs to gather as much data as possible from you about your current situation. 

Our coaches do this by asking you to journal. As you work with your coach, you’ll be journaling in response to a series of prompts that your coach will read, absorb and respond to. Once that data has been gathered, your coach will be able to show up to your call with a concrete idea of what they’d like to discuss. 

Which leads us to our next point:

Coaches set the agenda   

A great coach will always have an agenda upon starting a coaching session. Why? Because, unlike therapists, who often ask clients what they’d like to talk about, coaching sessions are LED by the coach—not the coachee. 

An FOM Coaching session usually begins with the coach asking their client to dig more deeply into something they wrote about in their journal. For instance, if you wrote about a fight you had with your friend this week, your coach may ask you to elaborate on it. Or, if you wanted to ask your boss for a raise but didn’t have the courage to do it, your coach might ask you to talk them through what that felt like. 

How does executive coaching work during a coaching session?

Coaches will look for your underlying beliefs 

As you recount your story to your coach, your coach will be looking specifically for your thoughts and beliefs. They’ll be digging deep to uncover your underlying ideas about yourself, your friends, your professional life, your romantic situation and more. 

Coaches look to understand your beliefs for one simple reason: because your beliefs determine how you think, and how you think impacts what you do, and what you do impacts how things play out in your life. In essence, by uncovering your beliefs, your coach can help you determine whether or not those beliefs lead you to your goals.

(P.S. The process by which coaches identify your beliefs is called “encapsulation.” Encapsulation means capturing a person’s emotional state about a subject in ways they’ve never previously expressed. By encapsulating your beliefs accurately, coaches are able to make sure you’re both on the same page about how you’re feeling and where to go from there.)

Coaches will then challenge your beliefs

After encapsulating your beliefs, your coach will ask: are you happy with the results you’re getting from holding onto those beliefs? Are those beliefs useful to you? Or are those beliefs slowing you down?

In life, we all have beliefs that prevent us from taking meaningful action. We have beliefs that instill self-doubt, trepidation and fear. This is true for all of us. 

However, a coach’s job is to challenge those beliefs. 

By challenging those beliefs, coaches will help you make connections between your thoughts and your behaviors in not just one area of life, but ALL areas of life. 

For instance, if you’re avoiding asking for a raise because you’re afraid of being rejected, you might notice a pattern throughout your life of not sticking up for yourself. Your coach can help you figure out why you feel that way, and ways to challenge that belief so that you feel comfortable and confident enough to not only ask for a raise, but also be more assertive in your friendships, relationships and other areas of life. 

How does executive coaching work after a coaching session?

Coaches will give you further journaling prompts & direction

After you’ve had a coaching session, you’re going to get off the phone with some new and interesting beliefs to consider. As you do, you’ll also be given new journaling prompts and ideas to write about. 

Once you’ve responded to those prompts, the process will repeat itself: your coach will read what you’ve written, ask insightful questions, gather data, create an agenda for your next coaching session, and drill down on your beliefs.  

The biggest takeaway here is that an FOM Coach won’t just disappear on you after a coaching session. Once a coaching session is over, your coach will remain in frequent contact with you—because it’s only by routinely communicating that you and your coach can truly help you advance in your personal and professional life.  

You and your coach will talk about the progress you’ve made

A coaching session isn’t just about digging into beliefs. It’s also about celebrating the changes you’ve made by becoming more aware of your beliefs.

After your executive coaching session ends, you’ll likely be asked to push back on your unhelpful beliefs in new and different ways. Maybe you’ll ask for that raise. Maybe you’ll be more honest with a friend. Or maybe you’ll have the confidence to go on that date. 

Whatever the case, part of your responsibility between sessions is to look for ways your new thoughts and beliefs are impacting your behavior. By doing this and sharing it with your coach, you’ll give them a great starting point to jump off from when you meet for your next coaching session. 

You and your coach will reassess how things are going

We’re constantly assessing and reassessing how the coaching process is going. FOM Coaching sessions happen in 10-week blocks, and after those 10 weeks, you and your coach will have an honest conversation about how productive your work has been together. 

If you’ve made huge progress and you want to cement what you’ve learned from coaching, then you might sign up for another ten weeks. If you feel confident in your ability to apply what you learned in coaching to your life going forward, the sessions end. The point is that you’re always in conversation with your coach about what’s working, what isn’t, and how to move forward together.

Are you ready for coaching?

Now that you know the basics of what a coaching session looks like, it’s time to ask yourself: are you ready for executive coaching? 

Despite the fact that a lot of people feel prepared for coaching, they often have misunderstandings about coaching that prevent them from getting the most out of it.

Here’s what you need to know before deciding whether or not coaching is right for you.

  • Coaches won’t do all the heavy lifting for you: Sure, coaches ask insightful questions, identify your limiting beliefs, and challenge your thinking so you can reach your goals. But they’re not here to do the work FOR you. If you want to make the most progress with your coach, you’re going to need to put in the work.

  • Coaches can’t force you to change: “You have to want to change.” That mantra is as true of coaching as it is of life. If you’re not actually ready to challenge your beliefs and change your ways, you’re not going to get what you need out of coaching. 

  • A coach isn’t a source of vindication or empathy: If things are going wrong in life, it might feel tempting to ask your coach to take your side. But that’s not the role of an executive coach. Rather than vindicate your feelings about your boss, friends or romantic partner, a coach is there to assess your beliefs and find ways to help you build up new, better beliefs that lead to greater results.  

See what a coaching session can do for you today

Although it might initially seem like a therapy or mentorship program, a coaching relationship is sacred in a wholly different way. When coaches work with clients, they come to understand your deepest desires, beliefs, values and goals. Not only that, but they help you live in accordance with those values and goals, too—effectively taking your life off autopilot and making sure you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. 

If you’re interested in experiencing this kind of coaching for yourself, we highly suggest you book a call with one of our trained executive coaches. Together, we’ll talk about what a coaching program could look like for you and what kind of results you can expect from it. 

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