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The best way to learn how to coach is to be coached. If you can find a way of being coached yourself, you will understand a lot more and you will learn from the person who is coaching you. Do not have somebody who you know or a work colleague. Somebody outside is much, much better. When you are coached yourself, you might think of the first session, "Well, what is it going to be about? What am I going to talk about?" But the advantage of being coached is to have somebody who can lead you to decide what subjects are going to be. A good coach will point you in the right direction to look at the things that are a problem within your working life, outside influences, maybe things in your personal life that are affecting your work, and they will look at what these problems are, and then they will try and get you to... Encourage you to give the answers back to how you can deal with it.

A coach will not tell you the answers. The answers are within you. The idea is to try and get you to come up with solutions. You can come up with lots of solutions when you have a problem. Some of them will be workable and some will not. So, the advantage is to try and get the coach to direct the person to come up with the answers and then if you are being coached, is actually to implement these. So as the coaching session goes on, you will come up with a plan of action. And then before the next session, try and put these into place.

It may be that the areas that are addressed are time management, which is quite a common one within the workplace, or extra pressures. So, it may be that you have decided that you cannot get jobs done in the morning, so you need to have an area of your working life where you, maybe from 9:00 to 11:00 in the morning, nobody interrupts you. So, you can get on with your key job and you can plan better. It may be you come up with ideas of encouraging other people to email your requests and then you contact them to talk about it, so you have not got somebody coming in and interrupting you all the time. It may be that you are working late in the evening and you want to try and stop this. Well, maybe, but a better organisation with time management.

So, after the coaching session, you would spend a little bit of time yourself and plan what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and then implement this. So, before the next coaching session, when that starts, it will all be revisited, and you can say, "Has it worked or has it not worked?" Do you need to do a little bit more? What worked well? How have people taken the changes? An important thing when you are being coached is, to be honest, open-minded to ideas, and to explore every avenue. The advantage, if you do not know the person, you can talk to them freely, and this is really important when you are coached. Coaching is confidential. It is just between you and the person who is coaching you, so it is quite easy to be open and honest with them.