A question of chemistry in coaching

A question of chemistry: Why getting the 'match' right between coach and client is crucial

Hult EF Coaching

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Getting the chemistry right between a coach and the ‘coachee’ is crucial for its success. But what is chemistry exactly? And how do we know when it’s right?

High-impact coaching works when the relationship at its heart is based on respect, positivity and a ‘chemistry’ that invites deeper connection. By looking out for a few simple things, you can make sure you find the right fit for you or your employees on any coaching journey.

What is coaching ‘chemistry’ and how is it decided?

In many ways, having the right ‘chemistry’ is as simple as it sounds. At the outset of any relationship, whether professional or personal, having the right ‘feel’ for someone will usually result in a more meaningful and positive outcome long term.

After all, coaching is personal and it’s important to make sure the 'fit' is right. To help decide this, a coach and prospective client will take part in a ‘chemistry session’. The discussion is a chance for both parties to decide whether they will work well together, including whether the right dynamics are present to create the mutual respect that is the foundation of any good coaching engagement.

Why is chemistry so important?

It goes without saying that liking and getting along with someone is an important factor in predicting whether the relationship itself will be successful. It's no different in coaching.

On a fundamental level, getting the chemistry right is about being able to trust each other. A coach will always have your best interests at heart. If the chemistry is right, you will feel that your coach is helping you explore your strengths, weaknesses, and challenges in a non-judgmental space. You may need to dig deep, you will end up reflecting on things that you may never have thought of before. It can be scary, it can be life changing and you need the coach to be the person you can be open and honest with.

What does a chemistry meeting involve?

A chemistry meeting will usually take place virtually, but it can be face to face too. It’s an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the coaching journey. It’s also a chance to gauge the coach’s particular style and approach. Are they direct or relational? Does their theory of change match yours?

While most accredited coaches have a wide range of experience and the ability to adapt to their client’s needs, these sessions are also a good chance for you to ask about the coach’s prior experience and whether you feel these are a good match for your own.

The 'coachee' could consider these questions as a general guide for things to consider:

  • Do you feel the coach is respectful and understanding?

  • How would they describe their style and approach?

  • Do you feel you are being listened to?

  • What is their past experience or expertise?

  • How would your coach deal with a particular scenario you’d like to address?

It should be noted that a coach will also use a chemistry session to find out a bit more about their client. They’ll be trying to assess whether they feel their coaching would be a good fit for the persons' needs. For example, those who feel they don’t need to be coached will not have the right frame of mind to undertake the fundamental change that coaching brings. For this reason, the coach might be looking out for signs that you are ready.

They might consider questions such as:

  • What are your expectations?

  • What does the client want to work on?

  • What is their business approach?

  • What are their reasons for seeking a coach?

  • Have they sought this out themselves? Or is this remedial?

Regardless of whether these are touched or not, the key to a successful coaching engagement is covering both parties’ expectations and hopes from the outset. Having the right chemistry is the first step on that journey and it’s also the foundation which any good coaching is built upon.

To find out more about coaching at Hult EF, and our focus on chemistry, visit here.

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