• Coaching is a process in which you will work with a coach to identify your goals and maximise your potential

  • Coach Kristina Kennedy explains what happens in the first coaching session and beyond

  • Interested in starting your coaching journey? Find your coach here

Before your first paid coaching session your coach will most likely have had a conversation with you introducing you to the work, the contract and fees so that you have a clear understanding of the process and contractual commitment. At your first session you can expect the coach to take the lead in asking you what you would like to talk about and what you would like to have achieved by the end of the session or coaching programme. 

To get the most out of your coaching be prepared to bring the topics you want to address. Understanding what you want and where you want to go is the springboard for future sessions as it will allow you to work towards your goals. Your first coaching session is about you and your coach clarifying how you will work together as coach and coachee and what commitments are expected from both sides. This 'coaching contract' stage forms the foundation of the relationship. 

The building of the coaching relationship is of essence as effective coaching will mainly happen if you have a solid, comfortable and trusting relationship with your coach. It’s about having the right chemistry and rapport. This process tends to happen by itself and your coach will use various skills, techniques, and approaches to open deep and meaningful conversations. Your coach should be skilled in this area and hold a safe and positive setting for you. It is important however to bear in mind that coaching is not to be confused with psychotherapy as it rarely asks about your past such as childhood or family issues. Coaching is a positive and transformative process with focus on your potential. It will challenge the 'what' and the 'how' rather than the 'why'. 

At the end of the first session you might feel clearer about your desires and goals and be aware of ideas to action them. Your steps to clarity will evolve over time as you gain a higher level of self-awareness and clarity. Coaching is a highly active process so you might also agree on activities to complete in between sessions as well as setting aside time to reflect on what might have emerged during the conversation.

What happens next?

At your second session you may have something different to talk about or you and your coach might do a quick recap of the previous session looking back on key insights and what you achieved, as well as specific goals identified and areas for further exploration. Every coach and client are unique so it goes without saying that no two coaching experiences will be the same. 

Leaving your first session you should feel motivated, supported and prepared to action steps forward. What clients in general mention after coaching is better self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communication skills, improved work performance, a healthier work-life balance and an overall improvement in how they feel about the areas they came to coaching for. 

Coaching is for those who are ready to grow and the emphasis is on awareness, clarity, accountability and follow-through. the definition of coaching by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is: “the act of partnering with your client in a thought-provoking and creative process” which means being able to help your clients to become aware and reflect deeply about their situation resulting in them implementing the appropriate actions to achieve desired outcomes. The ICF is the most widely accepted federation in the coaching industry and its credentials are highly sought after. 

Finally, the coaching conversation will always have its focus on the coachee and not the coach. Your coach will want you to own you actions and offer you clear direction and guidance so that you are able to solve your own problems and broaden your thought processes. This will facilitate learning and reflection and improve the impact of your coaching journey. Expect your coach to help you develop a mindset to maximise your potential and finding the answers within yourself.

So, what should you expect after your first coaching session? Expect your coach to help you focus on what you are looking to achieve in the future and to offer a discovery-based process of maximising your potential. The journey should be really exciting with your coach as your co-pilot in assisting you to the highest levels of performance and life satisfaction.

Kristina Kennedy is a verified welldoing.org coach and therapist in London and online

Further reading

What coaching can offer you

What's the difference between counselling and coaching?

How coaching can help you beat imposter syndrome

Where coaching and therapy overlap, and where they do not