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An intro to 1-2-1 coaching

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Have you ever thought about working with a coach but are unsure of what happens when you get one? Here, I explain how I work with 1-2-1 clients. The coaching space is often described as a ‘safe space’ to explore your own thinking and find your potential. But what does that mean and how does it work in practice?

“Coaching enables people to grow and develop, by listening, challenging thinking and encouraging action.” (Watts & Morgan)

> How do I start?

Before we get any further discussing about coaching, costs or frequency, I invite you to join me for a chemistry call. It’s called a ‘chemistry call’ for the simple reason that the success of coaching comes down to the relationship between coach and client - i.e, do you have chemistry? This doesn’t mean you need to develop a friendship (in fact I would counsel against that), but there does need to be a spark in you that says ‘This coach can support me in reaching my goals’.

Coach and author, Jenny Rogers writes how ‘...coaching is an unusual kind of discussion in that it includes the possibility of high levels of support and high levels of challenge in the same conversation, all within a framework of respect and rapport and delivered without judgment. That is a rare experience.’

> What are you looking for in a coach?

If you are not sure what you’re looking for, this is the perfect opportunity to find out more about each other, to explore how I work and the types of clients that I work with. During the call, I will invite inquiry into your goals for coaching and what success may look like for you.

> In six months time, what would you like to be different?

This could be the start of our relationship together, and like with any other relationship, it is important to understand how each other wishes to work, so we will also discuss confidentiality, levels of challenge, boundaries and expectations of each other.

> What do you need to feel comfortable? How do you feel about being challenged on your perspectives?

Following the call, I will share brief notes with you - this is a confidential record for the both of us.

Once we’ve agreed on the programme of coaching sessions for you, we’ll set a date to get started. Prior to that first session, I will offer self-reflection questions to prompt your thinking in advance. Depending on your area of focus, I may already have shared a coaching activity with you to reflect on ahead of the first session.

> What is going well for you?

During each session, I will hold the coaching space in a supportive way for you to think out loud and to share whatever is going on for you. Rarely do we give ourselves the time and space to think, so this is where working with a coach enables you to prioritise time for yourself and explore challenges in a non-judgemental and open way - without interruptions or advice.

“Coaching holds a mirror up so the coachee can see their own thinking process” (Galwey)

> What could you not be seeing?

When we check-in, I’ll invite you to share what you would like to focus on or a goal for the session. This may be clear to you, this may not. Either is ok. Working with a coach enables you to work towards a goal you already have in mind, or to identify the goal you want to set.

Speaking out loud, what is so often ruminating over and over, can already be helpful to find a sense of clarity. As Nancy Kline says the ‘mind that holds the problem also holds the solution’. With the right environment, you will find the answers to your own questions.

> What has helped you before?

Throughout each session I will use insightful questions to challenge your perspective and open up new possibilities. I will hold space for silence and reflection. There may be opportunity for a coaching tool or technique which I will introduce but only with your permission to do so. This is your space.

As we come to the end of the session, I will invite you to reflect on the session itself and identify any new perspectives or take aways. Here there is always the option to commit to action.

> What has stood out for you from today?

Much of the learning and continued reflection takes place outside our designated time together. This is where ideas form or sparks of inspiration continue. After each session, I will share my brief notes for your reference and record, along with any relevant resources.

Research shows that we are all more likely to do something if we’ve spoken about it with someone we trust and respect. This is where accountability plays a big role in the success of the coaching space.

It is true that no one needs a coach. With a coach, however, you gain a deeper awareness of who you are, you are offered the gift of being listened to and explore yourself and your environment in a way that enables you to accept, understand, move forward and reach your goals - whatever they may be for you.

If you’d like to know more, or start with a chemistry call, do contact me to arrange a convenient time to talk.


Gemma Brown is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation, working with individuals and groups to navigate successfully through transitions - be it career, relationships or life in general. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. Gemma works face to face with clients in the Cambridge area as well as via Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.

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Why have coaching?

My belief is that we could all benefit from a time and space to think and this is what many people come to coaching for.


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