As a Life Coach, I find myself in an industry marred by ‘smoke and mirrors’ where it can often seem like people are selling miracle cures which can change your life in 7-days, a 28-day turnaround, or a completely different perspective in 90-minutes. The personal development industry is worth billions and constitutes self-help books, online programmes, videos, audio, live training events, etc. All of which I advocate for if they work for the individuals who choose to engage in them, although some of which I would choose not to deliver as part of my work. If I were to boil it down, my personal preference is working with people for 12-weeks face-to-face, and this supports our work to overcome their mental health challenges. My work starts with a Discovery Session, and this call is one intervention which lends itself to the illusion of the aforementioned ‘smoke and mirrors’, but is a Discovery Session really as cheesy as it sounds? In this article, I’ll explore what a Discovery Session is and the benefits of taking one.
A discovery session, call, or meeting, is an opportunity for you and a potential coach to discuss your challenges and identify the goals you are seeking to achieve through coaching. It’s also a primary way by which a coach can identify whether coaching is right for you, or should you be focusing your attention on other forms of intervention, such as counselling, therapy, etc. If coaching isn’t right for you, the coach should be able to point you in the right direction, potentially even utilising a network of other providers whom they can recommend. This is in itself is beneficial.
It may be the first time you have spoken about your challenges or goals and to say them aloud to another person, at least a person who is genuinely listening to you. You’ll be supported to explore what you want to achieve, and this clarity is hugely beneficial. It also assists you in being able to very clearly move forward in choosing an intervention that gets you exactly what you want. This increased self-awareness can be one of the most impactful moments within a session, where you identify what you need and make a commitment to achieving this.
Sessions with me, like many coaches, are entirely private and confidential; therefore you can allow yourself to open up in a way you may not have done before. Knowing that anything you say will go no further but should you choose to work with the coach with whom you have spoken, everything you have shared will not be needed to be shared again. Many clients will comment on feeling better after this initial session.
It can have a positive impact to take the time to download how you think and feel, and your mind can see this ‘opening up’ as an opportunity to make progress, now and in the future.
As coaches offer these sessions by call, video, or face-to-face, you can make a decision on which you think will work best for you. A trend I have found is for people preferring to initial speak on the phone, somehow the lack of face-to-face interaction can make it easier for them to speak. I think this is because so many people think they are going to be judged and it’s less likely they will perceive themselves as judged if they are unable to see the coaches face.
The discovery session gives you a taster of coaching and what it would be like to work with the coach you choose to speak with. There is power in you experiencing this session, and this is why many coaches choose not to openly publish their prices, and we offer these sessions for free. We want you to discover the impact of coaching before you decided whether or not it is for you, based merely on price. A try before you buy for an industry which is often misunderstood.
If the coach thinks coaching is right for you and you initially agree, this leads to you being provided with an overview of what a coaching session or programme would be like. We call this ‘contracting’. Exactly what can you expect from a coach and what will the coach expect from you. Typically this would cover how many sessions you would need, over what timeframe, what might be included in these sessions, how the coach works, what results and goals you should expect to achieve, and your investment.
The discovery session is also beneficial to the coach, and no, not because they have the potential to get a new client. Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t work with everyone we speak with. Speaking with you supports us to understand what it is you are wanting to gain from coaching; therefore we can decide whether or not we think coaching is for you and whether or not we believe we are the right coach for you. I will always be asking myself, ‘Can I support this client to get the results they desire and deserve?’ I need to be able to answer yes to this before I’d make a commitment to you. At the end of the call, I will always recommend you speak with other coaches, it’s import[ant you find a coach with whom you feel comfortable, who will support you, challenge you, and with whom you are confident you can achieve results.
In summary, the primary benefits to a Discovery Call include:
- It’s the first step in the right direction
- Completely private and confidential
- Clarify your challenges and goals and increase your self-awareness
- Understand if coaching is right for you
- Interact with a coach and see if they’re the right coach for you
- Know exactly how you would work with the coach
- The coach can decide whether or not they would like to work with you
- Potentially, the start of a great relationship!
One final thing you need to consider before booking a discovery call is this… you can relax. The coach knows what they are doing, and there is no expectation of what you need to do during the meeting. The coach will guide and support you through the process. They’ll ensure you share what you need to share and they’ll tell you everything you need to know at this stage. It’s OK not to know what to expect although I trust this article has removed some of the ‘smoke and mirrors’.