The Importance of the Chemistry Coffee
The Importance of the Chemistry Coffee
The ‘Chemistry Coffee’, also referred to as the ‘Chemistry Session’ or ‘Intake Session’, is the important first meeting between an Executive Business Coach/Mentor and their prospective individual Coaching client. Of course, it doesn’t have to involve a cup of coffee, it is equally effective over a herbal tea! Sometimes this first meeting is arranged by HR, or by the Board member, VP or CEO themselves. The aim of the meeting is to see if there is enough chemistry between the two parties for them to be able to work together on changing behaviour and improving overall team and organizational performance.
With the major increase in Remote and Hybrid Working, most of the time the Chemistry Session will take place virtually, via a video call. As the majority of my work originates from referrals, often the Coaching client simply wants to meet to ensure their key objectives can be met.
The purpose of the Chemistry Coffee is for the Coaching client to be able to interview the Executive Business Coach, in order to gauge whether the Coach can meet their requirements and fulfil the following criteria:
- Build rapport swiftly, often interculturally
- Quickly understand the Coaching clients’ specific requirements
- Grasp the subtle nuances of their situation and that of their team, organization, and culture
- Provide evidence of the skills and Coaching qualifications from the Coaches’ Bio/CV/Profile
- Demonstrate the qualifications as an experienced Assessor, able to administer and feedback a wide range of 360 Feedback Reports and Personality Profiles
- Describe the approach to the Executive Coaching Sessions, such as identifying and assessing core behaviours, skills and leadership competencies, understanding character traits, motivators, limiting beliefs, and blind spots
- Talk through some generic examples of success with executives across similar functions and industry sectors, whilst maintaining complete confidentiality of previous or existing Coaching clients
- Explain the balance between Executive Coaching and Mentoring
Initial Questions from the individual Coaching client tend to be:
a) How many Executive Coaching Sessions will we have, where and how frequently? This is usually dependent on the requirements and speed at which behaviours and learning can be embedded. Signing up new clients to fixed packages is not a good idea, as everyone is different and some leaders may address key issues and develop swiftly. The Executive Coach needs to demonstrate flexibility.
b) What support will there be in-between the Executive Coaching Sessions? This can be interim assistance of up to an hour in-between the Coaching Sessions, either via video calls, email or ‘phone.
c) What preparation do I need to do before the first Executive Coaching Session? This may involve completing a 360 Feedback Review, a Personality Questionnaire or short questionnaire regarding the key Coaching or business objectives.
d) How will success be measured? In the SMART Executive Coaching Action Plan all objectives should be aligned with the company vision and strategy, with competencies assessed at the beginning and end of the Executive Coaching Programme and ongoing feedback solicited and given. A mini follow up 360 Feedback Review may also be conducted.
e) What additional outcomes should the organization expect to see as a result of the Executive Coaching intervention?
Added to improved leadership behaviours and impact, including communication and team working, organizations should be able to see measurable outcomes, such as an improvement in engagement, reduced attrition, more successful Talent Management and Succession Planning programmes, and increased growth and productivity.
Fortunately, almost every ‘chemistry coffee’ results in a new client and often will turn into the first Coaching Session once rapport and trust are established and the contract agreed.
‘I’ve interviewed a number of Coaches, but I picked you because you got to the nub of the main issues literally within a few minutes! Clearly, you’ve done this before as your expertise shone through. I’ve already implemented some of the techniques we discussed and can already see a big difference in how the leadership team views me. Thank you!’ CTO
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