Coaching is best conducted one-on-one, although it is often possible for a coachee to meet with more than one coach simultaneously. The purpose of a coach-coachee relationship in business is to help the coachee achieve a very specific goal, typically in his/her current role. This is likely to represent a key part of his/her current personal objectives and personal agenda. A typical horizon for this dialogue is up to 18 months. The content of such a dialogue typically focuses on part of the coachee’s current objectives, difficult challenges, skills, strengths and priorities.
To get value from coaching, the mentee must be willing to be open to challenge and change. The coach needs to have very specific, often specialised knowledge & experience in the specific area required. In the IT context, this is likely to require detailed technical, process and/or technological IT experience. The coach should also be empathetic, a good listener and a strong driver of the desire to achieve in the coachee. A coach's role is to keep the dialogue very focused on the agreed topic. This is a key distinction between coaching and mentoring. A coach/coachee relationship should have good chemistry (usually quickly determined), clear and shared purpose (down to the coach to set the agenda in agreement with the coachee), actionable outcomes from meetings and a short 'shelf life' (typically up to 12 months) by which time the coaching goal should typically be achieved. The meetings should be planned, sometimes away from the coachee's usual place of work, can be of quite intensive frequency, usually face-to-face, and can be of varying lengths. The actionable outcomes should be recorded.