The duration of a coaching relationship can vary greatly, depending on the coach's business model, niche, specialty, and the client's objectives. It could be just a few sessions or it could last for several years. Internal training programs should provide parameters for the duration of the training commitment in their program manual. It is important to consider both the client and coach's busy schedules when determining the length of the relationship. For clients with some coaching experience, it may be sufficient to have a single session.
After the expected end time of a session, coaches often take time to reflect on the session. If there is a committed relationship between client and coach, small changes should be visible within a week or two, while larger changes may take longer to manifest. An executive coach won't turn a practical perfectionist into a great delegator overnight, but depending on the goals they both set, the change should be evident in a couple of weeks. Alternatively, and particularly in executive coaching engagements, the coach and their organization may seek an ongoing coaching relationship. This is about defining development objectives that will allow the coach to achieve professional success and defining a path to achieve those objectives.
If top management invests and is committed to the process, it will be better for everyone than if senior managers roll their eyes or think of executive coaching as just another management trend. Some coaches also offer follow-up after the official training sessions are over. This aims to ensure that the relationship matures and depends year after year, and that the coach is prepared and assimilated to the leader's way of thinking and the company's culture to support them quickly when challenges arise. The ultimate long-term goal of an executive coaching relationship is an executive who performs better and who is a more effective leader, with a team that is more confident and prepared to address challenges with less concern. Coaches can also arrange short notice sessions to allow clients and coaches to discuss emerging situations or issues. This helps ensure that both parties are getting what they need out of the coaching relationship.