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More About Coaching: Questions and Answers
What is coaching?
Coaching is a process to support self-improvement. The coach serves as a thinking partner to help the client maximize personal and professional potential, through goal setting, sustained effort and accountability.
If you are interested in talking with me about coaching, we can start with an initial 30-minute phone consultation for me to better understand your needs and to give you a sense of my style and approach. There is no charge for this consultation. I encourage clients to talk with a few coaches to find the person they feel most comfortable working with.
Client engagements typically begin by getting a clear definition of what success will look like from the client’s perspective by the end of the coaching engagement. Once we get clarity on the end result you desire, we then co-create a development plan to guide our coaching partnership. This will serve as a roadmap that identifies the steps we will follow to achieve your goals.
I meet with clients in person or remotely. Typically coaching sessions occur on average every two to four weeks.
I will use questions and our discussions to help you, as my client, find answers. If you find this hard to envision, contact me for an initial consultation. We can talk through an example that might be similar to the challenge you are facing that might make it easier to understand.
Successful coaching requires effort from the client in between sessions. We will design those steps together and reflect on your progress during the coaching sessions.
Because coaching is a confidential relationship, even if your employer is the sponsor of the coaching, my obligation and commitment is to the client, so that any information shared about the coaching process comes from you.
How does coaching compare with consulting? Or mentoring? Or therapy?
Typically, therapy focuses on the past as a learning tool, working with the client to figure out “why?”
Mentors typically have professional and personal experience they share with the client. “Been there, this is what I did, which might be a relevant lesson for you.”
Consultants are typically sought out for specific expertise. Consultants provide answers and perspective on the problem and solution. Typically, it is up to the client to implement the consultant’s recommendations.
My practice includes not only coaching, but also consulting, group facilitation and strategic advising. If I am hired for multiple purposes, prior to beginning work we will clearly define expectations and distinctions for my role in different aspects of the project.
What should I expect if I work with you?
Coaching engagements can run from 5 to 18 months or more. My experience is that it takes a month to get clear on the focus of the coaching work, and then it takes some time to try new things, reflect on lessons, adjust and incorporate new practices, so that is why my minimum engagement is 5 months. I typically meet with clients every other week for about an hour.
You should expect that I will be fully focused and present during our coaching sessions. I will ask a lot of questions intended to help you think creatively about the challenge ahead. I do not expect you will always have the answers immediately, but hope you will reflect on them both during and after the session. After each session I will send an email with “next steps” or follow up items you have committed to.
Many clients opt to use 360° feedback or other assessments to obtain additional perspectives prior to beginning work with a coach. I am certified to administer a number of assessment tools that are listed in the “About Me” section. We can talk about which, if any, of those might be helpful for you. During our coaching I will also share articles, tools or other resources that I have come across in my work, if I think they might provide relevant food for thought.
I ask my clients to honor the commitment they have made to themselves, by being fully present for the calls and meetings and in a space where they will not be interrupted or distracted. I also ask for, and commit to you, at least 24 hours’ notice of any changes in the schedule.
How much does this cost?
I work with prospective clients to design an engagement that meets their needs working within their budget.
Following our initial consultation, I will generate a short proposal for your consideration with a price for the full engagement.
How can I figure out whether a coach will work for me?
Talk to a few! Ask about their approach and experience, and compare their style and demeanor. Think about the kinds of people you work most effectively with and whether you think you could work effectively with the prospective coach.
Here are some resources that will provide a perspective on coaching and how it has worked for others.