Frequently asked questions about coaching
You probably have questions about coaching. Although most of them can be answered in a free consultation with me, many people like to do as much research as they can before making direct contact.If you are one of those people, below are sixteen of the questions that I am asked most frequently about my coaching. Please click on the question(s) you want answered.
What is a personal coach?
A personal coach works with individuals to help them get where they want to go more quickly and easily than they might on their own. Ideally she or he has been trained by an accredited coach training organization and has other education and experience to qualify her (or him) to walk beside clients as they remove whatever stumbling blocks they may face. The focus may be on business success, personal growth, clarifying goals, on reaching a specific goal, on giving honest and objective feedback – whatever it is will be decided by the client with feedback from the coach (see also About My Coaching). There are many aspects to personal coaching and all of them, in essence, relate to the individual even if the goal(s) relate to business situations. Most coaches work by phone or in person, with each client having several coaching sessions per month.
I’m already successful, why would I need a coach?
Most successful people know how to leverage every available asset, and a coach is often one of those assets. Think of the winners of an Olympic event. Sometimes the performances of gold and silver medalists are separated by only hundredths of a second, but the difference they make to the athletes’ reputation is huge. People who are successful know that having “the edge” is important, and they know that a good coach can help them to have that edge.
The range of life areas on which coaches work with clients is tremendous. Most frequent needs that bring clients to a coach are for better organization and/or time management, focus, accountability, support during life transitions, relationship issues, career path, communication skills, self-presentation and a general need for direction and/or for objective and honest feedback.
How does coaching work?
Arrangements may differ according to the needs of the client, and the practices of the coach. Most frequently a coach and client have three or four sessions a month, usually by phone, sometimes face-to-face, occasionally over the internet by e-mail or by one of the real-time message systems.
I’m hesitant about hiring a coach, yet I could use some help. Can I “try before I buy”?
Almost all coaches offer a free half-hour consultation so that both you and they can decide whether or not the two of you are a good match. If it doesn’t work out, remember that a coaching partnership is not “until death do you part.” If you believe that you have a good match, and later change your mind, it is not difficult to discontinue. No reputable coach would have an issue with a client wishing to discontinue their relationship, although most of us do request the courtesy of one month’s notice, partly so that the client can attain closure on whatever has been the focus of their work together.
If I choose to have a free coaching call, what happens?
I will ask you for times that are convenient for a call, we will set up a time for you to call me, and then we’ll have the call. Our focus will be on whatever issues are of concern to you in your current situation, and, within the time limits, on finding ways to resolve problems. You will find out how my coaching feels, and whether it works for you. We will allow time for you to ask questions about coaching procedures, fees, etc. I will explain my procedures in more detail if you wish, but there will be no pressure, no sales pitch. And you may then make a decision to be coached, to not be coached, or simply say that you’ll get back to me. Either way you will have received the benefit of a half-hour of being coached.
If you live outside of the United States you can still make the call. However, if that is difficult for you then you are more likely to be interested in coaching by email, in which we can conduct a preliminary consultation by email. I will start of by sending you some questions, and based on your answers we will move on from there in our email interactions. Just as with a phone call that is limited to 30-40 minutes, there is a limit on how many interactions we have before I ask you to make a decision.
What is involved in a free consultation call?
A complimentary consultation usually lasts about 30 minutes or a little more. There is no obligation or charge for this call, other than the cost of the phone call. The call is simply an opportunity for you to have the experience of being coached and for you and the coach to get an idea of how you interact together. It will enable you to get a jump-start on your immediate goals, and to decide how you feel about working with the individual coach. It will also enable the coach to discover what kind of situation has prompted you to consider hiring him/her, and whether this is an area in which s/he has the skills to be able to help you. For myself, I do no hard selling, and if I do not believe that I am fully competent to address the areas the client is presenting, then, as a matter of ethics, I will say so, and will not agree to coach the client even if s/he thinks we would be a good match.
If I hire a coach, how often would I have contact with him/her?
This may vary according to your coach’s policy. Most coaches work on between two and four calls a month, with the possibility of e-mail contact and brief “triumph or tragedy” calls (as I call them) as necessary in between regularly scheduled calls.
Must I use a phone to communicate with my coach?
This may vary according to the coach. Some coaches are willing to do cyber-coaching, i.e. use e-mail, which is usually more economical. Some also use instant messaging, or Skype, if they are the best medium for the client. If you live in the same community as your coach s/he may be able to arrange face-to-face meetings – this may depend partly on scheduling concerns and availability of an appropriate meeting place.
Do I need to find a coach who lives near me?
No, because of the various communication systems that are now available to us. I have coached clients from Norway to Australia, and from England to Turkey, Hong Kong, and Korea. One simply has to adapt one’s schedule according to the varying time zones.
Do I have to commit to a certain length of time when I work with a coach?
This varies between coaches. Some require a commitment of three months or more. I do not require legal commitment as regards time, but I do ask clients to commit to themselves that they will work with me for a minimum of three months, so as to build momentum and rapport, and to give themselves time to see solid results. An exception to this is when we are working on a short-term project. Either way, nothing is binding except (usually) the commitment to the current month.
What does this all cost?
Until you know what it is to be coached by me, you cannot know if it is worthwhile to hire me as your coach. This is one reason why I offer a free consultation – you only pay for the phone call. This gives you the opportunity to get the benefit of a coaching session, find out what coaching is about and how you and I relate to each other, and ask questions as to fees etc. That way, you will have the opportunity to make a knowledgeable judgment as to the cost-effectiveness of working with me. In my sample call I do not give any kind of sales pitch – the focus is entirely on giving you the benefit of a coaching session, so there is really nothing to lose. After you’ve been coached you’ll be in a better position to judge whether the fee is an appropriate investment in your future progress.
Will a coach take responsibility for my being successful?
Absolutely not! Your success is your responsibility, and a good coach will help you to recognize that. A coach will walk beside you as you decide where you want to go, what you want to achieve, and how you want to achieve it, not by telling you these things, but by helping you to explore your strengths, and by giving you honest feedback. If necessary s/he may need to help you decide where you are now, which is essential before you can decide how to get anywhere. A coach will also help you to discover and evaluate the various options open to you, and what steps are needed to pursue them. However, a coach cannot make decisions or take those steps for you, cannot do the work for you, and therefore cannot be responsible for your success.
Who decides if I’m “successful”? What criterion for success is used?
The client is always the person who makes such decisions. Some clients may hire a coach for a specific project or goal and when this is achieved, they may decide to discontinue. I have worked with clients for as short a time as six weeks, because the focus was on a specific project which they were able to complete in that time. Others may choose a coach because they want an ongoing partner or objective sounding-board, so that for them the relationship is successful as long as it is working. They sometimes feel that they gain so much from the relationship that they choose to continue working with the coach over a period of years.
Where does spirituality fit into coaching?
That depends on the client and his or her interests and issues, and on whether spirituality is an area in which the coach works. Some clients want to be coached on specific issues having nothing to do with spirituality, and that is fine with me. If the issues relate specifically to career, or life path, or financial organization, then that is where our coaching will go. On the other hand, some spiritual explorers want to be able to discuss their ideas, or to receive a guided meditation, as part of their coaching session, and they come to me because they know that I have some experience in this field. For one client, I ended every session with a guided meditation for well over two years. For others, such topics are never mentioned. As with everything else in coaching, the client makes the choices.
How is this different from counseling or therapy?
In psychotherapy it is assumed that there is a problem so that the client needs healing from some emotional problem or wound. The psychotherapist is seen as a guide to healing and the goal is to make the client well and healthy. In coaching, on the other hand, the client is seen as already being a well and healthy person who can actively partner with the coach in seeking ways to grow and move forward with his/her life.
I’m interested! What’s my next step?
Check out my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you, and to learn how I can best be of service as a coach.
Have questions that you do not see here? Contact me directly and I will answer to the best of my ability. Who knows, your question may end up on this page.