FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ABOUT MY PROFESSIONAL COACHING SERVICES

Please note, these are in random order and much of the text adapted from the website of the International Coach Federation (ICF). If you find you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

HOW IS PROFESSIONAL COACHING DIFFERENT?

Professional coaching is different from other personal or organizational support professions, as it focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change.

Sometimes it’s helpful to understand the distinction between the various approaches:

Therapy:
Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.

Consulting:
Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.
Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.

Training:
Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.

Athletic Development: Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from sports coaching. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction. Additionally, professional coaching, unlike athletic development, does not focus on behaviors that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.

WHAT ARE SOME REASONS TO WORK WITH A COACH?

Reasons to work with a coach are very diverse. An individual or team might choose to engage a coach for the situations similar to the following, although this list is certainly not exhaustive:
– Something urgent, compelling or exciting is at stake (a challenge, stretch goal or opportunity)
– A gap exists in knowledge, skills, confidence or resources
– A desire to accelerate results
– A lack of clarity with choices to be made
– Success has started to become problematic
– Work and life are out of balance, creating unwanted consequences
– Core strengths need to be identified, along with how best to leverage them

HOW IS THE SUCCESS OF THE COACHING PROCESS MEASURED?

Measuring the success of the coaching process takes a look at two distinct ways: external indicators of performance and internal indicators of success. Ideally, both are incorporated.
External Measures
Examples of external measures include achievement of coaching goals established at the outset of the coaching relationship, increased income/revenue, obtaining a promotion, performance feedback that is obtained from a sample of the individual’s constituents (e.g., direct reports, colleagues, customers, boss, the manager him/herself), personal and/or business performance data (e.g., productivity, efficiency measures). The external measures selected should be things the individual is already measuring and has some ability to directly influence.
Internal Measures
Examples of internal measures include self-scoring/self-validating assessments that can be administered initially and at regular intervals in the coaching process, changes in the individual’s self-awareness and awareness of others, shifts in thinking that create more effective actions, and shifts in one’s emotional state that inspire confidence.

WHAT DOES THE ROLE OF THE COACH LOOK LIKE IN THE COACHING PARTNERSHIP?

The coach

– Provides objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s or team’s self-awareness and awareness of others
– Listens closely to fully understand the individual’s or team’s circumstances
– Acts as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and implementing thoughtful planning and decision making
– Champions opportunities and potential, encouraging stretch and challenge commensurate with personal strengths and aspirations
– Fosters shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives
– Challenges blind spots to illuminate new possibilities and support the creation of alternative scenarios
– Maintains professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adheres to the coaching profession’s code of ethics

WHAT DOES THE ROLE OF THE CLIENT LOOK LIKE IN THE COACHING PARTNERSHIP?

The individual

– Creates the coaching agenda based on personally meaningful coaching goals
– Uses assessment and observations to enhance self-awareness and awareness of others
– Envisions personal and/or organizational success
– Assumes full responsibility for personal decisions and actions
– Utilizes the coaching process to promote possibility thinking and fresh perspectives
– Takes courageous action in alignment with personal goals and aspirations
– Engages big-picture thinking and problem-solving skills
– Takes the tools, concepts, models and principles provided by the coach and engages in effective forward actions

COACHING HAS GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY. WHAT CAUSED THIS?

There are many reasons why coaching has grown so significantly, among them:
– Rapid changes are taking place in the external business environment.
– Downsizing, restructuring, mergers and other organizational changes have radically altered the “traditional employment contract.” Companies can no longer achieve results using traditional management approaches.
– With the growing shortage of talented employees in certain industries, companies must commit to investing in individuals’ development.
– The disparity between what managers were trained to do and what their jobs now require of them is widening due to increasing demands for competitive results.
– People are wrestling with job insecurity and increased workplace pressures to perform at higher levels than ever before.
– Companies must develop inclusive, collaborative work environments to achieve strategic business goals and to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
– Individuals who have experienced the excellent results of coaching are talking to more people about it.
– People today are more open to the idea of being in charge of their own lives. Coaching helps them do just that.
– Coaching helps individuals and companies focus on what matters most in life and business, and so the industry continues to grow.

HOW CAN YOU DETERMINE IF COACHING IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

To determine if coaching is right for you or your company and how you could benefit from coaching, start by summarizing what you would expect to accomplish in coaching. When an individual or business has a fairly clear idea of the desired outcome, a coaching partnership can be a useful tool for developing a strategy for how to achieve that outcome with greater ease.

Since coaching is a partnership, ask yourself whether collaboration, other viewpoints, and new perspectives are valued. Also, ask yourself whether you or your business is ready to devote the time and the energy to making real changes. If the answer is yes, then coaching may be a beneficial way to grow and develop

When we work together, there is bound to be change!

When you are ready to explore if working with me is right for your needs, go ahead and book a 30-minute Zoom® call. It is the first step to see if my experience and skills can support your goals.

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