Below are some questions about coaching that I am frequently asked.
What is coaching?
Coaching is about unlocking people’s potential to maximise their performance. I am a member of the International Coaching Federation and one of their core beliefs is that the coachee is “resourceful, whole and creative”. They have all the answers within themselves, but just need help to unlock it. At times – particularly when there is poor mental health, someone may not be creative, resourceful and whole, and that’s when therapy and counselling come in.
In practice, this means that coaching is about facilitating a learning process. I help you to find the answers for yourself. I don’t give lots of advice as a rule – and when I do, you are under no obligation to take it. The two of us work together in partnership. What I bring to the party are my coaching skills to help bring awareness to the problem and to help you create your own accountability and way forward.
How does the coaching process work?
I’ve written a blog on this so you may want to take a look here. It will tell you what you need to know about choosing a coach, what you need to do in preparation, and what happens in each session.
Is coaching the same as counselling or therapy?
No. Coaching is predominantly forward-looking and action orientated. However, that doesn’t mean that we won’t look at what you can learn from the past to help you move forward. Coaching is co-created - we work together in partnership.
Counselling is more focused on treatment and diagnosis. It is more oriented in the past, to help a client overcome trauma or something that is holding them back from functioning as “resourceful, whole and creative”. It is more psychologically based, and there will be a higher emphasis on advice and guidance.
How many sessions will I need?
It depends! (admit it - you knew I was going to say that!). I tend to see clients for between three and six sessions. Generally, it is a shorter-term solution - anything up to a year. If coaching is too long term, there can be a risk of over-reliance on the coach. However, I do have a longer-term ad-hoc “sounding board” type relationship with some of my clients.
How long is each session?
Usually, our first session will be 90 minutes and then each meeting after that is an hour long.
Do we meet in person or online?
Due to the current COVID situation, all sessions are online on Zoom, or your preferred platform. I am doing occasional “walking coaching” sessions with some clients who live very close to me.
When social distancing rules are relaxed, I can meet clients in person in Sussex, Surrey and London. This can either be at your office, in meeting rooms in my home town of Haywards Heath or another quiet location. I don’t coach in cafes or other noisy public places, where it is easy to feel inhibited about what may be heard.
What are the benefits of coaching?
Fundamentally coaching is about building awareness. This can be awareness about your strengths, your values or how you act and respond to certain situations.
That awareness can be applied to many situations. Here are just some:
A coach can help you build confidence by listening deeply to what you have to say and by helping you work on the root causes of some of the confidence issues you may have.
A coach can help you set goals for your career and keep you accountable. The process allows you to think deeply about what you want to achieve and why, and gives you tools and awareness to help understand what may sabotage your goals and what will help you achieve them.
A coach can help you think through new approaches to whatever you find challenging at work - for example, managing a team or increasing your impact with senior stakeholders. Some of that is about working with you to build confidence, but its also about helping you develop skills and think through strategies. This can lead to stronger performance and better relationships at work.
A coach can help you make decisions about your career. This may be about whether to go from promotion or whether to switch careers, roles or organisations.
Coaching also helps when you are held in old patterns of behaviour which are holding you back, are feeling “stuck” in general at work, when you want to understand yourself better and want to feel more empowered and intentional about your career.
What kinds of people do you work with?
I work with both men and women in corporate roles, who feel “stuck” in their careers. Some have been on a career break and are looking to return to work. Some are considering whether to change jobs or organisations. Some are looking to improve specific aspects of their performance at work. Some are new in the role and want to boost their confidence.
How much does coaching cost?
This depends on the number and length of sessions you have and whether the coaching includes “extras” like psychometric testing or 360-degree feedback tools. However to give you an idea, a programme of three on-line coaching sessions costs £600.
Is coaching the same as mentoring?
No. The word “mentoring” has its origins in Greek mythology, where Odysseus set out for Troy. He entrusted his house and business affairs to his son Telemachus. Still, Odysseus recognised he would need educating in how to manage everything, so he said to his friend Mentor – “tell Telemachus all you know”. And that is quite a good definition of mentoring!
Mentoring is a partnership between two individuals at different stages in their career. One is more experienced than the other and is there to pass down their wisdom, advice and guidance. A mentor helps when you have a skill deficit, want to understand organisational politics and want “supporters” in your organisation.
Can I get my organisation to pay for the coaching?
Yes, and some of my clients do this or have it paid as part of outplacement support. If this is the case, let me know, and I can give you information to give to your employer.
Does my employer need to know I am having coaching?
For my private clients, coaching is a confidential relationship between ourselves, and no-one else will know unless you tell them. (The only exception to this is if I believe you will harm yourself or others, in which case I am obliged by my Code of Ethics to let a relevant person or body know).
If I am coaching you as part of an organisational coaching programme, paid by your employer, then your line manager or sponsor will usually have some input into the goals of the coaching programme and will want some kind of feedback on whether the coaching has met those goals. This will be agreed at a “three-way” meeting between you, them and me. However, the content of our coaching conversations will still always remain confidential between you and me.