There’s a lot of buzz about Coaching.
To be clear, this isn’t about sports coaching. It’s about business, career and life coaching.
Chances are you know someone who has a coach, is a coach or wants to be a coach.
What’s the deal?
It’s simple. Coaching works.
Here are some questions potential clients ask…
My life is going along fine – why would I need a coach?
Coaching clients are smart, successful people. They seek coaching to become even better versions of themselves.
Think about it. We live in a service economy. We hire landscapers to mow the lawn, auto mechanics to keep the car running and personal trainers to get our bodies in shape. Yet we don’t service our goals and dreams. They languish for years and that inner voice keeps asking why we haven’t moved forward. Or sometimes we are stuck and need a way to get the ball rolling. THAT’S why people hire coaches!
Who is a typical coaching client?
In short, it can be anyone. Anyone who wants to improve their life. Coaching helps clients set plans into motion, achieve goals, or get “unstuck” from situations that block their success.
What’s the difference between coaching, counseling and therapy?
Coaching is forward focused. What do you want to achieve? What steps do you need to take? What barriers could get in the way? What self-limiting beliefs need to be examined?
There are two more key differences:
One, counseling and therapy delve into the past to address emotional issues or dysfunction. Coaching will touch on the past when it’s helpful to move the client towards their goals. Two, the counselor or therapist leads each session and is “in charge” of directing the discussion. Coaching is a partnership where the client decides the topic and direction for each session.
When a coach recognizes a client could benefit from therapy, he or she is ethically obligated to suggest a referral to a licensed professional. Coaches are not trained to handle such issues.
Confidentiality is an important aspect of each modality. Coaching sessions are confidential. The coach may not share their clients’ identities with anyone.
Describe a typical coaching session.
The coach asks the client their focus for the session. Together they explore the client’s desired outcome and how the client will know it was achieved.
The coach actively listens, asks questions to deepen the client’s thinking. This helps the client gain new awareness.
As the session progresses, the coach will check in to see if the client is on track with their stated outcome/goal. This holds the client accountable to their actions.
The session wraps up with the client claiming their learning/awareness. Also, they commit to taking specific actions before the next session.
The power of coaching occurs between sessions. The client takes actions towards their goals with tangible results.
How long does a coaching relationship last?
It depends on the client and their goals.
A three-month engagement is recommended. The client experiences the power of coaching because they’ve begun to enjoy tangible results during this time.
Some people need coaching for a short-term goal such as finding a new job. Others prefer an ongoing relationship to address new challenges as they arise.
How often do we meet — and where?
Again, it depends on the client, but many prefer two sessions per month for 30 to 60 minutes.
The client and coach will agree on where they’ll meet. The majority of coaching is via phone or Skype because it’s time efficient.
But, isn’t coaching over the phone impersonal?
Not at all. A good coach can “hear” what’s not being said even over the phone. There are no distractions and the coach’s focus is on the client. About 75% of my clients work with me via phone and they get very positive results.
How does a client know whether the coaching worked?
All coaching relationships begin with establishing an overall agreement of the goals the client wants to achieve over the next three to six months. Think of the overall agreement as a roadmap to get from Point A (desired goals) to Point B (measurable outcomes).
For example, a client has four goals for coaching. They want to be a better leader, better organized, improve their relationship and get into shape. The client outlines their goals along with the measures of success for each one. Using the example above, the client’s desired outcomes could include a promotion, consistently clean desk, a date night each week with their significant other and going to the gym three times a week. Coaching is successful when these goals are met.
The client decides their goals, their desired outcomes and the order/priority to work on each one. The coach’s role is to help the client stay on track and accountable to their goals, recognize barriers getting in the client’s way, challenge their thinking and help them claim their learning.
What should I look for when hiring a coach?
One of the most important factors is chemistry. Do you feel comfortable with the coach? Do you trust them? Is this someone you can open up to and share your innermost thoughts?
Will the coach challenge you and help you create accountability?
Do you need a coach with specialized expertise? Keep in mind there are excellent coaches who may not have experience in your field; yet they know how to ask questions that will move you forward.
Most coaches are willing to do an introductory 30 to 60 minute complimentary session so you can get a feel for their style and see if there’s a good “fit.”
Is there required training or certification to become a coach?
The short answer is no.
Now, the longer answer.
There are a lot of talented, experienced coaches who have not been formally trained or certified. However, over the past 20 years, a lot has been done to develop the coaching profession. One of the oldest and most respected organizations is ICF – the International Coach Federation. There are approximately 75,000 ICF members, many of whom have earned their ICF coaching certification.
Numerous training programs are available and they vary in rigor. Many are accredited by ICF. The internet is your friend when it comes to researching the various programs.
(I received my coach training at University of Miami, belong to ICF, adhere to their Code of Conduct and have earned their Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential.)
How can I find more information?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to answer your questions!