Questions about coaching

Coaching Q & A

You might have got as far as thinking that working with a coach could benefit you, and you might have started doing a bit of research.   There are many coaching services on offer and so many different titles, terms and descriptions, it’s easy to be confused about what might work for you.

Here are some, hopefully, useful answers that might guide you towards choosing the coach to work with.

I think I’d like to work with a coach. Where do I start?

Business owner wanting to grow?

There are many business coaches and many differ in terms of services offered.  Some will offer business advice and will be more mentoring and advisory in their approach, others will work by guiding you towards making decisions and changes that you have shaped yourself.  Which type you choose depends on how you best like to work.  Good business advice is hugely useful, as is having someone who asks questions and lets you come to your own decisions through research and planning. Some coaches offer a combination of both styles. You can be clear with a coach which style you prefer and ask them how they work. When you come to doing online research into coaches, keep these points in mind.

As a business owner myself, I work with clients to work out exactly what they want from their business and then help them put plans in place to make this happen, addressing obstacles and finding solutions.  If a client asks me what I might advise, I will answer honestly.  I will also ask questions that will get them thinking more openly about possibilities, so that they don’t limit themselves and their business. When running your own business, it can be a challenge to get unbiased feedback and a coach is the ideal person to discuss ideas and challenges openly and without judgement.

Business leader looking to improve leadership skills

Again, there will be coaches who will offer a more mentoring style, and others who will ask questions that lead you to your own decisions.  Both should offer useful tools and techniques that will help you be a confident leader.  A coach could also help you find ways of balancing a senior position and the responsibility that comes with it, with a stress-free life and enough time to enjoy life outside work. It’s important to consider what you’d like to achieve from the coaching, and how you learn and work best.  Some clients like to be held accountable and want a high level of challenge, others prefer to be gently coaxed. You will be able to discuss this with any potential coaches you meet.

When I work with clients on leadership and management skills, I will use what I know about positive psychology, NLP and offer techniques to get the results they want. I like to use humour (in the right place!) and make the experience enjoyable! I do think that stepping outside of your normal comfort zone can be immensely useful as that is often where you find the best results.

Most coaches’ websites will talk about styles, and you will be able to get a good feel for the type of people they work with. It’s worth asking colleagues and contacts also if they can recommend anyone.

The coach is not for me, it’s for a member of my team

I often get contacted by Directors and business owners who feel that a member of their team would benefit from coaching.  It may be they have lost their confidence or motivation, or might be struggling to be organised or to complete their workload.  Or they could be someone who they have identified as a potential talent and want to support to grow and take on a more senior role.  When this happens, I like to speak to both parties and to agree common goals.  I always make it clear that once this is agreed, all conversations with the the person being coached remain confidential.  If any issues arise that need to be discussed with the employer, I will suggest to the client that this happens.  It’s vital that the coachee is happy to work with a coach and see it as a great investment being made by their employer.

Most people now appreciate the opportunity to work with a coach, as it offers a chance to find ways of finding the motivation and inspiration to enjoy work. A coach is on your side and will be looking for ways to coach you to perform well and find work stimulating.

What are the practicalities?

Again, coaches work in lots of different ways. Some will ask you to commit to several months and pay up front, others ask for an hourly rate and you pay as you go. I encourage clients to commit to 6 sessions as this gives time to truly set outcomes and meet them.  One off sessions of 2 or 3 hours also work well if the client has a big decision that needs to be made and they want some perspective. As with most services, rates vary, so it’s important to ask all about this in your first conversation / meeting. Sessions can be weekly or fortnightly to being with and often a client with come back every month to ensure change is lasting. I have clients who after their initial 6 sessions, come back a few times a year when they want clarity or need to make more changes.

What about training / experience?

It’s hard to advise on qualifications.  It is worth looking on a coach’s website to see which qualifications they have and whether they are members of a coaching body.  This can be a good thing as they will work to the code of ethics of that body, and in a largely unregulated profession, this will give you peace of mind.  Have a look at testimonials, and if you still need reassurance, you could ask to speak to someone they have previously worked with.

What sort of people have a coach?

This is a question I get asked and it’s so hard to answer as there is no one type of person! I have worked with Directors of large organisations, entrepreneurs, managers, consultants, business owners – and each has worked with me for different reasons.  Some are hugely confident and want to work on their ability to focus, some might be facing a challenge in their business and want to work out what next. Often, an outwardly successful business leader turns out to feel “a fraud” and want to find ways of building their self belief.  I guess the ones that get the most out of coaching are the ones that are motivated to make the changes needed to achieve their outcomes.  They are often open to new ideas and love learning about techniques that can get them thinking and behaving differently. They understand the benefits of personal development and love the results coaching brings.  Having worked with coaches myself, I cannot stress enough the transformation that can happen when you start working with one!

I’m still interested! What should I do now?

Email me  or give me a ring and we can talk through what you’re looking to achieve. Don’t worry if you’re not absolutely clear about that – as a coach, I will ask questions that will hopefully help you work this out!