FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How is Coaching Different from Mentoring, Consulting, Therapy or Training?

My response is borrowed from the International Coaching Federation:

Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions.

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.

How Does the Coaching Process Work?

The first step is to complete some initial paperwork (an assessment) so that I know you and I are a good fit and I can meet your needs.

If I approve your application, we schedule a complimentary 20-minute consultation, either in person or via Zoom. We discuss some of the opportunities and challenges that you want to focus on and your broad goals for coaching. I will review the scope of life coaching and how a coaching relationship works. We’ll discuss which package best works for you and scheduling. Based on this session, I will prepare a Coaching Agreement, if and when you decide to move forward.

Next, you will have your opportunity to review the Coaching Agreement. The agreement includes your priorities for action and initial desires outcomes.

If the agreement is amenable to you, you sign it, make your payment, and we move forward with the first official session!

Based on the Agreement, we continue with 1-hour coaching sessions. Some sessions may need to be longer in order for us to use specific tools, so we will make arrangements accordingly. Most clients prefer to have sessions once a week.

Between scheduled coaching sessions, I may ask you to complete specific actions in support of the goals listed in your Agreement, or new ones that come up during sessions. I will often share additional resources that will be useful to your personal/professional growth, such as relevant articles, assessments, rituals, personal activities, checklists, or models to support your thinking and actions. 

Sessions will take place in one of the following ways, per your choice:

  • via Zoom
  • in person (in my Baltimore office)
  • outside, if you wish, keeping in mind the level of privacy you may need and desire. 

How long you wish to continue the coaching relationship will vary on your coaching package and your needs and preferences.

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