12 Questions you have about Coaching but didn’t know who to ask
Q 1: What is coaching?
Coaching is a unique one-on-one partnership in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires individuals to maximize their personal and professional potential, and utilized their resources . More importantly, it helps people learn more about themselves so that they can act, rather than react , and make conscious choices that suit their values and goals in life regardless of which area of life is in question (family life, romantic life, career, health…etc.).
As coaches, we empower our clients and believe they are naturally creative and resourceful . We support them by sharing our skills and resources with them, by being their partner on their road to self-discovery and by holding them responsible and accountable.
Q 02: What are common reasons to work with a coach?
Do any of these statements sound familiar:
I don’t know what I want to do with my life.
My life seems out of balance.
I have dreams and goals that seem to be out of reach.
I lack clarity or am unhappy with my life.
I have no control over my life.
I would like to improve my relationship with others
My team is not delivering good results
Q 3: What is a coach’s role?
I once met a person who said they were a coach. “People come to me with their problems and I solve it for them” This is NOT a coach.
Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs.
Coaches do not tell you what to do or give advice
They remain neutral and objective
They provide suggestions (which the client does not have to follow);
They challenge the client’s limited beliefs, fears and thought process;
They encourage client self-discovery;
They empower their clients to get in touch with their resources to solve their own challenges.
Q 04: Life coach, business coach, relationship coach…. What’s the difference?
Here is another little secret that is not really a secret: there is not much difference. Coaching is coaching regardless of the goal or area of life being addressed. The difference is that specialty or niche might indicate where the coaches’ interest and experience lies. It is also used as a marketing tool to help people find a coach.
Areas of life affect each other so it is natural that while you are being coached in one area of life that an issue in another area presents itself. For example, a business coach might coach the client on issues related to family life. Or a client, who has a relationship coach, might notice that she would like to start her own business and would want some coaching in business.
Q 05 : How is coaching distinct from other service professions?
Professional coaching focuses on an individual's life as it relates to goal setting, outcome creation and personal change management.
One may have a therapist and life coach simultaneously.
Coaching honors that clients are the experts on their lives.
Coaching believes that we are whole, perfect and complete.
Coaching relationship is not about fixing something or someone but about reaching a goal.
Coaching focuses on the present while using the past as a point of reference.
Q 06: What is the coaching process like?
The coaching process is flexible therefore it depends on the agreement between the coach and client.
Generally speaking, a session lasts for about 50 – 60 minutes and tends to be one session a week.
Coaching session can take place over the phone, online video calls or in-person. Each method or platform has its advantages and disadvantages.
A lot of people have reservation about non-face-to-face- sessions. This is very normal and understandable. However, these sessions can be as effective as in-persons because coaches are trained to listen and were most likely also trained and coached to handle over the phone or video calls sessions. (Discuss this point with the coach you are interviewing and see what kind of solutions you can agree on. If you feel you absolutely must have in-person sessions, then honor that wish and make sure you find a coach in your area who uses this platform).
Some coaches restore to sessions via text chats. This still remains unpopular and not preferred given that a lot of miscommunication can occur and is added work to both the client and the coach.
While coaching occurs one-on-one, it is possible to have sessions with two or more people (such as in group and family coaching)
Coaches may also facilitate workshops
It is VERY normal to feel nervous about calling a coach. This is not easy so congratulate yourself on this huge step.
Q 07 : How long would I need coaching?
This is a difficult question to answer because coaching depends on the person more than it depends on the coach.
Generally, it takes about 3 to 6 months for new habits to develop.
Some people have specific goals and end their coaching sessions once they have reach these goals.
Some coaching goals are a bit more complex
In other cases, the coaching process brings out other issues which the client chooses to address.
Many people work with a coach for a while and stop when they have reached their goals yet have on and off session every now or there when needed.
Here is a little secret that is not really a secret: even coaches have coaches. :D
Q 08 : Am I ready for coaching?
If you are reading this , chances are that you would like to make some changes to your life. congratulations !!! :) This is a big step and a scary one for me.
You have a desired outcome.
You find it valuable to collaborate with someone in order to have another viewpoint
You are ready to devote time, energy and resources to making real changes in your work or life
The brain is very powerful and might tell you that you are not ready or that coaching is not needed . The choice is yours however, this might also be a perfect opportunity to challenge your brain or current beliefs and do something different.
Q 09: How do I choose an effective coach?
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT FEELING AND FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCT.
Much like any relationship, coaching is a two-way relationship that requires a level of trust, transparency and chemistry.
Spend some time researching coaches.
Ask yourself what aspects are important to you. For example: Is the gender of the coach important? Session platform (discussed above), language, religion…etc. There is no right or wrong answer.
Interview the coach and feel free to ask any questions related to their credential or experience. Many coaches tend to interview their potential clients as well.
Just like with any other profession, a new coach might not have enough years of experience but can still be a very good coach.
Check in with yourself on how you feel during and after the call/meeting with the coach.
We each have our own values, priories and interpretation in life. Your objective coach will be sensitive to your personal values and priorities and coach you accordingly
Be aware of what assumptions you have about coaches and how much of it is just your views on life. For example, your coach might have a different view on what a healthy life style is or make personal life choices that are different from yours. Different values and priorities should not affect the coaching process.
If you feel your coach is pushing towards a specific direction you might not agree with, then perhaps you should start looking for another coach. But first address this issue with your coach and see what happens. After all, this is a relationship and issues are bound to happen in any relationship
Q 10: How is coaching regulated and what is the ICF ?
Until now, most countries of the world do not have a regulating body that governs life coaching as a profession. Unfortunately, this means that anyone can claim to be a life coach.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the biggest organization for professional coaches has put forth some guidelines and standards for coaches. It also tried to regulate and govern what credentials a life coach must have.
Their search engine might be a start to find coaches in your geographical area and figure out the areas in your life you would like to work on.
It is noteworthy to mention that not all coaches feel the need to be credentialed by ICF. Therefore, being an ICF member does not reflect on a coach’s capabilities or credentials. Also, being a member does not guarantee that the coach and client are compatible.
One benefit of working with ICF coach is that we can be reported if we breech ethical and confidentiality agreements. As a result , we could lose our membership. To file a complain against an individual coach : https://coachfederation.org/icf-ethics
Click on the logo to learn more about ICF
Q 11: What do I do if I want a coach, but I can’t afford it?
Through out my years of coaching, i have noticed that many times people have limited funding for coaching because they prefer to spend it on other things that are more important to them for the time being . That is perfectly alright so be honest and ask yourself "How important is seeking coaching and reaching my goals important for me ?" Where there is a will there is a way. Saying this, don’t let the issue of money (or lack of it) stand in your way.
You have been such a good reader (and this is a very long post) that I am giving you another little secret that is not really a secret: talk with the coach and see if they have a payment plan. Many coaches agree to reduce their fee in an exchange for a service (bartering: exchange of services or goods for other services or good without using money). This is perfectly legal.
For instance, one coach was working with a flower shop owner who couldn’t afford coaching. They agreed that she would reduce her fees in exchange for weekly flower arrangements.
This might also be a great issue to address during coaching sessions. A lot of us have very unhealthy relationships with money and have never even considered it as an issue.
The mind is very powerful in protecting us and coaching can be perceived as a threat. Therefore, the mind will find any excuse to make it impossible for us to seek change. So, talk with your potential coach. She/he is your ally and will appreciate your honesty and expression of vulnerability.
Q 12: How Do I Become a Coach?
First, start out by asking yourself: Why I do I want to be a life coach?
Being a coach requires a lot of dedication whether it’s to gain the needed skills or enhance and develop these skills. Life coaching programs could take up anywhere from a weekend (not recommended if you are planning on becoming a professional coach) to up to a year.
Online search might become incredibly overwhelming so here are some things you can do:
Check the ICF web page for chapters in your area and for accredited programs;
Contact coaches in your area and ask them directly about their experience. Some would be more than happy to assist.
Whether you decide to hire a coach or be a coach, remember that you are you exactly where you need to be <3