How long does it take?
Coaching relationships can be brief or extend over many months, depending on the client and the client’s goals. In the beginning I recommend a 3-month commitment to coaching, 2-3 times per month. This is not a contract, but a recommendation. The pace is up to the client.
How does coaching differ from therapy?
In coaching we focus on taking action in the present and future. Our focus is not on understanding the past or the underlying reasons for who we are. There are no diagnostic categories in coaching; nor is coaching a place where healing is the primary goal. Sometimes in the coaching process a subject or issue comes up for clients that I believe would be best handled by a qualified therapist. In those circumstances, I refer. I welcome referrals from therapists whose clients might benefit from coaching with me while they continue in a therapeutic relationship.
Isn’t having a coach just like having a good friend?
While a coaching experience is friendly, a coach works differently than most friends. The coach is an objective sounding board who is not invested in the client’s going in any particular direction. Coaching is about discovering the client’s agenda, values and beliefs and joining with the client to achieving goals consistent with those. Even the best friend may find it difficult to be objective when the goals involve activities that could change the friendship.
Coaching sounds like a lot of work!
Coaching is a lot of work sometimes. It also can be fun and very satisfying. No one should start a coaching relationship if they are unwilling to take on new activities, consider new possibilities or try things in new ways. Coaching conversations have a way of generating ideas, activities–possibilities. And clients who are successful in coaching get going!
Do I really need a coach?
Not if what you are doing now to move your life forward is working for you. But if you feel stuck, or want to expand your sense of what’s possible as you move forward, coaching can be very helpful. I tend to agree with good friend of mine, Sheila Smith, a nutritional counselor and coach, when she says, “There is no change without support.” Coaching is certainly not the only profession that supports change, but it has proven effective for many individuals.