What is coaching?

Whenever people hear the word coach they often think of an old fashioned horse-drawn carriage or a person who helps athletes and sports teams succeed. But coaches are also needed to help people along the road of life to become all they were created to be in their personal and/or professional lives.  Coaching is designed to address issues the person being coached would like to consider. These could include (but are not limited to) career development, relationship enhancement, spiritual growth, lifestyle management, life balance, decision making, movement through transitions, or the achievement of short-term or long-term goals. 

A coach can be a useful resource to anyone who wants to:

  • Move forward in some area of their life 
  • Get unstuck
  • Know themselves better
  • Set and meet goals
  • Uncover their God-given gifts and strengths
  • Discover their life purpose
  • Expand their vision for the future

In summary, coaches partner with people to help them move forward from where they are towards where they want to be. 

How does coaching differ from counseling?

Unlike counseling or therapy:

  • Coaching is less about problem solving, and more about helping people reach theirpotential.
  • Coaching is less about helping people overcome the past, and more about helping people build vision and move toward the future.
  • Coaching is less abouthealing, and more about growing
  • Coaching focuses less on overcomingweaknessesand more on building strengths.
  • Coaching entails less givingadvice and more asking questionsto stimulate reflection and awareness in the client.
  • Usually coaching is less formal than the counselor/counselee relationship; more often it is a partnershipbetween two equals, one of whom has experiences, perspectives, skills, or knowledge that can be useful to the other.

How does coaching work?

Coaching is a dynamic and confidential relationship that is client centered. That means the client sets the agenda for each session and is considered the “expert” of their own life who has within them the answers they need. My job, as the coach, is to simply draw that out during the coaching conversation. Every coaching situation is unique, but each coaching session usually entails some aspects of the following key elements that form the coaching process:

  1. Exploring the issues.A coach will help a person identify what areas in which he or she wants to grow or change. Sometimes the person wants to be a better leader, a better parent, or someone with a clearer perspective about where to go in the future. Christians in coaching may seek to determine where God appears to be leading them to go.
  • Deepening awarenessA coach will ask questions to draw out of the client a deeper sense of who they are and where they are atpresent. What are his or her strengths, weaknesses, abilities, interests, passions, spiritual gifts, values, worldviews, and hopes? Often the coach will use assessment tools to enable people to learn more about themselves.
  • Dreaming up a vision. Coaches assist individuals or organizations in dreaming about what they couldbe. If nothing held them back, what would they do/be/pursue? This opens up a person’s mind and heart to imagine what is possible. The coaching process will work towards this vision.
  • Brainstorming possible strategies.There are often many ways to reach any one vision. A coach will assist the client in coming up with different possible avenues the person could take to take steps that will bring them closer to their vision.
  • Setting goals.A coach provides support to the client in choosing the best way forward and setting specific and realistic goals that can be measured and reached.
  • Designing action steps.Some goals can feel big and daunting, but a coach helps the client break goals down into weekly action steps.  
  • Creating accountability. A coach helps the client to come up with their own accountability structures that provide the support and encouragement they need to help them follow through with what they set out to do. 
  • Experiencing inner change. Good coaches know that sometimes the best way to help is by observing and pointing out beliefs or behavior patterns that may be hindering a person’s growth. When these “under the surface” areas are addressed, the person experiences internal shifts that then influences how they see themselves and their place in the world.

All in all, coaching is an exciting partnership where the coach comes alongside the client to help move them towards meaningful change, development and discovery in their lives. 

How often do we meet?

Frequency of sessions can depend on what the client is working towards. Some clients prefer to meet every week to stay motivated and keep the momentum going. Other clients prefer to meet every two weeks to have more time to reflect and work on their actions steps. It is really up to the client, but the minimum frequency suggested in order for coaching to be effective is one session per month.  This will be discussed and agreed upon between the coach and the client.

How do we meet?

Coaching sessions can happen in person, over the phone or video call using web apps such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and Facetime. I use a scheduling app called Calendly to make scheduling in different time zones as easy as possible.

How much does it cost?

During the time I am working towards my professional coaching credential with the International Coach Federation, I am only charging half the price of regular fees. This will be discussed in our discovery call.

How many sessions am I committing to?

I encourage clients to commit to 8 sessions with a halfway check-in point. This can be discussed and adapted if necessary.

What is expected of me as the client?

The client is responsible for setting the agenda for each session. That means they come to each session with a topic or issue they want coaching around. They have spent some time before the session thinking about how they would like to use the coaching session. I offer a brief Session Preparation Form to help clients come up with a coachable topic before the session, which is not required but highly encouraged as it helps the client focus their thoughts and helps the coach better prepare for the session. Clients are also expected to do their best in accomplishing their action steps between sessions. There also may be some assessments to complete as part of growth and awareness.

What are your credentials as a coach?

I have completed over 75-hours of coach specific training and am working towards my professional coaching credential with the International Coach Federation (ICF), which is widely considered the ‘golden standard’ of professional coaching. I hope to earn my Associate Coaching Credential (ACC) by the end of 2019. I have a qualified mentor coach who observes my coaching and gives me feedback. I myself receive coaching on a regular basis, so I never lose touch with what it’s like to be the client and do the hard but worthwhile work!

What kind of ethical standards are used in coaching?

I follow the 11 core competencies set out by the ICF to ensure professional and ethical coaching guidelines and standards are being upheld.

How does your faith/worldview play into coaching?

Coaching is done with the assumption that each person in the relationship is guided by his or her values and beliefs. As a Christian myself who holds a master’s degree in Christian Theology, one of my passions is talking with people about God and their faith journey. I enjoy doing this with any clients who request this kind of openness about spirituality in our coaching relationship. However, I respect the different values and beliefs of others and welcome clients from all backgrounds, cultures and religions. Some of my most enjoyable coaching relationships have been with those with whom I do not share the same worldview or religion.

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