Coaching FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve boiled all your questions we’ve received over the years about coaching into four of the most asked questions. Click on the questions and see a quick-read 30-second answer followed by a more detailed explanation.

1. How can I choose the right coach?

2. How can I make sure I don’t waste my time and money with coaching?

3. I’m smart and competent — Why Would I Need a Career Coach?

4. I’m smart and competent — Why Would I Need an Executive Coach?

5. Do you work in-person, or do you coach by phone or video conference?

1. How can I choose the right coach?

The wrong coach can be someone who is a poor coach or someone who may be excellent for another person, but is not right for you. But how can you tell if a coach is right for you? One important way is to interview them (they’re really applying for the job as your coach). Listen closely to their answers, but also notice how you feel talking with them and how they interact with you.

Here are 7 questions and why they are important.

1. What makes you successful? (Use this to discover what a coach thinks is important about their education, experience, and coaching process.)

Not just a chance for someone to “brag” or to recite a resume, but really a chance for you to get a better feel for the person, how they work, and what’s important to them. If the answer sounds mechanical and too rehearsed, probe further or move on to the next coach.

2. Can I get references and testimonials.

If the answer isn’t yes, your answer to them should be no. How do you determine who are appropriate clients for you and your approach?

3. How do you determine who are appropriate clients for you and your approach?

See if this matches up with what you want. If they work with everyone, that may be fine, but you might prefer someone who is more of a specialist, dealing with your issue (for example, getting a clear vision vs. working on job skills or communication or relationship skills). Roughly speaking, for someone in my situation, about how many sessions does a person need to achieve their goals?

4. Roughly speaking, for someone in my situation, about how many sessions does a person need to achieve their goals?

This is not an exact science, but I know some coaches work with people every week or two for 6 months or even a year, while others think a fast track is usually best for empowering the client (4—8 sessions total), allowing a return for another goal and new questions after some time off. And of course, this relates to how much time and money you will be spending. What between-sessions work am I likely to do?

5. What between sessions work am I likely to do?

Typically, you will have activities to do between sessions to help move you along. What will these be like? How you will spend your time? The homework should be something you can do and would help you. I’d add that it should also be engaging and even fun, more often than not.

6. What are your fees, and what do they cover?

Not only the cost for sessions, but how long are they and what kind of support if any is there between sessions?

7. Why should I choose you?

Whatever the answer, this question can let you know what the coach focuses on, what elements of coaching he or she thinks is most important in relation to your needs. The coach may repeat the answer from number one, but hopefully something more will emerge. After all, this is the ultimate question a coach needs to answer for a potential client.

2. How can I make sure I don’t waste my time and money with coaching?

Coaching can be a waste of time and money if:

  • You don’t have clear, specific goals to measure your progress and give you direction.
  • You don’t have time to do the between-sessions work.
  • You aren’t committed enough to your own goals. Using a 1-10 scale (10 is highest), ask yourself how committed you are to getting the results you want. Did you say 9 or 10? You’re ready. 6 or under? Probably not now. In between? Let’s talk.
  • You’re not working with the right coach FOR YOU.

 

3. I’m smart and competent — Why would I need a Career Coach?

Being smart and competent will help you during coaching. But those qualities don’t tell you if you need a coach. That boils down to just 3 questions.

  1. Usually, are you eager to go to work, basically feeling fulfilled by your job/career?
    1. If you said yes, you don’t need coaching. If you said no go to the next question…
  2. Do you know what different job/career would truly excite you?
    1. If you said no, coaching can help. If you said yes…
  3. Are you making progress toward that different, exciting job/career as fast as you want?
    1. If yes, you don’t need coaching. If no, coaching can help.

More specifically, people turn to coaching for the following reasons:

1. They want to find a new career because

  • The current one is not satisfying enough
  • The current one is enjoyable but not feeling meaningful enough
  • It’s time to move on to a career that builds on what they’ve learnedThey have other career dreams or want to use other talents and passions

2. They aren’t acting on their career goals quickly or effectively enough because

  • They need help coming up with a realistic plan.
  • They want help figuring out how to overcome difficulties along the way.
  • They want help staying on track and not getting distracted.

3. They want out a better job in the same career. They want to determine what kind of job would:

  • Be more fulfilling
  • Be less stressful
  • Be a better challenge
  • Be a better fit
  • Allow more learning and growth
  • Be the next step forward.

4. During a job search, they need help with

  • Interviewing skills
  • Resume writing
  • Networking

If any of these issues describe you, a coach can help. You might want to see if you are making good, regular progress on your own (and with the help of your support network/community) before seeking out a coach. There are also classes, such as the lifework programs we offer. And in some states, like Minnesota where we’re located, you can find extensive resources free, especially if you are a dislocated (laid off) worker.

But if you are not solving your challenges and one-on-one support is appealing, then a coach makes sense. If you want a creative approach to coaching, feel free to contact me.

4. I’m smart and competent — why would I need a Leadership or Executive Coach?

Being smart and competent will help you during coaching. But those qualities don’t tell you if you need an executive coach. That boils down to four key questions

  • Are you and those who evaluate you happy with your performance?
  • Are you advancing in your career as rapidly as you’d like and in the directions you’d like?
  • Are you keeping up with the people skills you need in an ever changing environment?
  • Are you able to resolve issues in a timely and effective manner?

If you can answer yes to all these questions, you probably don’t need coaching. If no, coaching can help.

Smart and competent executives recognize they need to continually assess their success and skill levels and improve them where it will have the greatest impact. Sometimes training is the right answer. Sometimes one-on-one coaching. Often, combining the two, especially through a competent coach, gets the quickest results as you get to move along at your pace and not a classroom pace.

Typical areas where coaching can help include:

  • Communication skills
  • Creative problem solving and visioning
  • Interpersonal Dynamics
  • Learning Styles
  • Mentoring skills
  • Motivational Skills

Coaching can also help executives and leaders wade through any messy or complex situations and challenges, helping clients find clarity, insight and direction. This is particularly useful for clients who need to resolve problems and can’t always find others in their organizations who can help them.

If you want a creative approach to leadership, contact me about executive coaching.

5. Do you work in-person, or do you coach by phone or video conference?

Yes–We can work any of those ways. Most people in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area (including suburbs such as St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Brooklyn Park, etc.) tell me they prefer in-person coaching as they are nearby.

If further away, then let’s Skype or use Google video or phone to work together. I’ve worked in all these ways and would be happy to discuss what is best for you.