What is coaching?

Coaching is best described as 'a conversation with a purpose'.

As your coach, I will deploy my skills to help you address specific personal projects, development needs, or general conditions in your professional life. Other potential applications of coaching conversations include goal clarification, idea generation, prioritising and creating a plan of action.

I will ask you questions, listen to what you're saying, and encourage you to reflect in order to gain different perspectives on your challenges. Some of these questions may sometimes push you outside of your comfort zone, but they will always be asked with positive intent, with your best interests in mind.

How does coaching work?

As you may see from the above video - coaching is about focusing on you as the key 'player' in the coaching partnership. The understanding is that you are the best person to clarify your goals, anticipate obstacles, and identify the path forward. As your coach I will be there to create a safe and supportive environment to allow you to do this, in a way that allows you to take ownership and commit to next steps.

As illustrated in the video, I may decide to introduce a variety of tools to help support the coaching process. These tools might include exercises, psychometric profiles, models and analogies.

Can you tell me what I should do?

As a coach, my role should never involve giving advice - this marks a key distinction between coaching (where you are the expert) and mentoring (where the mentor is the expert). However, if a coaching session ever moves into mentoring territory, this will be clearly labelled and we will make a decision together about how best to proceed.

Is coaching a bit like therapy?

Coaching is primarily focused on the future - your future, to be precise. Whilst some other personal development approaches attribute value in looking at the past (relationships, experiences, emotions etc), this generally falls within the realms of counselling or therapy. If, in any coaching session, it appears that you may benefit from counselling instead of coaching or mentoring, I can make some recommendations of who you might approach for this.

How long will it take?

Typically a single coaching session will last between 60-90 minutes, including time for a 5-10 minute debrief at the end of the session. Sometimes a session may take less time than expected, if a natural conclusion to the conversation is reached, and we both agree that it feels right to bring things to a close.

What happens after a coaching session?

After a coaching session you may have a number of points that you agreed to work on, think about, or talk-over with someone else. Reviewing these points will form the basis for the start of our next coaching session, along with any other issues/areas that you want to explore.

Usually coaching is delivered in a series of 5-6 sessions, which might take place over the course of 6-12 months. You may find that you require coaching more/less-regularly depending on your needs at the time.

Privacy & confidentiality

I will work within the professional ethics and guidelines as designated by the International Coaching Federation (see www.coachfederation.org). All information about the coach/client relationship will remain strictly confidential except in very rare circumstances where decreed by law.

A formal coaching contract will be drawn-up before we begin a coaching partnership, which will also describe the roles/responsibilities of the coach, coaching client and (if appropriate) the organisation’s sponsor. With all three relationships the terms of privacy and confidentiality will be clearly described. For example - even if someone else is paying the fee for coaching, they do not have the right to hear what was discussed in the coaching environment, nor have any say as to what should be discussed. They may, however, want to know what you as the coaching client have decided to do as a result of the session(s) so that they can provide appropriate support and encouragement.

You can, at any point in a coaching session, declare your preference not to discuss something, by simply stating that you would rather not discuss this issue. I agree to respect this boundary and will not attempt to forward the conversation further along those lines.

If you wish for me as your coach to speak to someone outside of our interactions, then I will require written permission (letter or email) to do so. Exceptions to confidentiality would relate to circumstances where serious intent to harm yourself or others arises. Otherwise, you can be assured that all your information will be kept entirely confidential.

It can be helpful to record the audio from coaching sessions so that certain words/phrases/descriptions can be captured verbatim. If any coaching sessions are being recorded, you and I will be the only individuals who have access to the recordings, and they will be permanently deleted after 12 months.

Why book a coaching session with me?

There are many different types of coaches available, and all bring their own style to a coaching relationship. To download a one-page summary of my profile as a coach, click here.

Meanwhile - here are a selection of testimonials from some of my recent coachees: