Frequently Asked Questions About Coaching
What is the difference between a coach, a mentor, a therapist, and a consultant?
A coach is someone who helps you achieve your highest and best self. Coaching work is usually present and future focused, aiming to help you identify and achieve a desired future state. A coach can help you manage your career, navigate complex organizations, and learn the basic blocking and tackling of leadership.
A mentor is someone who helps you advance inside an organization or an industry. For example, while a coach may be able to advise you on the types of people you should connect with to advance your career, a mentor will be able to actually identify names and, often, make introductions. While a coach will help you understand the general nuances of complex organizations, a mentor will help you understand the specific nuances and politics of your organization.
A therapist is a is a licensed mental health professional who helps people develop better cognitive and emotional skills, reduce symptoms of mental illness and cope with various challenges. While a coach in the present with an eye towards the future, a therapist helps you examine repeated patterns and behaviors and heal the past. (For more on the amazing depth of work that a therapist can do, see What Is a Therapist [Psychotherapist]? – The Complete Definition.)
A consultant is someone who brings to the table a broad range of training and experience in complex organizations to help you solve problems. They are good at helping you fix issues and achieve results. With many years of experience in an array of organizations and industries, I sometimes slip into consulting mode during coaching sessions. I do my best to let you know which hat I am wearing at any given time.
What is the length of a coaching engagement?
We work together for as long as long as you want to continue working together. While you can always cancel at any time, I recommend an initial commitment of at least three months to allow the relationship to take root and for results to begin to materialize.
Personal growth happens in a rhythm of ebbs and flows. I have developed a coaching style that works at varying levels of intensity to leverage these rhythms. Most people start out with a sprint of intense work that lasts three to six months. After that, they typically taper off to less frequent sessions until they are ready to sprint into another spurt of growth. During the less intense periods we may connect once a month, once a quarter, or even once a year, just to stay in touch.
My goal is for you to know that you always have someone in your corner who understands you, knows what you are working on, and has figured out how to help you move forward. Regardless of the current intensity of our work together, I am always standing by, ready to help you get to that next level.
How long is each session?
Most regular coaching last sessions last 50 – 60 minutes.
How often do we meet?
The intensity of good coaching work ebbs and flows. In general, we connect once per week, usually by phone. In between sessions we may explore short topics or deepen the learning through shorter calls, emails, or text messages for quick questions, in-the-moment coaching, or follow-up.
Do we have to meet in person or can we meet virtually?
I have found that coaching works surprisingly well when we connect via a voice call — telephone, Skype, WhatsApp, or whatever works for you. I encourage you to get into a quiet place before each call, find your center, and calm your mind before before you dial. I do the same. Two people, engaged with intention, and linked only by the sound of their voices, can have a powerful connection.
When geography and schedules align, face to face coaching sessions are a treat. However, they can take significantly more time and effort for us to navigate to a common location. Of the 70+ people I have had the privilege of working with over the years, less than 10% involved face-to-face sessions. Even more amazing is that I have yet to meet more than half of the people I have ever worked with.
Some people ask about coaching via video call. I am happy to try it if you are interested. However, I have found that video conferencing technology to be more of a distraction than an enabler. Looking at the screen rather than the camera means our eye contact is always a bit off. As I mention above, I find a simple voice connection to be the most powerful.
Will you report back to my manager?
I do not share the content of our conversations with anyone.
In the case where your company or your manager pays the bill, I provide a status / progress report on a regular basis reporting on the goals they had for the engagement. Even then, I only report back in sweeping generalities of our work together.
How much does it cost?
The cost varies depending on a wide variety of factors. See the Programs and Pricing page for more information.
I strive to be helpful at whatever level you can afford. In addition to one-on-one coaching, here are some additional resources that are
- There is a wealth of information available for free on this website. Check out the blog, the Resources page, and be sure to sign up for the newsletter.
- My book contains a decade’s worth of insights on careers, leadership, and building professional relationships.
- I am developing a series of online courses that will be available in spring 2022. Sign up for the newsletter to learn when they become available.
I am willing to work on a sliding scale. Drop me a note on the Contact page if you would like to know more.
Are our conversations confidential?
I promise that all or your information and all our conversations will be kept strictly confidential. I never disclose the substance of any conversation with anyone. Further, I never even reveal that you are a coaching client unless you have done so first, or you have given me permission to do so.
What are your cancellation policies?
While I recommend an initial sprint of three months, you can cancel at any time. I bill at the end of the month and only after you have accumulated the equivalent of a full month of coaching sessions.