Here are answers to some of the most common questions people ask me about personal and executive coaching

You’re a coach? What sport?

Although most commonly linked with athletics, coaching isn’t confined to a playing field or indoor court. I see myself as being similar to a soccer coach. The soccer coach can’t get in the game with the players but stands at the sidelines and helps each player excel in playing the game. Similarly, I stand at the sidelines of people’s lives and help them excel at being the best they can be. Coaching is seen by many as the highest evolution of adult learning. Often it takes talking with someone outside of the game of your life, someone not in your chain of command, to help you see the goalposts you may be missing.

What can I expect if I hire you as my coach?

Every client and every situation is different, but if you become one of my coaching clients, we’ll focus on helping you accomplish your goals. We’ll also explore your natural talents, using the Highlands Ability Battery. Initially, we often focus on fundraising goals. But this is your time. Many clients quickly decide to use our time for leadership and management coaching as well.

Typically we have three calls per month, allowing you to do homework over the fourth week. I generally don’t contract for less than six months at a time.

So you’re sort of my own personal consultant or trainer?

Yes and no. When I’m consulting and training, I am expected to provide answers to problems and training in techniques. This happens during coaching too. But as a coach, I’m more interested in asking questions and helping you stir them up from your own wisdom and life experience. Consulting and training are useful and I can be hired to provide those. These are like “giving a person a fish.” But coaching is more like teaching a person how to fish. People see great results from the first, but they see amazing transformation with the latter.

Are you a therapist or counselor?

No. Therapists and counselors often focus on the past. They are trained to seek things in your past that are causing current dysfunction. They are often gifted at helping you heal past hurts or deal with current weaknesses. This is a very important service and one that I am not trained in. If I feel you would benefit from therapy or counseling, I am committed to referring you to the best professionals I know. Mine is more of a “present-future” focus. I’m interested in helping you build on your strengths and achievements to help you leverage your growth and development.

So you’re pretty similar to a mentor?

Sometimes the term mentor is used synonymously with coaching. But more often than not, mentoring is career focused and is interested in creating a replica of the mentor in the mentee. Sort of a “mini-me” approach.

I believe you are capable as you are. Rather than trying to create you into a coffee loving, bowtie wearing clone of me, I want to help you flourish at being your own idiosyncratic self.

What is the ROI on coaching?

Studies consistently find the ROI on money invested in coaching to be more than 300%. But don’t just take my word on it, check out these articles:

  • CompassPoint Study,

    It more than exceeded my expectations because I really doubt I’d still be here without coaching; in the face of really difficult changes in management…I got regular, reliable feedback on how I was doing during a period of change.

  • MetrixGlobalBriefing

    The Bottom Line: Coaching produced a 529% return on investment and significant
    intangible benefits to the business. Including the financial benefits from employee retention boosted the overall ROI to 788%. The study provided powerful new insights into how to maximize the business impact from executive coaching.

  • The Case for Coaching.

    Coaching paves the way for decision makers to create higher levels of organizational effectiveness through dialogue, inquiry and positive interactions. Coaching creates awareness, purpose, competence and well being among participants. Coaching is NOT another feel-good exercise based in soft skills that has no correlation to the bottom line.

So what is a coaching?

Dave Buck, one of the coaching pioneers, offers one of the best definitions I’ve heard. He says:

“Coaching is: inspiring an individual or team to produce a desired result through personalized teaching, expanding awareness, and designing environments.”

Are there people that wouldn’t benefit from coaching?

To answer this, I like the quote the folks at Franklin Covey Coaching introduced to me from Jacki Summers in “Gimme a C-O-A-C-H” in Salon Today, May 2002:

“If you are looking for any of the following, you probably should not call a coach:

  • someone to fight your battles;
  • someone to do your dirty work;
  • someone to validate your bad habits;
  • someone to console you because your mother clearly favors your sister.

Instead, coaches are committed to help you explore your strengths, shore up your weaknesses, establish your goals, and support you in your growth, all in an objective and non-judgmental way.”

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