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Frequently Asked Questions About Coaching

What is coaching?
Coaching is a partnership between a trained, professional coach and a client who wants to create change in one or many areas of life.  The coach encourages self-discovery, asks powerful questions, sparks ideas and challenges the client to create shifts in his or her thinking.  The emphasis is on deepening awareness and moving forward with actions. Through this process, clients gain clarity, fresh perspectives and clear results in many areas including performance, personal satisfaction and quality of life.

Isn’t coaching just the latest trend in self-help?
No, we believe professional coaching is here to stay. Life and corporate coaching, as we now define it, first emerged on the scene in the early 90’s. Since then, great strides have been made in credentialing coaches and ensuring the ethics and sustainability of the profession. The International Coach Federation (a global organization for establishing ethics, standards and an accrediting body for professional coaches) has more than 20,000 members. For more information about coaching Click Here.

Coaching is, however, currently riding a wave of popularity because it is such a powerful tool for sustained success. Executive and leadership coaching have become mainstream with results so successful coaching is now cascading down to all levels of organizations. Individuals who have hired professional coaches are experiencing success and accomplishing things in their life that they never imagined possible.

Who benefits from working with a coach?
Clients who benefit most from coaching want change and they want results. They are open to talking about themselves and willing to consider other perspectives. Initially clients often don’t know exactly what they want, just a sense of needing something more (balance, fulfillment, happiness) or something less (chaos, fatigue, frustration). Other times the results clients want are very specific. This might include a promotion at work, career change, healthier lifestyle, or help with a difficult relationship. Still other clients find their life to be good, but they want it amplified to great.

What does the coaching process look like?
The coaching process assesses where an individual is now, where they would like to be in the future, and works with them to get there. Typically the process begins with a personal interview, either face-to-face or over the phone. Most coaches use a free sample session to assess whether there is a fit between coach and potential client.  Subsequent sessions can be in person or over the telephone.  Goals are set based on what the client wants to achieve. In work settings a variety of feedback assessment tools can be conducted with a confidential summary provided to the client for discussion, performance planning and goal setting.

The coach is required to keep the coaching session completely confidential according to International Coach Federation (ICF) ethical guidelines.

How much time will I have to commit to the process?
Most clients benefit from at least two hours of focused coaching a month divided into two, three, or four sessions depending on the individual, their circumstances and the coaching focus. Between sessions, clients often have specific assignments or action steps to work on that will bring them closer to their goals. Email support is usually provided, if necessary, between coaching sessions.  Most initial coaching commitments are from six - twelve months depending on the type of coaching required.

How can the success of coaching be measured?
Early in the coaching process, the coach and client agree on the primary areas of focus for coaching as well as specific goals and desired results to measure progress. In work settings, the client’s supervisor is often involved in an initial alignment meeting to help clarify responsibilities, target performance goals and lay the groundwork for a development plan. A coaching progress review is usually conducted at frequent intervals to assess progress and modify or create new goals.

Action steps are required between most coaching sessions, resulting in ongoing measurement and accountability. As the actions steps accumulate the client becomes closer to their goals. Typically progress happens quickly, with observable results within weeks.

How is coaching different from therapy or consulting?
Coaching assesses where an individual is now, where they would like to be in the future, and works with them to get there. The emphasis is on moving forward with actions, on possibilities and the future.  The coach assumes the client is naturally creative and resourceful.

There are many forms of therapy, but it generally deals with present dysfunctions or issues arising from past experiences.  While a positive sense of well-being is usually a product of coaching, the process does not dwell on the past. Coaching clients are basically healthy individuals that desire change to enhance their life.

Consulting approaches also vary widely, but generally a consultant is hired to diagnose problems and provide expertise. While the consulting process may be collaborative, the consultant provides the recommendations.  Coaching, on the other hand, is guided by the assumption that individuals are capable of generating their own solutions while the coach supplies supportive frameworks, tools, focus and accountability.

Why should I choose Designing Change?
We believe that achieving desired results is the most important reason people come to us for coaching. We are focused and passionate about coaching our clients towards that outcome. We are professionally trained, experienced, successful and excited about the work we do. Designing Change has a reputation for professionalism, integrity, excellent customer service and honouring the ethics of our coaching profession.

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