What is Coaching?
”A collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee.”
Put simply, coaching is a partnership between someone who is trained in coaching skills and methods (the ‘coach’), and an individual who is seeking to achieve particular life changes (the ‘coachee’). Coaching is a change based, future focused intervention, which enhances your problem solving skills. Therefore, the coaching process enables you to identify where you want to be, and how you might overcome barriers in order to get there.
What is ‘life coaching’ and how can it help?
Coaching helps you to decide upon making changes and improvements in your life. Life changes can mean anything from career advancement, to increasing confidence, developing interpersonal skills, ending or finding a relationship, or navigating a major life transition such as retirement, divorce, facing an ‘empty nest’, redundancy or moving or working abroad.
Individual meetings will take place during which your coach will support you in identifying what it is that you want to achieve, and exploring any barriers that you face, whilst simultaneously encouraging you to find strategies to overcome these barriers to achieve what you want. This definition of coaching is commonly known as “life coaching”.
Here at Nine Coaching, we prefer the term ‘individual coaching’ as it is felt that this expresses how your coach will work with your individual needs, in respect of any area of your life.
A word on Coaching Skills & Coaching Psychology
Any individual can train to be coach and offer coaching/coaching skills. However, coaching psychology defines a coaching professional who is trained in psychology and psychological interventions. A coach who is informed by coaching psychology can delve deeper and offers the potential to uproot any deep seated difficulties which may be in the way of you achieving your full potential. Nicola is the lead coach @ Nine Coaching and is a trained and experienced psychotherapist. Therefore, in addition to being a qualified coach you can be assured that if you encounter any psychological difficulties during your coaching, that psychotherapeutic strategies will be employed to help us to safely navigate forward.
What happens during a coaching session?
We will meet individually, and form a confidential relationship, that is based upon an equal partnership. Your coach will use the skills of listening, questioning, re-framing, clarifying and giving feedback to help you to identify your goals, generate solutions and make positive changes. The coaches role is to check and test your commitment to your goals, and expects that you are as committed to achieving your goals, as they are in helping you to get there, and so, at times, you will be challenged, as appropriate, particularly when agreed actions are not being taken.
You will not be given direct advice, or be told what to do; instead you will be encouraged to explore more fully the changes that you want to make. Once we both understand what we are aiming towards, you will move on to exploring your current reality, in terms of helping you to understand what your barriers are. Once identified, you will explore what options may be available to help you to overcome these barriers. Coaching is an action oriented process; therefore following each session, you will leave with specific actions to work on to move you towards your agreed outcome. If agreed, your coach will contact you between sessions to see how you are progressing. Often when we think we have somebody to answer to, we are more likely to take the action we have agreed!
Sometimes when exploring barriers to change, it can become apparent that personal beliefs are limiting you, or self defeating thoughts may be keeping your situation as it is. If this is identified, I will help you to identify these cognitions and beliefs, and then to help you to define strategies to challenge and uproot these beliefs to enable behavioural change and lasting growth to occur.
It can be difficult at times to discuss personal difficulties, and to tell somebody else how we would like things to be different, particularly if we usually ‘put our best foot forward’ in front of others. Sometimes, we can consider the areas we want to improve as ‘weaknesses’, and may not seek to make changes due to fear or shame. It can be this very perception that is holding you back from achieving your potential! Therefore, a vital element of coaching is the formation of a trusting and accepting relationship; you will not be judged or criticised for thinking, feeling or behaving the way that you do. Instead you will be treated with compassion, whilst simultaneously being challenged to consider how things may be different for you.
As a highly experienced psychotherapist, Nicola’s coaching style is also informed by the theories of psychological therapy, and if we encounter a barrier that is rooted in earlier psychological disturbance, or traumatic experiences, I can help you to overcome these barriers using psychotherapeutic methods. However, this will always be discussed with you, for you to make the choice if you wish to explore these areas of difficulty, and any changes will be reflected in our re-negotiated coaching contract.
How confidential is coaching?
It is really important that the coaching relationship is a confidential one, to help trust to develop. Confidentiality will be discussed thoroughly with you during the first session with your coach. Confidentiality means that your coach will not share any information about you with anybody else (even if they are known to you), without your consent. This not only includes verbal discussions, but also that any notes arising from your coaching sessions will be stored confidentially.
However, there are some legal and ethical limits to confidentiality, and these will be discussed fully with you prior to coaching starting. But in brief, confidentiality may need to be broken, and information shared ONLY with relevant authorities in the following circumstances:
- If you state that you may be at risk of seriously harming yourself, or another person
- If you disclose information that suggests a child is, or may be at risk
- If you disclose your involvement in serious criminal activity
How frequently does coaching take place, & how many sessions will I need?
In contrast to therapy which takes place on a weekly or fortnightly basis, coaching will take place less frequently. It is highly unlikely that coaching sessions will take place at a greater frequency than monthly. This is because coaching is an action orientated process, and during your coaching sessions you will agree specific actions that you will work on between sessions. However, you may agree that your coach can contact you between sessions to support you in continuing to make progress, if you feel that would be helpful.
The amount of coaching sessions required really does depend upon your level of need. Sometimes only one ‘launchpad session’ is necessary! Therefore, the number of sessions will be agreed with you at your consultation session. However, coaching is usually a brief intervention, and you would not be expected to embark upon a long term commitment to coaching.
Where will coaching take place?
Face to face sessions will take place in ‘Rooms @ No 9’ in Greasby, Wirral. However, if you are not local to the area, or prefer not to meet face to face, sessions will take place via telephone or skype, whichever meets your requirements.
How long are coaching sessions?
Coaching sessions usually last between one hour and one and a half hours. Duration, frequency and number of coaching sessions are agreed with you in advance, and are dependent upon your need. If it is unclear as to whether you are seeking coaching or therapy, then an initial assessment consultation will take place of one hour.
However, if you are very clear that you are seeking coaching, then your first session will be a minimum of 1.5 hours. You will leave this session with a confirmed idea of what your goals or future intentions are, and having explored the barriers to making these changes.
I am interested in having coaching, what is the first step?
The first step is to contact Nicola. I will respond to your query, either by email, or with a brief telephone call if you prefer, and we will arrange a consultation session. This consultation is a no obligation consultation session that usually lasts one and half hours. The consultation can take place face to face, by telephone or by skype, and allows us both to identify the areas that you would like to change, and to ensure that coaching is the right intervention for you at this time. If it is felt that coaching may not be right at this stage, other options will be discussed with you in order to help you to move forward.
Following the consultation session, if it is decided that we will form a coaching alliance, we will make a coaching agreement. The agreement is formed in a collaborative way to ensure that you will always understand the boundaries of the coaching process. We will agree the initial number of sessions, frequency and duration of sessions, cancellation policy, review period, and contact arrangements between sessions. Fees will also be included. Importantly, confidentiality, and the limits of confidentiality will be discussed and agreed at the outset of the consultation session, and will be included in the coaching agreement.
Why choose Nicola @ Nine Coaching?
Nicola is the lead coach @ Nine coaching, and is an accomplished coach and coaching skills trainer, who offers coaching qualifications that are endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).Her work has featured in the media, (Sky TV & local & BBC Radio). She has consulted on projects to introduce coaching in medicine, and this work has been written up in the Coaching Today journal. Nicola established her coaching practice in 2005, and is highly experienced. In addition to holding qualifications in coaching, Nicola is also a registered and accredited counsellor/psychotherapist and CBT practitioner. Qualified to Masters Degree level (with distinction), you can rest assured that your coach has completed a thorough training in many psychological approaches, to be able to offer you an optimum package of support.
Where is the evidence that coaching works?
Coaching is outcome driven, whereby what is aiming to be achieved is identified at the outset; this allows you and your coach to measure what progress is being made, and to identify if any barriers are standing in the way of change.
However, in terms of recent academic research, The ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study (ICF, 2012) surveyed 15,000 participants ages 25 and up in 20 countries, and found that 83 percent of respondents who had been involved in a coaching relationship were somewhat satisfied to very satisfied with their coaching experience. Advocacy of coaching among those respondents also ranked high, a mean score of 7.5 on a 10-point scale with 10 being “extremely likely” to recommend coaching. Satisfaction and advocacy results are consistent with previous ICF research which found that coaching is seen as a positive experience by the vast majority of those who have been coached.
Additionally, this survey found that 84 percent of respondents who had been in a coaching relationship considered certification/credentials “important” or “very important.” In fact, even for those who had no prior experience with coaching, the importance of credentials remained high at 83 percent.
What does coaching cost?
The initial coaching consultation session (1.5 hours) costs £120, and subsequent coaching sessions are charged at £100 per hour. This includes between session follow up by email or telephone, to ensure that you re remaining on track with your progress towards your goals.
If it is unclear as to whether you are seeking therapy or coaching, then you will be offered an initial hour long consultation which takes the form of an assessment. The cost of this consultation is £60.
How is coaching different from therapy and mentoring?
Much confusion exists regarding the similarities and differences between coaching, psychotherapy/counselling and mentoring. In very general terms, the process and desired outcomes of counselling/psychotherapy and coaching are quite different. Counselling and psychotherapy are about seeking to reduce emotional and psychological damage and distress, with the aim being to help the individual move to a place of insight, acceptance, and reduced distress to increase current functioning.
The key aim of coaching, however, is to move the coachee forward; it is future focused and action orientated, to increase and enhance your performance by focusing on behaviour, beliefs and thoughts in order to increase motivation and maximise your desire to change. During the coaching process, if you uncover past or current hurts that may increase distress and decrease functioning, then counselling or psychotherapy may be indicated, and Nicola will discuss with you the best approach to help you with this.
Mentoring, on the other hand, is based upon a sharing of experience, whereby a mentor (who is usually somebody knowledgeable, or expert in a particular field) imparts specific knowledge, acting as adviser and/or educator. This is in marked contrast to coaching whereby the coach does not offer advice, rather facilitates the coachee towards uncovering their own knowledge, and self directed learning.
I still want to know more about coaching, what shall I do?
This information offers a brief snapshot of what you may expect from a coaching experience. However, if you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact Nicola to find out more. You may also want to consult the list of references, or recommended reading below:
List of References
ICF. (2012). ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study.
http://www.coach-federation.org, (retrieved 20.04.2012).
Coaching for Performance: GROWing human potential and purpose: The principles and practice of coaching and leadership, by John Whitmore
The Tao of Coaching, by Max Landsberg
Super Coaching by Alexander (G) & Renshaw (B)
Coaching Skills: A Handbook, by Jenny Rogers
The Inner Game of Work, by W.Timothy Gallwey