FAQs

Do you have questions about coaching and how it works?
Click on the Frequently Asked Questions below or get in touch if you can’t find the answer you need.

What is coaching?
What’s the difference between coaching and counselling?
Are there different kinds of coaching?
How does coaching work?
How do I choose a coach?
Where and how?
How long?
When?
What does it cost?
Who uses a coach?
How is coaching regulated?

What is coaching?
Coaching is a forward-looking collaboration between coach and client(s) with the aim of helping the client achieve better results faster. This may be in practical matters such as career path, skill development or self organisation, as well as more personal, ‘inner’ issues such as confidence, life purpose or relating to others.

Here is a definition from the International Coach Federation, an international body that regulates the coaching profession:
“Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performance and enhance the quality of their lives. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.“
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What’s the difference between coaching and counselling?
Counselling and the psychotherapeutic professions often focus on healing unresolved situations or dealing with emotionally upsetting events. They may concentrate on the past, seeking to understand why things are as they are, with the aim of helping people feel whole in the present. If you are experiencing some deeply upsetting emotional situations, or feel you have unresolved issues from the past, it may be that counselling or psychotherapy are more suitable for you.

While coaching can often be very therapeutic, its main focus is the present and the future, asking ‘what do you want and how can you get there?’. It makes the assumption that the client is whole and completely capable, and aims to support them in achieving their goals. There is less inquiry into why things are as they are, more about how they could be instead.

Coaching and counselling use many of the same core skills of listening and questioning. Where coaching differs is in its forward-looking aim of setting practical actions and trying out new behaviours as a result of insights and decisions.
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Are there different kinds of coaching?
Coaching is the general term for this way of working one-to-one with a trained professional to make changes and work towards what you want. Different coaches may use different methods or techniques although the underlying principles are similar. One difference is between directive coaching, where the coach makes many suggestions and sets tasks to be done, and non-directive coaching, where the coach seeks to elicit solutions and goals from the client.

Life or Personal Coaching addresses all areas of life and is usually arranged on a private, individual basis. Corporate or Business Coaching refers to coaching taking place in the work place and is often paid for by the company or organisation, while Executive Coaching is one-to-one coaching for senior managers and directors. It may initially focus on work and performance related issues.

However, coaching is by its nature holistic and in practice both types of coaching address all areas of the client’s life, in both the work and personal spheres.
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How does coaching work?
A coach uses careful and well-aimed questions and insights to help people gain clarity, undo blocks and improve performance. The interaction is largely a conversation, but may also involve certain tools or techniques. New behaviours and actions emerge from the coaching process, which the client then commits to following up. Step by step, the client gains understanding and makes the wanted changes. It’s an inspiring and affirmative experience, and each individual makes his or her own progress.
Your relationship with your coach and the methods the coach uses will be made to measure. For example, if you take me on as your coach, we will spend some time discussing exactly how you would like me to coach you. I can be a catalyst and a cheerleader, or a devil’s advocate and someone to give you a push when you need it. Some people want support, others want challenge, or a mixture of both. The way we work will be the way that best suits you.
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How do I choose a coach?
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your coach:
1. Educate yourself about coaching. Many articles have been written about coaching and countless web sites carry good information — have a browse. (And see my links page for more information.)
2. Be clear about what you want from working with a coach.
3. Interview three coaches before you decide on one. Ask them about their qualifications, experience and accreditations.
4. Since coaches often specialise in various areas, consider shopping around for one who specialises in your particular area.
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Where and how?
Corporate clients: One-to-one coaching normally takes place on your own company premises and can also happen by telephone or Skype. Based in Bristol, I am available for assignments throughout the south west, south east and the Midlands but please note that travel expenses are payable in addition to the coaching fee. Please contact me to discuss how this can work best for you.
Private clients: You have several choices: I offer one-to-one coaching sessions by telephone or Skype; in person at my base in South Bristol, UK; or even walking — talking while walking can help you think deeply and process information more effectively. ‘Walk and talk’ sessions either take place in St. Andrews or at other locations in Bristol on designated days.
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How long?
Each coaching assignment or contract is tailor-made. The number of sessions depends entirely on the person being coached and the focus of the coaching. This can be discussed and agreed during an initial consultation and updated at any point throughout the coaching. You can book as many or as few sessions as you wish although I recommend a minimum of four initially to allow full engagement with the process.
Coaching sessions can be any length from 45 minutes to 2 hours or more. Most private clients opt for hour-long sessions, whereas 1.5 to 2 hours is most effective within organisations.
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When?
For private clients: I offer coaching sessions every weekday 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. and on most weeks, except when I am working abroad. I tend to get booked up several weeks in advance.
For corporate clients and organisations: I am available for initial meetings and coaching sessions with about 10 days notice, and am creative about scheduling coaching sessions around the busy lives of your managers and executives. Please get in touch to discuss.
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What does it cost?
For a current price list for both individual and corporate coaching, please get in touch by phone or e-mail.
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Who uses a coach?
Some people think that if you have a coach you must be failing in some way, unable to get on with things yourself. However the coaching industry has seen a huge increase in the last decade and people now recognise that it makes the difference between ‘so-so’ results and remarkable success.
Coaching is of course common in the world of sports and music, where few high performers are without a coach. Business coaching has been popular for many years and one-to-one coaching of top-level managers and directors is increasingly the norm. Life coaching – coaching for private clients on a range of work and life issues – became popular in the USA and has expanded hugely in the UK in the last 10 years.
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How is coaching regulated?
There is currently no overall regulation of the coaching industry and no legal requirement for coaches to be qualified, accredited or insured. In the last few years, several professional organisations have introduced coaching standards and accreditations. These include the International Coach Federation, Association for Coaching, and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. Within the UK ENTO is also introducing vocational standards in coaching. See the links page for more details of these and other organisations in the coaching world
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