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Frequently Asked Questions about Coaching


HOW IS COACHING USED BY INDIVIDUALS?

Coaching at the individual level can be used for just about any situation that includes a goal of some sort. For example, goals can range from "eating better and exercising more" to "improving communication in a significant relationship" to "making an important career change." Sometimes the goal is clear from the start and sometimes it's not, and coach and client work together at prioritizing and planning the process that will bring the most benefit to the client.


HOW IS COACHING USED BY ORGANIZATIONS?

At the organizational level, Coaching can be generally broken down into 3 categories: developmental, performance and transitional. From a developmental perspective, Coaching can be used to address performance concerns, be a part of talent and leadership development programs, or be geared towards specific professional development. From a performance perspective, Coaching can be used to encourage higher levels of performance within the organization, including solving problems where they arise and creating support structures that sustain collaboration and engagement across individuals and teams. From a transitional perspective, Coaching can be used to help individuals adapt to change within the organization or changes to their specific roles. Promotions and advancements, new reporting structures or anything within an organization that disrupts the status quo are all situations that can benefit from Coaching.


ISN’T COACHING JUST LIKE THERAPY? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Many people wonder if coaching is just like Therapy. There are in fact, many similarities between the two. In both Coaching and Therapy, clients work in a safe, 1-on-1 setting that is private and confidential. Both Coaching and Therapy may make the client "feel better," but while Therapy has diagnostic and therapeutic dimensions as the focus, Coaching is goal-oriented and tends to be more specifically focused on outcome. Coaching is also a mostly forward-looking process, so there will not be much time spent on exploring the past, except where it is directly relevant to the circumstances at hand. This does not mean that a client's feelings and emotions are not discussed in Coaching, because they are indeed extremely significant parts of the picture and the process. However, the Coaching process will not attempt to analyze or dissect underlying causation or recommend a specific course of treatment. In fact, most properly accredited coaches will, from an ethical point-of-view, suggest that a client speak to or make a referral to a healthcare professional to discuss matters that fall outside the scope of the Coaching relationship.


What are some situations that coaching can help with?

Here is a partial list of some of the areas that I have worked on with clients:

  • Deciding on opportunities for career or life changes and overcoming challenges.

  • “Getting going” in a new role after a promotion.

  • Facilitating process change.

  • Defining personal or professional goals and sticking to them.

  • Working with “difficult” colleagues.

  • Working through structural or management changes.

  • Learning and trying new personal organization or productivity strategies.

  • Exploring career options; interview practice; résumé assistance.

  • Overcoming fears that inhibit taking action. Bolstering confidence.

  • Meeting commitments and dealing with feeling overwhelmed.

  • Defining success. Learning from failure. Celebrating outcomes regardless.


WHERE DOES THE COACHING TAKE PLACE?

Coaching sessions can take place in person, over the phone or over video conferencing services like Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. The decision of which medium to use will be decided upon at the start of the engagement, and will depend on convenience, geography, time zones, available hours and the client's general preferences. The initial choice does not necessarily need to be permanent and adjustments can be made throughout the engagement.


HOW LONG ARE THE COACHING SESSIONS?

Coaching sessions are 45-60 minutes.


IS EVERYTHING DISCUSSED IN COACHING SESSIONS FULLY CONFIDENTIAL?

To the extent that it is legally permissible, yes. All clients should be aware that Coaching sessions are not "privileged" conversations, in the same way that attorney/client or doctor/patient conversations are. Additionally, if a client's employer is sponsoring the Coaching engagement, the "rules" around confidentiality and other matters are subject to the specific agreement entered into between the coach and the sponsor. In all cases, this matter is discussed up-front with the client, before any discussions begin, so the client is fully aware of the circumstances around his or her individual Coaching engagement.

WHY ARE COACHING CREDENTIALS IMPORTANT?

There are many Coaching programs offered by varying institutions around the world today. Because regulation around the coaching industry is still in formative stages, it is important to work with a coach who has undergone intensive and quality training with a respected institution. There are many people who call themselves “coaches” but have not undergone any significant training. Caveat Emptor.

The Columbia Coaching Certification Program is a joint offering of Teacher's College, Columbia University's Graduate School of Education (under the Department of Organization and Leadership) and Columbia Business School (under the Department of Executive Education). The Columbia Coaching Certification Program uses an evidence-based curriculum that draws from multiple resources. Participants must complete a year-long, rigorous program of study that includes faculty contact hours, a field-based practicum and research projects.


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

All coaching engagements are customized based on the client’s needs. Please contact me so that we can discuss pricing, for group coaching, workshops or any special requests.