Frequently Asked Questions About Transformative Leadership Coaching
Below are just a few of the frequently asked questions about coaching asked by clients. If you aren’t finding what you are looking for, please reach out. I enjoy sharing the art and science of coaching and always welcome
WHAT IS COACHING?
International Coach Federation’s Definition of Coaching
The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, capable and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
- Encourage client self-discovery and self-awareness;
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
- Hold the client responsible and accountable.
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, observe and 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.
WHAT IS TRANSFORMATIVE COACHING?
I am trained in the Transformative Coaching Paradigm through inviteCHANGE. Transformative coaches provide and co-create an environment of safety, respect and absolute belief in another’s inherent wisdom, resourcefulness and wholeness. Within this co-created relationship, bold curiosity and powerful questions uncover limiting beliefs and shine the light on an unlimited field of possibilities that generates conscious choice and lasting change.
WHAT TYPES OF PEOPLE TURN TO COACHING?
Coaching is a versatile and powerful technology for personal and professional growth. People from all walks of life can benefit from partnering with a professional coach. However, it tends to resonate best with individuals who aspire to improve their lives, or reach a higher level of personal success.
These are the sorts of people for whom my practice is designed:
- Entrepreneurs and business owners who want to thrive, create and run successful operations, and stay focused and balanced without over-whelm.
- Professionals in corporate leadership roles who want to develop their leadership skills, professional presence, communication skills, teams, and increase their emotional and social intelligence.
- Professionals who work within multiple levels of corporate and desire to either change careers and/or advance into leadership positions.
- Those who desire to increase their energy, health and well-being, and create positive habits.
An indicator that coaching may be a fit for you is feelings of overwhelm and burnout, tension in your business, career, leadership, health, or lives. You may feel stuck in a rut, frustrated with some aspect of those mentioned, wrestling with a major transition, or simply aspire for more out of your life, leadership or career. If this is the case, professional coaching might be right for you.
Most of my clients who get the most out of coaching tell me they’re looking for four things:
- A dedicated time and space to focus on important life, leadership, and career issues.
- An “expert” perspective on potential ways to move forward.
- An external mentor and thought partner who can hold them accountable to making progress towards positive change.
- Someone who can be fully objective and nonjudgmental when discussing and exploring challenging topics.
HOW IS COACHING DISTINCT FROM OTHER SERVICE PROFESSIONS?
Professional coaching is a distinct service, which focuses on an individual’s life, leadership and career as it relates to their goals, the action they take, and personal change management. In an effort to understand what a coach is it can be helpful to distinguish coaching from other professions that provide personal or organizational support.
Therapy: Coaching is not therapy. Coaching is a profession that supports personal and professional growth and development based on individual-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is forward moving and future focused. Therapy, on the other hand, deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual, or a relationship. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past, which hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with present life and work circumstances in more emotionally healthy ways. Therapy outcomes often include improved emotional or feeling states. While positive feelings or emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphasis in a coaching relationship is on the clients’ action, accountability, and follows through. Here’s a great article for more information on the differences. http://www.cce-global.org/Assets/BCC/Resources/CoachingvsPsychologyTheGreatDebate.pdf
Consulting: Consultants may be retained by individuals, or organizations for the purpose of accessing specialized expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, there is often an assumption that the consultant diagnoses problems and prescribes and sometimes implements solutions. In general, the assumption with coaching is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches, tools and frameworks.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A COACHING SESSION?
The first meeting is an initial “discovery session” and lasts approximately 1.5 hours. After this initial session, client and coach agree on a regular coaching schedule for the next month. Session frequency depends on the program chosen. My clients generally commit to a coaching partnership for 9-12 months, some longer. Significant and sustainable change takes time and focus, so I request that my clients make an initial six-month commitment.
Prior to each session, clients are asked to prepare and submit a reflective feedback form. This form lists what clients did during the past week, what they want to work on during the current session and how they are feeling at that time. Clients come to their sessions with an agenda of not only what they want to discuss, but also what they would like from the coach during the session. The shape of each coaching session is determined by that day’s agenda. Toward the end of the session, coach and client insert accountability by deciding, together, what actions the client will take during the week based on that day’s topic(s).
In between the coaching sessions is where the magic happens, clients work on completing their stated goals. Clients with questions, triumphs or disappointments during the week may contact me by text/email, or by phone (by appointment). Clients may undertake as much homework as they choose. Most of the learning/growth/action/results happen between the coaching sessions. Clients may spend as little or as much time as they like on the coaching process. However, the more time spent, the quicker the results.
WHERE ARE COACHING SESSIONS HELD?
Coaching sessions may be held in-person, over the phone (tele-coaching), or on Zoom (video-conferencing). Schedule and convenience may dictate a client’s choice. Clients often prefer to have a combination of phone and video consultations.
Clients may choose to meet at their home, office or other designated areas. It is important that clients secure a private room not subject to disruption for sessions held outside of the coaching office.
CAN I WORK WITH A COACH WHO LIVES IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION?
Yes! I wouldn’t let geography be the primary factor in finding the right coach. I split my time between states, but I’ve coached clients around the world, including those in other regions of the U.S., Italy, France, and Australia. I welcome clients from anywhere in the world as long as you’re proficient in English. With my clients in the U.S., we often have our sessions over Zoom or phone
HOW MUCH DOES COACHING COST?
I’ve heard people say that they can’t afford a professional coach. However, coaching is not as expensive as you might think it is! In fact, after considering the real value clients have gained from coaching, my clients often wonder what took them so long to participate in a coaching relationship. Before going directly to the pricing details, you might ask yourself what you’d be missing if you don’t get a coach. What isn’t working in your life, career or business right now? How might your life, career or business be different if the challenges were resolved and replaced with productive, meaningful things? Coaching is a perfect vehicle for moving toward your goals, having greater self-awareness, and leaving what’s not working behind.
Coaching offers you a chance to “do” for yourself so you can, in turn, take care of all the things that are important in your life. It provides an opportunity to grow, to change, and to thrive. It is all about learning how to empower yourself and remain accountable to yourself in incredible ways. You deserve that much, don’t you?
HOW IS LIFE COACHING DIFFERENT FROM LEADERSHIP COACHING?
Life coaching involves you as a whole person.
This includes your relationships, health and energy, career, physical environment, your community, etc. Whereas, Leadership coaching focuses specifically on developing you as a leader and providing you the tools, skills, training and resources to lead a highly effective and engaged team.
My clients tend to come to me for both life coaching topics, career-related topics, and leadership coaching and training, given my professional background as an Executive Leadership coach in the technology and manufacturing/operations sectors. However, our conversations inevitably evolve to include other topics, as career and leadership are rarely isolated from the rest of our lives.
I’M AN EXECUTIVE. HOW CAN LEADERSHIP COACHING HELP ME?
Your organization’s success hinges on the personal effectiveness of its leaders. Increase their self-awareness, adaptive leadership and communication skills, their ability to influence beyond formal authority and the entire organization reaps the benefits.
Leadership coaching produces both the business results you need now, and the personal transformation that drives future success. Aligning the development needs of the individual with the objectives of the organization, I provide a confidential and supportive feedback-rich environment where you and your leaders can gain valuable insights and develop positive new behaviors.
Here are just a few of the issues we help with:
- Professional Presence – Learn how to project mature self-confidence, poise under pressure, authenticity, empathy, warmth and strength. Develop a blend of persuasive leadership competencies that inspire trust, enthusiasm, story telling and buy-in.
- Communication skills – Whether it’s a high-stakes meeting, a hallway chat with a colleague or a town hall meeting with the entire organization, failure to get the right message across can be costly. I can help leaders communicate clearly and confidently at every level of the organization – from the boardroom to the water cooler.
- Conflict management skills – Understand and manage conflict constructively, resolve disputes quickly. I’ll help you and your leaders develop the skills that build collaboration and common purpose, increase employee engagement, productivity and retention.
- Transitioning into new leadership roles – Let’s partner and speed up mastery of the new challenges. From quickly digesting new information and developing new competencies to building strong relationships across organizational boundaries, I can help your leaders hit the ground running in their new role and add value from day one.
- Increasing emotional and social intelligence – When it comes to accomplishing shared objectives, EQ matters as much as IQ. Learn a range of skillsets that drive success – team leadership and collaboration, how to build trust, influencing skills, managing emotions, resilience and conflict management.
HOW CAN COACHING HELP ME WITH MY ENERGY, HEALTH AND OVERALL WELL BEING?
Coaching will support you in uncovering unconscious behaviors towards food, physical movement and your daily habits. There is also an educational component on how to practice self-care techniques, which include boundaries, physical movement and eating in a balanced and healthy way (Traffic Light Eating). Together, we’ll identify energy leaks and boundaries required so that you are fully functioning on all cylinders, so that you are thriving as a leader! Coaching can even support in these areas of well-being:
- You’ve gained weight that you can’t figure out how to lose.
- You’re sick of ineffective yo-yo diets.
- You never learned mindful eating habits.
- Your energy is low and you’re tired half-way through the day.
- You’re under a lot of stress at work or home, and you’re feeling overwhelmed and burnout.
- You have chronic health issues.
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you should consider partnering with a coach to understand the source of your choices and energy leaks, and help you make positive lifestyle choices.
HOW IS COACHING DELIVERED? WHAT DOES THE PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
The coaching process typically begins with a personal interview (either face-to-face, phone or by video-conferencing on Zoom) to assess the individual’s current opportunities and challenges, define the scope of the relationship, identify priorities for action, and establish specific desired outcomes to measure along the way in our relationship. Subsequent coaching sessions may be conducted in person, or online, with each session lasting a previously established length of time. Between scheduled coaching sessions, the individual may be asked to complete specific actions that support the achievement of one’s personally prioritized goals. The coach may provide additional resources in the form of relevant articles, checklists, assessments, or models, to support the individual’s thinking and actions. The duration of the coaching relationship varies depending on the individual’s personal needs and preferences, but typically we partner together for 9 months.
Assessments: A variety of assessments are available to support the coaching process, depending upon the needs and circumstances of the individual. Assessments provide objective information, which can enhance the individual’s self-awareness as well as awareness of others, and their circumstances, provide a benchmark for creating coaching goals and actionable strategies, and offer a method for evaluating progress.
Concepts, models, principles and trainings: A variety of concepts, models, principles and trainings drawn from the behavioral sciences, management literature, spiritual traditions and/or the arts and humanities, may be incorporated into the coaching conversation in order to increase the individual’s self-awareness and awareness of others, foster shifts in perspective, promote fresh insights, provide new frameworks for looking at opportunities and challenges, and energize and inspire the individual’s forward actions.
Appreciative approach: Coaching incorporates an appreciative approach. The appreciative approach is grounded in what’s right, what’s working, what’s wanted, and what’s needed to get there. Using an appreciative approach, the coach models constructive communication skills and methods the individual or team can utilize to enhance personal communication effectiveness. The appreciative approach incorporates discovery-based inquiry, proactive (as opposed to reactive) ways of managing personal opportunities and challenges, constructive framing of observations and feedback in order to elicit the most positive responses from others, and envisioning success as contrasted with focusing on problems. The appreciative approach is simple to understand and employ, but its effects in harnessing possibility thinking and goal-oriented action can be profound.
HOW IS WORKING WITH SARA DIFFERENT?
I use a holistic approach with my clients and I work with the whole person: mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual. My methodology allows you to easily and reliably facilitate your capacity to step into your greatest potential, with results that are exponential. Rather than isolating a single process or aspect of life, the tools and approach are unique just as you are a unique being. They are adaptable to the full range of human potential. This enables you to confidently pursue your natural leadership style, short and long-term goals, find the greatest success within your career and in your relationships, find balance, harmony and rejuvenate your vitality.
Through a holistic approach, I’ll help you to uncover the interrelationships between the various aspects of your life. As your mentor and thought partner, I’ll walk side-by-side with you on your journey, supporting you to make the changes you desire. The focus is on your agenda and in sessions we may cover a wide variety of topics as self-discover your:
- Capabilities and possibilities
- Motivations and habits
- Beliefs and thought-patterns
My approach is based on the philosophy that people are best able to achieve their life’s purpose and ultimate success when they live a holistically balanced life that suits their individuality and uniqueness.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
It’s simple. You can dive right in by filling out the Coaching Application form and I will get back to you within 48 hours. Or, email me at Sara@SaraSpencerCoaching.com. We’ll set up an introductory Breakthrough Coaching session (free) where you briefly discuss your current situation and we’ll explore your short term and long term goals. Then, have a candid conversation about whether you feel my expertise and services align well with what you need. It typically takes 30 minutes, and you’ll get a decent read on my style, approach and our chemistry to work together. You can also my testimonials. Reading testimonials can help you get a sense of whether my offerings resonate well with your needs.
I look forward to partnering with you, and/or providing you the resources required making a great choice for your next coaching partnership!