Q&A

1. How does the first contact work?

2. Are there contractual differences between direct payers and corporate clients?

3. What is a “Chemistry Check”?

4. How does the coaching process work?

5. How long does a coaching process normally take?

6. What does your coaching cost, and what is included?

7. Who pays for the coaching?

8. What happens during the interims evaluation?

9. What does Evaluation mean?

10. What is “on-the-job coaching”?

11. What are “shadow days”?

12. How do I know that I need coaching?

13. How can I tell if a coach is good or not?

14. How do I know which coach is right for me?

15. How do clients find you?

16. Where does the word “Coach” come from?

17. What is the difference between Coaching and Consulting, Training, Mentoring, Supervision or Therapy?

18. Coaching… is it just old wine in new skins?

19. Why has coaching grown so popular in recent years?

20. What types of coaching are there?

21. What is “self-coaching”?

22. How can one become a coach?

23. Where can I get education and training to become a coach?

24. How could professional coaching training benefit me, an executive who wants to maintain his career?

1. How does the first contact work?

Potential clients can contact me by phone, email or through my online service timedriver in order to set up a complementary phone call or face-to-face meeting with me. During this first change strategy consultation, I will explain my approach to coaching, and the potential client will explain his needs and his reasons for seeking out a coach. With this information, I’ll determine if I’m the right coach for the client’ goals based on my experience, know-how and methodological competence. If necessary, I will recommend another, more appropriate coach. Coaching goes deep. We both need to be the right fit!

In addition I will assess the potential client’s readiness and ability to be coached. If there are doubts on the latter, I might recommend consulting a doctor or obtaining therapeutic help.

If our “chemistry check” is positive, I will offer a first proposal with the proposed coaching form, estimated duration and fee. I will also explain the form, or process, and the next steps.

If you are interested in signing up for a free strategy session, please contact me.

2. Are there contractual differences between direct payers and corporate clients?

A potential direct-paying client will receive a written proposal based on our first strategy session. Once the potential client reviews, signs and returns the proposal, that becomes our contract, and the coaching process can begin.

For corporate clients, the coaching process begins after mutual agreement, either during or shortly after the first meeting, as I am likely to be in a pool of coaches covered by framework agreements.

If there is no framework agreement, the client should forward the written offer to his company’s HR department or his supervisor, depending upon who needs to approve the budget. To protect the privacy of some “hot topics” of potential clients, written offers for corporate clients are not as in depth as those for direct-paying clients.

3. What is a “Chemistry Check”?

A chemistry check takes place automatically during our first meeting between the potential client and me as the potential coach, either face to face or via phone. In addition to seeing if a client’s needs can be met and if I meet the methodological requirements for this case as a coach, this meeting also provides an important “gut” test to see if we feel confident that we can trust each other and if we both intuitively say “yes” to this coaching relationship.

If all facts fit, but my intuition says no, I will be honest and decline. Successful coaching requires a mentally and emotionally deep relationship that thrives on mutual and undoubted trust.

4. How does the coaching process work?

Even though my work is process orientated, and I create very individual designs to meet the unique needs of each client, the coaching process, either face to face or through telephone coaching, will take place through the following steps, or phases:

  1. Contact and first meeting (please see Q1 and Q3 for more details)
  2. Written offer and signing of the coaching contract
  3. Beginning the actual coaching process (Intervention phase)
    1. Psychological agreement between the client and me
    2. Clarification of the initial situation, the issue or starting conditions (limitations)
    3. First definition of coaching goals
    4. Determination of measurement parameters (i.e. milestones) for the progress of the coaching process
  4. Main Intervention Phase 1 with transfer tasks (homework) for the time between appointments
  5. Interim review of results after about half of the estimated duration of the coaching process (see Q6 for more details)
  6. Main Intervention Phase 2 with transfer tasks for the time between appointments
  7. Evaluation and Formal Conclusion
  8. Optional documentation and reporting (sometimes required for corporate clients)
  9. Optional follow-up appointments after a few weeks
  10. Optional evaluation after a few months

5. How long does a coaching process normally take?

Short answer: My Coaching packages run over 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. Most of my executive clients work with me for over six months and then come back two or three times over the course of several years for different (new) reasons. C-level clients typically sign up for 12 months with me and then continue in some capacity for one or two more years.

Long answer: In many cases coaching requires deep transformation in order to create lasting change. For this the client needs to create Brain-Alignment™ and establish new habits of thinking and acting. This takes time.

But: Coaching can work like magic.

I have had several coaching sessions in which clients experienced deep insights that changed their perspectives and world views to an extent that consequently affected their personal and professional lives. These powerful catalytic effects feel like “miracles.” They happen when the “big mess” a client seems to be in or is trying to conquer is resolved very quickly. This can happen when an open, courageous, smart, committed mind allows coaching to reveal its “magic powers.”

Here is a story of one such “miracle.”

Imagine a Level 2 executive in his late forties serving directly under the CEO of an international Fortune 500 company. He came to me with several issues and obtained a budget for a six-month coaching contract.

He began with the following issues:

  • He was unable to respect, trust or like his boss, the CEO. He had huge problems with him and felt as if he were criticized for everything.
  • He had lost all motivation and drive for his work.
  • He was moody, mildly depressed and slept poorly.
  • His team complained frequently and had daily disputes, which resulted in decreased efficiency and performance.
  • His wife said she couldn’t stand his bad mood any longer and had threatened him to leave him if he didn’t change it.
  • He was considering leaving the company he served for so long in order to get away from his boss.

Using my model “The Morphogenetic Resonance Model” in our first 90-minute session, he had such a huuuge “aha-moment” that I could literally see light bulbs going on inside his head! He discovered his power over his own thoughts, his perception and the impact of those on his life and work. He was an intelligent, smart, quick thinker, and together with me he was able to apply this insight to all of his issues. He was finally able to see how all of his problems were related to each other!

To make a long story short, he called two weeks later and said, “Sylvia, I have a new boss!” (It was still the same person, but he seemed like a different person to him now.) He had completely overhauled his relationship with his supervisor. His drive and motivation on the job were back. His mood was improving. He slept like a bear. His team finally felt safe again, stopped acting out towards each other and returned to their previous high of performances. His wife said she felt like she was falling in love again with her “new” positive-spirited husband.

This story shows the power of coaching, but it is not the norm. A lot of things came together here to make this “one-session-cures-all effect” possible. Most of the time, my clients need about six months to manifest the changes they seek in a lasting manner.

6. What does your coaching cost, and what is included?

My coaching is not priced hourly like a personal trainer. Coaching is a comprehensive service over a defined period of time during which your coach is your close partner, holding your vision and goals alive and keeping you accountable.
In addition to regular face-to-face or phone meetings, things such as email support, hotlines, documents, questionnaires, shadow days, feedback and more can be part of the package. To see my actual coaching packages, go to my Coaching page.)

The price of coaching represents more than just paying for what the coach does. It also has several important psychological effects for the client.

  • If coaching were free or under priced, clients would undervalue the coaching, lose faith in the power of coaching and, most important, wouldn’t see it as an investment in themselves.
  • A higher price for coaching results in a deeper commitment from the client to make it work and to get the most out of the coaching process. (Because of that I prefer private paying clients than corporate paid clients.)
  • Some clients feel that the level of the price mirrors the value and significance of their goal(s) or even of themselves.

Taking these effects into account, placing a low price on coaching would be a disservice to potential clients and could ruin the reputation of our industry.

Other considerations for setting the coaching price are as follows:

  • The hierarchy level or circle of impact a coaching client has;
  • The complexity, depth and scope of the coaching issue and goals;
  • The number of years the coach has practiced;
  • If the coach is certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF);
  • If the coach is a known expert in his field of expertise and is in demand; and
  • If the coach has several areas of professional expertise and multiple roles to bring to the table. An increasing number of clients are looking for more than coaching. They want someone who can offer additional services as well. In my case I’m not only an executive coach but also a trainer, facilitator, mentor and consultant. For details see my Professional Education and Toolbox page.

7. Who pays for the coaching?

Executive coaching is available for corporate managers. Worldwide, it is an established way for corporations to:

  • Acknowledge their high achievers,
  • Insure that their leaders get the best personal support (like top-athletes),
  • Make new negotiated-benefits packages more attractive,
  • Help change agents maneuver the company through difficult times,
  • Support their executives in moving up the internal career ladder, and much more.

Executives choose to pay privately for their coaching when:

  • They want to work on private issues that are not directly related to their job;
  • They don’t want anyone to know that they work with a coach;
  • They pursue a job outside their company;
  • The company does not currently have a budget to cover it; or
  • They feel their commitment would be higher if they paid for it themselves.

8. What happens during the interims evaluation?

During this evaluation the client and I check the following:

  • Are the goals still the same or are there any changes?
  • Is the client moving towards the goal, and is he satisfied with the progress?
  • What has he achieved so far?
  • Should we make any changes to the procedure or keep it the way it is?

9. What does Evaluation mean?

Evaluation is the process we use to measure the effects of coaching and to define the return of investment (ROI). Coach AND client are investing resources of time, money, know-how, experience, passion, energy, emotions and willpower—in order to be engaged in the coaching process. Both want to know the measurable results and effects to determine if the investment was worth it. In addition to balancing investment and return, the evaluation is also about appreciating and acknowledging the people involved. This is necessary to officially complete the coaching process and the relationship in a clear and honorable way.

In the case of third-party involvement such as HR or a supervising manager, it is important that confidential content from the coaching process remain confidential throughout the evaluation while describing the results and positive effects of coaching in a clear and specific manner.

10. What is “on-the-job coaching”?

On-the-job coaching occurs when I go to a client’s workplace and coach him in that setting. This is often done to support behavioral changes or sustain training measures. I only offer this on rare occasions. Because of the setting, noise levels, disturbances and the presence of superiors, co-workers and other distractions, most work environments aren’t appropriate for this type of coaching.

11. What are “shadow days”?

This refers to the times when I follow, or shadow, a client through his daily routine in order to collect information and make observations. I offer this only if it is deemed critical for reaching the coaching goal. The actual coaching—feedback and analysis of the observations—takes place in my coaching office. Most workplace environments are not appropriate for this type of coaching.

12. How do I know that I need coaching?

The word “need” doesn’t really apply here. Nobody “needs” a coach to the extent that they cannot do or be without one. A coach is not there to “fix” you like a surgeon who operates on someone after a car accident. It would be great, however, if more people would make use of a coach.

My clients are executives. They are leaders with huge responsibilities, pressures and expectations for high performance, receiving constant demands from all angles. With the accelerating speed of corporate change and the complexity of the tasks at hand constantly growing, executives want professional partners to help them stay ahead of the game. A coach can be just that: a sparring partner for managing change.

The sense of being ready for coaching can come in different ways. It could be that:

  • You feel increasing discomfort in the workplace;
  • You are experiencing greater levels of stress levels;
  • You feel an inner drive to move forward in your career;
  • You have a larger vision for yourself, and failing to pursue it is beginning to affect your sense of personal integrity; or
  • The next corporate change is on the horizon, and your inner voice tells you to get support for that.

It’s not about needing a coach. It’s about really getting this: Your desired changes become easier, faster and more lasting when manifested with the support of a coach.

Why? Because…

  • A coach keeps you accountable;
  • A coach holds your vision and goals up high even when you doubt them or try to run away from them; and
  • A coach is a mirror that reflects your blind spots, helping you to not only see them but also to redesign them.

If you feel drawn to have a coach on your side, contact with me or fill out the application form to get your complimentary Change Strategy Consultation.

13. How can I tell if a coach is good or not?

I understand the word “good” in the meaning of professional. Unfortunately, having coaching training, a college degree or management experience is not a full indicator of the professionalism of a coach.

I perceive a coach to be working professionally if he (or she):

  • Explains his understanding and concept of coaching in the first meeting in a clear understandable way;
  • Openly and honestly provides information on his qualifications;
  • Concludes both a psychological and a formal contract with the client;
  • Is capable of getting the client to formulate goals through a series of questions;
  • Is willing to use defined parameters to measure the client’s progress and success;
  • Adheres to quality standards and ethical values like the ones offered by the ICF;
  • Sticks to agreements and offers real service; and
  • Makes use of a coach himself.

I also believe a coach is working professionally if his client:

  • Feels he can trust the coach;
  • Feels accepted and respected by the coach;
  • Gets more asked than advised;
  • Feels an increase in self-confidence, self-reflection and self-realization; and
  • Feels as though he is growing.

Ultimately, a truly professional coach inspires his or her clients, helping them find the courage and willingness to take on new und unusual standpoints, trying new patterns of thought and behavior in order to outgrow former boundaries and build up new realities.

14. How do I know which coach is right for me?

Be clear about your wishes and expectations in advance—preferably in written form—before your first meeting with your potential coach. Keep the following questions in mind when establishing your expectations.

  • Should your coach be an expert in your field?
  • Should your coach have experience in your industry?
  • Are you already familiar with coaching methods? If so, do you have a preferred method?
  • Would you rather have a male or female coach?
  • Should your coach be a certain age?
  • Does it matter if your coach comes from a certain cultural background?
  • Does it matter if your coach offers both face-to-face and telephone coaching?
  • What would you like to ask your potential coach in the first meeting?

Make a list of questions for your potential coach. Meet with at least two or three coaches, and get a minimum of two or three written offers. After reflecting upon the meetings and reviewing the offers, follow your intuition and choose the coach who is right for you.

15. How do clients find you?

The majority of my clients found me through recommendations from other satisfied clients. Companies often get to know me as a trainer or change agent before adding me to their pool of coaches and recommending me to their executives.

I’ve also met new clients at lectures, conferences, conventions and networking events, and potential clients can find me through my website or via links from my partners’ websites.

16. Where does the word “Coach” come from?

According to The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology. The Origins of American English Words, “coach” was borrowed in 1556 from Middle French coche, from earlier German Kotsche (now Kutsche), from Hungarian kosci, meaning a cart made in or from Kocs, a town in northern Hungary where such carriages were made.

The use of a private tutor was first recorded in 1848 in British university usage and that of an athletic trainer in 1861. The meaning of a cart is still valid to this day, since a coach is a “vehicle” that brings people from a starting point to a target point, metaphorically—from their current situation to the manifestation of their desired goals.

The term coach has traditionally been used in sports, where the focus is on improving performance. It has since found its way through this meaning into the corporate world, where coaches are used to improve the performance of executives.

From the corporate world, coaching spilled over into the realm of business owners and entrepreneurs and then into all areas of private life. In addition to “parenting coaches,” “love coaches,” and “health coaches,” you can find more than 100 different coaching niches now on the market.

17. What is the difference between Coaching and Consulting, Training, Mentoring, Supervision or Therapy?

Here are ways to distinguish between coaching and other forms of personal development assistance:

  • If you are in a new company and want an experienced executive to assist you in your career, you are looking for a MENTOR.
  • If you want a hug, a shoulder to cry on and confirmation of how mean others are, you are looking for a FEMALE FRIEND.
  • If you want support to clean up your messy cellar or to help you buy a car, you are looking for a MALE FRIEND.
  • If you want to improve your game, learn how to better speak in public, or improve your communication skills, you are looking for a TRAINER.
  • If you want to study and learn about a new topic in history or science or music, you should try to find the right TEACHER.
  • If you feel you might be mentally unstable, want to overcome traumas or get over addictions, you might want to seek out a THERAPIST.
  • If you seek spiritual advice and comfort for your soul, you might seek out a GURU or PRIEST.
  • If you wish to implement a new strategy in your company, profitably invest your money or get marketing assistance, you are looking for a CONSULTANT.
  • If you want to solve a conflict with all involved parties in the same room, you need a MEDIATOR.
  • If you want to release and put into action all your mental and emotional potential in order to reach for—and successfully accomplish—undreamed of possibilities and goals in a creative and responsible way, you need to hire a COACH!

18. Coaching… is it just old wine in new skins?

Yes, in a way, but it is really good wine, actually, and over 1500 years old. Socrates, ancient Greek philosopher (469-399 BC), whose ideas are known to us through Plato’s dialogs, used maieutic (derived from the Greek word for midwifery), in his days. His pedagogical method, in which a series of questions are asked to not only draw individual answers but also to encourage fundamental insights, is the basis for many coaches today.

19. Why has coaching grown so popular in recent years?

Some of the answers in the media include: “The pressure on companies, their management and staff to change has increased in a measure not seen before”; “Therapists are not used by clients as a means of self-reflection”; “Churches no longer serve the purpose of dialogues and place of answers”; “Social environments, such as families, neighborhoods, clubs and teams, etc. no longer offer meaningful communication;” and “Schools are no longer a place where learning is fun and children learn to learn.”

I would like to add a further perspective as a possible answer: Coaching is the positive answer to our evolutionary growth as humans. Taking Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs into consideration: 1) physiological, 2) safety, 3) love, 4) self-esteem/status, and 5) self-actualization/purpose/meaning, I think the majority of people in developed western industrial nations have reached level four.

As a result, boredom, lack of engagement and stress are increasingly visible reactions in the corporate world. These reactions show that fewer and fewer people see a value in what they do, or they are totally overwhelmed. Because of this, coaching has established itself in the last two decades as a new professional service as more people pursue their need for more meaning, self-expression and self-responsibility.

20. What types of coaching are there?

In Germany there is still a fairly tight definition for coaching: “Coaching is the personal consulting of persons with management tasks.” This corresponds to the Anglo-American “Executive Coaching.”

Worldwide development takes this further, and there are many types of coaching. Unfortunately some people call themselves coaches even though they really aren’t. Coaching can be differentiated in the following ways:

  • Based on the target market (socio-graphics): executive coaching, start-up coaching or couples coaching, etc.;
  • Based on the main focus: business coaching, life coaching, etc.;
  • Based on the organization: internal coaching or external coaching;
  • Based on the structure of the customer relationship: individual coaching or group coaching;
  • Based on the place or setting: face-to-face coaching or telephone coaching;
  • Based on method: Systemic Coaching, NLP Coaching, Transaction Analysis Coaching, etc.; and
  • Based on the coach’s own specialization: project management coaching, strategy coaching, wellness coaching, etc. (although this can be closer to consulting than coaching).

Over 100 types of coaching currently exist in the United States.

21. What is “self-coaching”?

Up to a certain degree of emotional charge, complexity of an issue or attainability of a goal, everyone can coach themselves. One just needs the following capabilities:

  • The ability to perceive oneself from the outside,
  • The ability to distance oneself from own thoughts and feelings,
  • The ability to differentiate emotions and feelings,
  • The ability to control one’s thoughts,
  • Honesty, alertness, courage, and
  • A loving and respectful attitude towards oneself.

Everyone already knows how to implement simple forms of self-coaching through daily life. Every time you encourage yourself to do something, ask yourself questions that broaden your perspective, or acknowledge yourself, you are actually coaching yourself.

Self-coaching has its limitations because of perception thresholds (the blind-spot phenomenon) and therefore cannot completely replace a coach. However, deliberate self-coaching can support and speed up the professional coaching process, thus saving time and money. Besides, every coaching process has a time limit, and clients should avoid becoming dependent upon the coach. Because of this, it is very helpful to learn self-coaching methods during or after the coaching process in order to independently learn, reach goals and actively shape your own life.

What are the advantages of self-coaching?

  • The abilities listed above will be enforced after learning how to coach yourself.
  • You will be independent of coaches.
  • You will become freer, more self-aware and more self-confident.

In reality, I aim to make myself redundant through my coaching. That simply means that by developing self-coaching skills, my clients become their own coaches.

22. How can one become a coach?

Though it is open to all, there are four groups of people commonly drawn into coaching, often through four corresponding routes.

The first group is made up of executives, some aged 40 and over, who have lost their jobs due to changes in the economy or who have left because of an inner calling. They decide to move on to self-employment and complete a training program to be a business coach, ultimately positioning themselves as a consultant and coach in the free market. These executives-turned-coaches often have great expertise in management and organization and are specialists: strategy consultants or project management coaches.

The second group is trainers or moderators who discover the specialties of the coaching profession and want to move away from working with groups towards more intensive work with individuals. They expand their knowledge through coaches’ training. Trainers-turned-coaches often have broad methodological competence and great experience in working with people in a learning environment.

Psychologists and psychiatrists comprise the third group. They may want to move away from therapy and towards a short, solution-focused intervention process, or they might be interested in shifting from supervision in the nursing or education sector to the challenging and changing business sector with higher fees. These coaches have a deep psychological knowledge and a vast therapeutic toolbox.

The fourth group consists of people who have overcome existentially threatening crises—those who like to learn and love to help others learn. They want to turn their passion, their life experience and their talent into a profession. They complete a coaching training program to go into business for themselves or to work as internal coaches in the corporate world.

23. Where can I get education and training to become a coach?

Given the vast spectrum of training possibilities and offerings available, I have provided—as a service to you—a questionnaire that you can download to help you determine what you want.

Since 2007 I have offered a basic training for professional coaching which consists of seven 2-day modules called “The Coachmakers Training™” in the Metro Detroit area of Michigan (USA). For more information, please go to www.thecoachmakerstraining.com.

Links to mostly English-speaking training programs accredited by the International Coaching Federation can be found on the ICF website at www.coachfederation.org.

24. How could professional coaching training benefit me, an executive who wants to maintain his career?

Business is people business. As an executive you rely not only on your own performance but also on the performance of your team! As a coaching executive you would have the tools to empower them and bring out the best in them.

Relationships are key in business. As a coach you would have a huuuge toolbox and models at hand to understand the dynamics between people, communicate more efficiently, avoid conflicts if they are avoidable and manage unavoidable conflicts in a productive way.

Being a coach while being an executive will make you, simply put, a better executive and a more fulfilled and healthy human being. As a coach you can live your dream. The tools you’ll possess, value alignment, integrity, self-maintained health and vitality, resourcefulness and time-management skills, can be used for improving your life and the lives of your clients.

For more details, sign up to get my complimentary E-Book “Leaders with Four Hearts” here.

If you are interested in The Coachmakers Executive Track™ to become a trained coaching executive, please go to www.thecoachmakerstraining.com and check out the details.