Frequently Asked Questions
What is coaching?
Coaching is a confidential interaction between a client and a trained professional coach. Through this interaction, the client increases self-awareness and sets goals for future development.
How do I know if I need a psychotherapist, a consultant or a coach?
Think about what made you consider reaching out for help.
Are you working to resolve past issues? Are you struggling currently with symptoms such as depression or anxiety? If so, a psychotherapist is likely the best choice for you.
Are you interested in learning more about your personality at work and/or in your personal life? Do you feel “stuck” at work or are you wondering how you can handle interpersonal situations at work more effectively? If so, a coach is more likely what you are seeking?
Still not sure? Feel free to reach out to me.
How should I choose a coach?
Once you have found coaches whose areas of expertise match your needs, you can then think about how important in-person meetings are to you. If you prefer to see someone in person, you can restrict your search to a certain geographic area. Sometimes you can find the right person near you.
If you cannot find someone near you or you are open to “virtual” meetings via secure encrypted video conference, you can expand your search. Read coaches websites. See if you can find videos or recordings of them. Pay attention to your gut responses to their information and/or their voice. See if the coaches in whom you are interested provide an initial consultation meeting for free. What are your impressions once you do so? How do you feel after this meeting?
Why should I choose you as my coach?
I think that it is important that you review my recommendations for searching for a coach in regard to geographic location and areas of expertise. First, you should determine what is important to you.
If you find my name on your “short list” of coach options, you may find that my background in psychology is of benefit. I have provided psychotherapy and taught undergraduate and graduate-level psychology courses for over 20 years. I think that the richness of my psychology background brings a deep understanding of human behavior to my coaching practice.
In addition, I am actively continuing my own development both as a professional and as a person. I have benefitted from my own coaching as I have made the transition from a career in mental health. I aim to provide to my clients the same value of coaching that I have personally experienced.
Lastly and most importantly, I find great value in the use of humor. I infuse my coaching work with it when it is appropriate.
Can I work with you online?
Maybe. I am very comfortable using technology for meetings with clients. Whether I can work with you using video-conference software will depend upon current laws governing the practice of coaching in your area. Contact me for further information.
What should I expect in coaching sessions?
Coaching is a goal-driven interaction. Sessions will be structured around specific areas of interest and conversations will focus on helping you think more deeply about yourself. Coaches ask many questions to help you discover more about yourself. Sessions usually end with a summary of what we have accomplished in our discussion and a set of tasks (“own-work”, not homework) to be completed prior to our next meeting.
What is the difference between coaching, consulting and psychotherapy?
Psychotherapists are specialists trained in assisting clients with problems in mental health. Therapists focus primarily on the past and work to help clients heal from its effects. Psychotherapy is needed if someone’s presenting issues include problems associated with depression, anxiety, trauma and/or substance abuse.
Consultants are individuals who are content expert in a specific area. They are hired to assist an individual or organization solve a specific problem by sharing their expertise directly. Consultants may review an organization’s circumstances and make recommendations for change. They may also be paid by an organization to actively solve the problem themselves. Once the problem is solved, the consultant is no longer needed.
Coaches are specialists trained in personal and/or executive coaching. They usually have other areas of expertise in business or mental health that serve as a foundation for their coaching work. Coaches focus mostly on the future and assist clients with solving their own problems.
What skills should I look for in a coach?
Think about what you want out of coaching. Do you want someone who shares your background in business? Meditation? Fitness? Spirituality? I would encourage you to reflect on what questions/issues have motivated you to seek out coaching and look for someone whose background matches your interests most closely.
How can a coach help me? Can’t I just talk to my friends?
Perhaps you can talk to your friends. Start there. Maybe friends can offer you the input that you need and they may know you best.
People sometimes find that friends are great sources of support but they are not necessarily the greatest sources for the expertise that we may need. In addition, people may find that they do not want to share some personal information with friends and would prefer a confidential interaction that is structured around their needs.
Do you have a life outside your work?
Yes, indeed I do have my own life. I believe that if you are going to coach others in their lives, you need to have one of your own. My teaching and counseling practice have kept me very busy over the last twenty years and I have needed to navigate the challenges of finding life balance in spite of a very intense schedule.
I am very committed to fitness and live an active life. Although I watch sports on occasion, I must prefer to be actively engaged in sports myself. I go to the gym and/or run at least 3-4 times a week. I have completed several marathons in my life and I have benefitted from the ways that sports challenge me to expect more from myself.
In addition, I enjoy skiing in the winter and motorcycling in the summer. I continue to develop my fluency in German and travel to visit friends there at least once a year.
How does online coaching differ from in-person?
I think that there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of sessions.
I personally find that in-person sessions offer a richer experience “in the moment” together. I find that subtleties of non-verbal behavior are easier to notice when I am in-person with a client.
Online sessions can offer greater flexibility of scheduling. Online sessions also allow clients to attend a coaching session and transition quite seamlessly back to work or other life tasks.
How should I prepare for a coaching session?
I suggest that clients build in at least a few minutes of preparation time prior to a coaching session. If you are rushing to a coaching session from a prior meeting, you may not be very focused on your goals. You may also be distressed or distracted by an irritating conversation or traffic difficulties that have you “amped up.”
Ideally, you will have a few minutes to get centered prior to a coaching session. Some clients like to meditate or do a mindfulness exercise before we meet. We can also build that into the first few minutes of our meeting. It is truly amazing how 3-5 minutes of mindfulness can help us to quiet our minds and be more focused.