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What exactly is “professional coaching,” you may be asking? Are you going to teach me how to play football? No, no - while it is true that all good coaches do adhere to the same principles and standards regardless of whether they are coaching sports or other things, sports coaching is not exactly the kind of coaching we are talking about here. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Some key words here are “thought-provoking,” “creative,” “process,” “inspire,” “maximize,” and “potential,” although I personally like to replace the word "maximize" with “optimize” when I define coaching, and you can very much expect that attitude from me as your coach!
A professional coach works with his or her client(s) as a partner in an open, trusting space where free-thought, creativity, and inspiration rule. The coach works with the client (coachee) to help him/her unlock his/her own potential and optimize his or her world.
Coaching focuses on the present and the future - how you can work with what you have right now to move forward and optimize your future self. Remember, your "future self" could even be referring to you 10 minutes from now - "the future" doesn't have to mean that it has to be a long, long way away! In this regard, coaching is different than therapy or counseling, which largely aim to work through and heal tough problems and roadblocks that are lingering from past events and experiences. Although it can be helpful at certain times in a coaching relationship to acknowledge the past in order to better get your bearings and know where all concerned parties are coming from, coaching is not a “heal the past” type of engagement. Healing wounds from the past would fall into the realm of therapy/licensed counseling.
Please note that it is perfectly acceptable to work with a coach while you are also in a working relationship with a licensed therapist/counselor. Let's use the world of sports as a quick example here, because it works exactly the same way logistically in the professional coaching world: you got injured while playing football and now you are working with both a doctor and physical therapist to help heal and regain strength and mobility. While your injury is healing, you can ALSO continue to work with your football coach - as appropriate and if possible, of course - that's not out of the question! Of course, you won't be out running on the field with an injury, but IF there is a way your coach can still support you and you can still support your "game," of course you can still follow along with that course of action while you are healing and continue to work with your football coach! Coaching doesn't suddenly become "forbidden fruit" just because you are in a therapy type of relationship with a therapist or counselor.
In contrast to consulting or training, coaches do not generally offer direct advice or suggest point-blank solutions to issues or problems. Instead, the coach helps the client to see inside him or herself to unlock the inner lock that is holding him/her back. The coach creates the space, offers tools, and runs the logistics of the coaching session, the client is the one who actually does the work and has the breakthroughs! The coach is the car with the built in GPS. The client is the driver.
Let’s take this aforementioned car with GPS model a step further, because I really like to think of professional coaching and what a professional coach does in terms of being a navigator. Of course, there are other analogies that could be drawn, but the vessel with onboard navigator is how I see coaching best. You can picture this vehicle and navigator as a modern GPS or an ‘old school’ human navigator (a person highly skilled at map reading), whichever fits your fancy; and your vessel can be whatever you choose - a car, plane, train, ship, etc. - you decide! But, essentially, in the end of the day, no matter the vessel, and no matter whether your navigation system is a real person or all-automatic, they all serve the same function: to get you from Point A to Point B following a desired route, but you (the coachee), are the one in the driver’s seat driving! YOU are the driver of your car, the captain of your ship, the pilot of your plane, the engineer of your train, that master of whichever vehicle you are in command of! Sure, the navigator can tell you such factual things as “you have just turned on to a primitive road with no warning signs,” or “this route merges with the freeway in 2 miles,” but you are still the one in the driver's seat. You are still the one driving. You still have to decide whether or not you want to continue following the current route, or if you want to take a different route. You own the vessel and the navigator and you are in control!
2) Oh, so you are not a licensed therapist or counselor?
No, I am not. Coaches are different than therapists and counselors. Coaching, therapy, and counseling are similar in the general regard that all of these practices aim to help you become a better version of yourself, but all are unique practices of their own with their own unique techniques, focuses, and approaches to getting results, although the general outcome is the same for all - to help you succeed and thrive! You would work with a coach on different issues than you would a therapist or counselor. Therapists and counselors work with healing. They can and do work with the past. Coaches work in the present to help build a brighter future. Coaches may occasionally look into the past for a quick reference, but the real work of a coach lies in the present and future.
3) Which is better - coaching or therapy/counseling?
Neither is "better" or "worse" - both serve different purposes. Just because one or the other may fit your own personal needs at this time better than the other one does, that doesn't make either practice inherently "better" or "worse" on its own. And, yes, you can be both seeing a licensed therapist and/or counselor AND working with a coach as well! That is possible and does happen! While you may notice some general overlap at times between your coaching sessions and your therapy/counseling sessions, your therapist and/or counselor will take a different approach and focus on different issues in their sessions than your coach will.
I am a success coach, and I offer my professional coaching services to anyone who feels they may benefit from a coaching relationship with me. All are welcome of any age! With that said, the people I tend to work with the most are those in the fields of coaching and education, such as educators, school leaders, professional development trainers, public speakers, other coaches, development workers, human service workers, and the like. I also work with children, teens, young adults, and older working adults around career decisions (i.e. What do I want to "be" when I "grow up?"- I put "be" and "grow up" in quotes for a reason!) If this describes the kinds of coaching services you are looking for, or if you otherwise feel like we would be a good fit working together, feel free to hit me up and let's start the conversation.
5) What kinds of topics and issues do you coach on?
I am a success coach, which means I normally coach people around major life goals, generally concerning their careers and education, but it doesn't have to be limited to those two areas. Let's be clear, there is no one "exact kind of topic" I coach on per say - everyone's case is unique! Many times people come to me wanting coaching related to their career/career advancement/career changes and/or schooling, or other areas of personal growth & development as it relates to working, making money in life, and building a career and/or getting an education/furthering their education. Often times ones pursuit of career and pursuit of education are closely related to each other (although definitely not always, and they definitely don't have to be). Just like the basic premise of this website states (also laid out on the "Start Here" page), most of us spend a considerable amount of our lives pursuing money, which means most of us in this 21st Century world spend a lot of our lives working, so why not optimize how we work to get the best out of our jobs and careers that we can? With this in mind, my coaching revolves mainly around job and career decision making, and educational decision making as it relates to job and career growth and development.
Generally those I coach are in or are otherwise somehow affiliated with the fields of education, coaching, or other service-related fields. Here are some examples of coaching topics we could work together on. Please keep in mind that these are just some general example scenarios! Each coaching relationship is different and unique! If any of these below scenarios sound similar or related to what you are looking for, drop me a line at email@example.com and let's start the conversation, or contact me through the Contact page. We will work together to dive into your specific case with a plan tailored just for you.
- Should I take the promotion being offered to me at work, or should I go back to school?
- Should I stay in school and get my diploma/degree/certificate, or should I drop out and move on with other things in life?
- Should I take the promotion being offered to me at work, or should I just let everything remain the way it is right now?
- Should I continue down the path of starting my own business here in Country X, or should I move to Country Z to take a 'regular job'?
- My school is opening a new campus and my director asked me if I would like to move to the new campus. The move would also come with a promotion. I don't know how I feel about all of this or what I should do!
- Every day feels the same, I teach my students/work with my clients, come home, and go to bed. I feel like I have plateaued in my job/career. What can I do to take things to the next level?
- I recently graduated from college or recently switched jobs/career paths. My new job seems so new to me and I'm feeling lost.
- I'm a child or teenager wondering what school and life are all about. The adults in my life tell me I need to go to school so I can get a good job, but I don't really get it. What's a "good job" anyway? What does school really teach me about "getting ahead in life" anyway?
- I've been teaching Middle School Science for 17 years and love my job, but recently I've been thinking about the possibility of opening up an e-commerce website that sells educational science kits and supplies, or maybe becoming a freelance tutor. I'm not sure which direction I want to take next, or if I really even want to change anything in my life at all, actually; but there's this unsettled feeling inside of me telling me that something should change.
- I've been running my own brick-and-mortar skateboard store for 8 years now. I really enjoy doing this, but business has been dry the last two years. In these tough times, I've turned my efforts more toward teaching skateboarding classes to interested would-be skaters. Little did I know how much I would enjoy the act of teaching! I love teaching so much that I am now considering changing careers to become a full-time teacher in a traditional brick-and-mortar school setting, but I don't even know where or how I would get started on this journey.
- I've worked in private business my whole life, but we are about to move because of my spouse's job. My spouse is a teacher, and the school she is going to be working for likes my background, too, and is wondering if I would like to work there as well (in some capacity). I've never worked in education or in a school setting of any sort or in any capacity for that matter and I have mixed feelings about this. I'm not sure what to do.
- I've had close friends/family who have gone out to teach internationally and really loved it! I've considered giving it a try myself, but I don't really know where to start/am not really sure about it all.
Remember, these are just a some general examples, but I hope these examples give you a better idea of some of the types of topics we can explore together if we enter into a coaching agreement together.
6) What will this look like schedule-wise and logistic-wise if I enter into a coaching agreement with you, Andreas? How is the whole thing going to "flow"?
When you come to me for coaching, we will start out with a “Discovery Session.” This is our very first session together where we take the time to get to know each other and talk about:
- what you want coaching on; - who you are, where you have come from, and what you are looking for; - short-term and long-term goals and expectations we both have for our Coaching Partnership; and - guidelines, scheduling, and other logistical details of the Coaching Partnership;
In this session, we generally try to get a sense for who we are as people, how we interact with each other, and, ultimately, seek to determine if we both feel we could form a meaningful Coaching Partnership together or not. The Discovery Session is not an actual coaching session, per say, it is more akin to a conversation between two people determining if they would be a good fit working together. During the Discovery Session, you are as much seeking to get a feel of me as I am of you - it's a two way street! If we determine that we would not be good coaching partners, then we simply go our separate ways after the Discovery Session and that is that. There is no charge for the initial Discovery Session itself. If we determine that we may be good coaching partners, then I will send you a Coaching Agreement for you to read through and sign (we will both sign it) before our next session, which will be the Intake Session. A non-refundable US$55 will be charged and needs to be paid in full before we move forward with our Intake Session.
The Intake Session, while similar to the Discovery Session in some ways, is the first “real” Coaching Session in the sense that we will actually get into some “real” coaching during this session. The Intake Session focuses heavily on solidifying clear expectations for the two of us partnering together and setting specific goals for our time together – both short-term goals and long-term goals. During the Intake Session we will revisit and review the items we discussed in the Discovery Session; discuss, hone, and focus goals; and look at where priorities lie. If you have purchased a "One Shot Deal" package, then the Intake session will be combined with the end of the Discovery Call and re-affirmed at the beginning of your Coaching Session. After the Intake Session, our next session is the real-deal Coaching Session 1. After the Intake Session, we will again touch bases with one another to reaffirm that we want to continue moving forward as partners in our Coaching Agreement or not.
If we do go ahead and move into Session 1, we will have two (2) coaching sessions and then a Midpoint Check-In Session. The Midpoint Check-In Session, as the name suggests, is a session where we check-in and see how everything is going. Similar to the Discovery Session, the Midpoint Check-In is not a “true” coaching session, but more of a conversation and debriefing. If we need to make any tweaks or modifications to our program going forward, we will talk about this during the Midpoint Check-In. Although combine as part of the overall package, Midpoint Check-Ins are considered free sessions.
After the first Midpoint Check-In, we will have three (3) more paid coaching sessions and then our Final Session (also considered a free session), or another Midpoint Check-In, depending on the package you choose.
In a nutshell, this is the general layout of what you can expect when you enter into a coaching agreement with me. I am also open to talking about custom packages of varying lengths and, after we have had an initial all-important Discovery Session. After an initial Discovery Session, coaching on a pay-as-you-go session-to-session basis at a rate of US$55/hour is also an option upon request if you feel that would fit your needs best.
8) As I look through the website, I see mention of "free sessions" and "paid sessions" - what exactly does this mean?
The Discovery Session, Check-In Sessions, and Final Sessions are all considered free sessions. All other sessions are considered paid sessions. This is clearer to see if you and I are working on putting together a custom coaching package - you will not be billed for the Discovery Session, Check-In Sessions, and Final Sessions. Even in the standard coaching packages offered, only the price of the actual Coaching Sessions themselves have been used a factor in determining the prices of the packages. You are only billed for the actual Coaching Sessions. The Discovery Session, Check-In Sessions, and Final Session are all vital components of any good coaching partnership, however, these sessions serve more as "conversations between two people" as opposed to actual coaching work, hence, the reason they are not considered paid sessions. I would like to stress again that these sessions still make up a very crucial part of the whole coaching partnership and the fact that they are not billed for does not mean they are any less powerful or important than any of our other time we will spend together throughout the coaching process, but they are not actual coaching, so they are not billed for.
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