1. Why is coaching becoming so in vogue ?
2. What is coaching ?
3. How would a typical coaching conversation unfold ?
4. What are the differences between coaching and psychology ?
5. What are the differences between coaching and conseling ?
6. What are the differences between coaching and mentoring ?
7. What are the differences between coaching and managing ?
8. I am a manager, can I coach my employees ?
9. What are the advantages of completing a coaching program versus attending a training program ?
10. How to recongnize a competent coach ?
11. In which domain did you have the best success ?
12. What are the typical areas where you would coach somebody ?
13. Are the details of what goes on in coaching program kept confidential ?
14. Where is the coaching session held ?
15. What do you charge for your services ?
16. What coaching approach do you use ?

1. Q. Why is coaching becoming so in vogue ?

A. The pace of change continues to accelerate in tandem with breakthroughs in technology (PC’s, Internet, Telecommunications, Health Sciences), resulting in great improvements in the standard of living. However, the world is becoming a more complex and ambiguous place, and the pace of life seems to be increasing inexorably. In particular, in the business world, the prevailing trend is towards managers and employees accomplishing increasingly demanding goals and objectives with shrinking budgets, resources and timeframes. Coaching is seen as providing a focused, customized and just-in-time intervention to develop needed new competencies and adapt to the more complex environment.

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2. Q. What is coaching ?

A. Coaching is not about doing it to you or for you. It is about allowing you to look at your own situation from different perspectives in order to help you arrive at a path of action to achieve your goals. Coaching enables you to develop new areas of practical competence, build true confidence and expand your capacity for effective action and results.

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3. Q. How would a typical coaching conversation unfold ?

A. During this interaction, the dialogue will be orchestrated in a way that you can see something new and meaningful. These insights will then be translated into new actions to be implemented in your life or in your organisation.

At the end of the conversation, you are more likely to identify learning and development activities that are often referred to as assignments or homework. From one session to the other, your coach would assist you on building new capacities and on leveraging your learning through the assignments, the new actions that you undertake or the new conversations that you have.

You can prepare in advance for the coaching session by bringing your planner and a small binder to keep track of the coaching sessions. Use these to take notes; record your assignments and their results; prepare for the next coaching session and store away any pieces of paper that your coach might hand out to you.

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4. Q. What are the differences between coaching and psychology ?

A. We can find different approaches within this vast discipline known as psychology: psychoanalysis, cognitive theory, psychopathology, etc. Names of renowned psychologists such as Stanley Hall, Jung, Freud, Erickson, Pavlov, Watson, Maslow, etc. come to mind. This discipline has developed over time in different branches according to the influence of researchers and scientists who were interested in the psychic development of a person. This discipline is generally the result of a particular approach to help people improve their well being and quality of life. The focus of the discipline is usually focused on resolving events from the past. The family history is often on the conversational agenda.Psychology will be interested in pathologies such as depression, burn-out, bipolar syndrome, schizophrenia, anxiety, alcoholism, etc. The treatment consists of a diagnostic and a therapeutic intervention. There have also been advances in psychology such as industrial, organisational and motivational psychology.

Coaching is a well known discipline in the fields of Sports and Art. Its focus is on developing human capability to improve performance. It is a fairly new discipline in the business environment. Among others, Flores and Searle awakened the business word by developing an ontological approach to coaching. In this approach performance is the result of the conversations we are able to have, and the actions we are able to take. The focus of the coaching conversation is on the present and the future. The objective is to assist the individual in the development of new capabilities to enable him to exercise his leadership in both his personal and professional life. The focus is not solely on reflecting on what’s important for the individual but also on designing a program which will enable the realization of desired outcomes. The coaching intervention can therefore allow the individual to practice new actions until the feeling of " being able" is attained. We are talking here about a learning journey.

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5. Q. What are the differences between coaching and counseling ?

A. The products of coaching are the development of long-term excellent performance, i.e.; not only resolving a short-term issue but developing capacity in the individual being coached. This new capacity will lead to a sustained improvement on the level of performance. The objective is also to allow them to improve on their own on an ongoing basis and to be able to take corrective action whenever they revert back to their old ways.

Counseling does not involve the learning of a new skill or competence but rather deals with a specific situation in which advice is required (e.g. lawyer, professional money manager).

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6. Q. What are the differences between coaching and mentoring ?

A. Mentoring typically entails an advisory relationship between an employee and a more senior manager (a mentor) in the same organisation. The mentor knows it because he’s done it. Typically, the mentor transfers his knowledge to the individual being mentored, as well as levers his influence and personal network to assist the individual being mentored in advancing in his career. Often the success will rely on the credibility and reputation of the mentor.

On the other side, the coach acts in the shadow, observing and assessing his/her client to ensure that the person is able to make their own way and acquire the knowledge and develop specific capacities directly related to what needs to be achieved. The individual being coached sets the direction and is in action. In a coaching relationship, it is more a question of building capability, autonomy, creativity and ownership. Knowing that the future is quite often difficult to predict, the coaching relationship allows the development of discernment and good judgment.

Both coaching and mentoring have their place in organisations. In fact, having mentors adopt a coaching approach can increase the positive impact of a mentoring program in an organisation.

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7. Q. What are the differences between coaching and managing ?

A. We like to say that we manage budgets and we coach people. We cannot correct people like we can when correcting a budget. Managing is more focused on setting objectives, delegating key projects and assigning tasks to achieve the organization's mission. We observe however a need on the part of employees and teams to be managed differently. Coaching allows for new possibilities in how to manage.

Coaching people means building a meaningful relationship with an individual in a way that we are completely aware of their concerns, commitments and career aspirations. The dual role of a manager/coach adds to the complexity of the task and often represents a paradox between the needs of the organisation and the learning and developmental needs of the employee. To be able to go beyond this paradox is the current challenge that faces many managers.

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8. Q. I am a manager, can I coach my employees ?

A. The challenge for the manager is to be able to juggle oftentimes conflicting priorities: to manage, to listen, to display empathy, to demand results. In addition, the employee may find it difficult to confide in his manager for fear of future consequences. How to tell your boss that you are not really sure on how to have a difficult conversation or how to delegate effectively? Generally speaking, the employee wants to demonstrate his competence in doing the work. The coaching between a manager and the employee is more easily achieved in an organisation where a learning based culture exists. We can guide you through acquiring the competencies required to coach members of your team.

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9. Q. What are the advantages of completing a coaching program versus attending a training program ?

A. A coaching program will be much more focused, self-directed and customized to what the individual being coached needs at this particular point in time. The areas that will be focused on are those that are important to the client and that he/she wants to significantly improve upon. The coaching program will address both the new learning that is required as well as the action plan needed to integrate this new learning into the client’s activities. A training program tends to be much broader in scope, is a one time event and typically covers more material than what is needed at the present time; in addition, most training programs do not have an implementation phase to ensure that what has been learned can be integrated.

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10. Q. How to recognize a competent coach ?

A. You will recognize a competent coach by his or her capacity to listen to what you have to say without jumping to conclusions, interrupting or guiding the discussion from their own will or point of view. A competent coach has the patience and the dedication to take the time to know who you are and what is important to you. He or she will not base their assessment on personal judgment; presumptions or what would or should be normal to do. The competent coach has a genuine interest in people and in their success and is able to differentiate between transferring his knowledge, providing solutions and guiding the client towards a deeper, more practical and sustained learning.

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11. Q. In which domain did you have the best success ?

A. We have had lots of experience coaching managers who need to reinvent their leadership. We have led coaching development programs to allow employees, managers and senior managers to develop coaching skills. Our expertise is also to coach new leaders who have been promoted from an expert based function to management. We have also guided teams in identifying their vision and strategic objectives; and finally, many success stories of people who were seeking to find out their purpose in life; they wanted to reorient their career and align it to what they deeply valued. This journey has allowed our clients to create synergy between what they are passionate about and their career.

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12. Q. What are typical areas where you would coach somebody ?

  • Improving or deepening; coaching skills, leadership, communication, team cohesion, delegation or time management;
  • Improving on performance management;
  • Adapting to a new job, a new organisation or a new boss;
  • Making better decisions - for leaders and business owners e.g.; hiring additional personnel, focusing on certain products or services, restructuring the roles and responsibilities within the organisation;
  • Achieving a better balance between work and the rest of life;
  • Developing a powerful personal vision that will give the individual a sense of direction and purpose and how to go about fulfilling on that vision;
  • Finding more meaningful work;
  • Resolving difficult interpersonal relationships;

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13. Q. Are the details of what goes on in the coaching program kept confidential ?

A. Yes, completely confidential; the client will be consulted and will direct what information, if any, is communicated back to any individuals in his organisation (e.g. supervisor, mentor) ?

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14. Q. Where is the coaching session held ?

A. The coaching session are ideally held in a private meeting room or office. Often, we will conduct the coaching sessions in the client’s work environment in either their office or a conference room. Sometimes, it is preferable to meet outside the work environment in an appropriate venue such as a quiet café, our office, etc.

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15. Q. What do you charge for your services ?

A. The rates vary depending on the specifics and the duration of the coaching program (1 session versus a 6 month program). We would be pleased to sit down with you and discuss in more detail a proposed program and the opportunities that a coaching program could represent for you.

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16. Q. What coaching approach do you use ?

A. The methodologies we use in coaching people are varied. Among others, we use an integral approach developed by James Flaherty (New Ventures West - California). A detailed description of this methodology can be found in his book "Coaching: Evoking Excellence in Others". The integral approach means that we work with the client in a global and holistic way; the various aspects: cognitive, emotional, physical, somatic and spiritual are addressed as required. We are also in close collaboration with ‘The Coaching Network’, a company led by Gordon Collins. We have included two articles from Gordon Collins in the Resources section.

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