Coaching is currently an unregulated profession in the UK, meaning anyone can design a business card and call themselves a coach. Because of this, it is important that you do your research very carefully.
It is worth checking whether the coach is a member of a recognised professional body such as the EMCC, AoC or ICF. You may also want to check whether the coach is Accredited – in other words has had their work reviewed and assessed by experts in the area and recognised as of a standard that deserves accreditation.
You may want to check if they have relevant coaching qualifications and, if important to you, relevant professional qualifications and life/work experience.
You will also want to ask about whether they work to a specified Code of Coaching Conduct – they should offer to give you a copy of this. And finally you may want to check that they participate in regular supervision and have relevant insurance cover.
But qualifications and memberships mean very little if you find that you do not get on with your coach. Many coaches offer you a preliminary meeting, sometimes called a chemistry meeting or an intake meeting. This is often free, the primary purpose of which is to offer you (and the coach) an opportunity to test whether there is the potential for a good coaching relationship. Never feel obliged to continue if you don’t want to.
As well as my passion for health and background as a physician, I have had the direct experience of returning to work after two major health issues and face the subsequent challenges of working on reduced hours/modified responsibilities. The first time involved major surgery to my neck, and the second time I developed depression after burning out at work. The first time involved me having to change my career path, and the second involved me transitioning back into my old role – or so I thought.
Indeed, many people return to work with a sense of minor disruption only, adjusting quickly to what is needed of them and slipping quickly back into role. But this is not the case for everyone.
Though I recovered well from both of my health issues, my performance was not up to the standard it needed to be, not initially – and it only slowly returned. The second time, I didn’t have enough insight at the time to address my issues effectively and I didn’t have the brave conversions with my management that I needed to have – I was too busy trying to stay ‘normal’. What I didn’t realise was quite how much I had changed, and how much the organisation had changed whilst I “wasn’t looking”. My employers recognised my need and encouraged me to work with a coach. With his support, I started to see what I needed to do to move my life forward.
My aim is to use my understanding of what it feels like to be in this position to work with clients as they return to work and re-establish themselves in the workplace: to help them identify with their needs and challenges; to support them as they prepare for significant conversations; to encourage them as they explore their new selves in their old environment – or perhaps in their subtly new and uncomfortably strange environment; to be with them as they test whether they still belong; and to offer opportunities to explore new values and possibly a new sense of potential.
And my goal is to ensure that my clients effectively, efficiently and joyfully re-establish themselves back into the workforce
No, not always. Some client/coach combinations prefer to meet face-to-face whilst others prefer to meet virtually. And research has shown that all three modes of working together result in successful coaching – it comes down to personal preference in most cases.
Face-to-face has the disadvantage of either the coach or client (or both) having to travel. Meeting virtually avoids this and is therefore more efficient from a time management perspective; and with the advent of Skype, to name but one virtual meeting platforms, coaching this way can feel almost as personal as being in the same room. Of course, it is best to test the Skype connection before committing to this form of relationship as signal issues can be very disruptive to the flow of the session.
Some coaches offer telephone coaching too, but for many, Skype has replaced this method of communicating. That said, access to a working phone is an absolutely essential backup for virtual coaching, just in case there is signal disaster!
They could do. If they were covered in fairy lights.
It is important to me that you are seeing a return from your investment in coaching. Therefore, I offer a money-back or no fee guarantee; if, after our first coaching session, you feel you have not received anything of value I will either not invoice you or I will refund fees already paid.
During the coaching, please let me know if you are not happy about how we are working together at any time – it is important to me that you are receiving the support you need. If we cannot resolve things to your satisfaction, I will happily refund your fees for all unused sessions.
There is no denying that you will have to be prepared to make an investment if you wish to work with a coach. And this investment is as much an investment of time and effort as it is a financial one.
I recognise that clients who are paying for their coaching themselves cannot afford corporate rates therefore I offer both personal and corporate rates. The actual cost depends on the type of coaching programme you are looking for and whether you decide to pre-book sessions, as I offer a discount for block bookings.
In addition, for clients that are funding their own coaching, I state the investment as a range and ask the client to decide on an amount within that range. In this way, I ask you to play an active role in deciding the level of fee you pay, to ensure that you are fully invested in your choices as we work together. And to ensure that you can benefit from a full ‘course’ of coaching, and not feel restricted by affordability.
Finally, I hold a small number of spaces open for clients who are unable to afford my personal rate structure and have strong drive to engage a coach.
If you would like to receive an estimate of what coaching could cost you, contact me using the form on the Contact page and I’ll send you an outline of costs as soon as I can.
My standard hours are Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.
I am also happy to meet with you in the early mornings (7am – 9am), evenings (6pm – 9pm) and weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, after 1pm) if this works better for you; a 10% surcharge will be applied to the applicable session/booking rate.
I am trained as a Relational Coach. This means that I believe we experience our world through the relationships we develop with people and situations. Therefore the most important tool and intervention that I offer my clients is our relationship together, forming what we call ‘the space inbetween’ – i.e. the safe space in which you can explore, experiment, give and receive feedback as I use my experience of how we are together to hold a mirror to how you may be with others.
It also means that I see organisations as networks of relationships. Therefore when working with clients on topics related to their work, I actively encourage exploration of the nature of the relationships in their workplace, the impact that has on the client’s attitude, approach, behaviour and performance in the workplace, and their role in sustaining healthy and unhealthy professional relationships.
Coaching is a special form of one-on-one working relationship, a partnership based on equality, trust, openness and accountability.
The goal of coaching is to ensure that you get the chance to make the most of your skills, strengths, and relationships.
Coaching can improve your personal effectiveness and help you develop a more fruitful approach to your career, personal life, and families. Personal coaching can also affect change in organisational and family effectiveness – the impact of your personal change can have a very positive effect on others who spend time with you.
Just as you might hire a golf coach or a tennis coach to help you develop a better game, personal coaches help you address your most pressing needs in both the workplace and your private life.
This is such a difficult question, as people are as different as their reasons for coaching. But coaching is a time bound activity – it is expected to come to a natural end.
For example, you may contract with a coach for 6 sessions – and this would be based on a mutual assessment of your coaching question and your coaching goals. Some clients request more sessions, some achieve their goals in less. Critically, the purpose of coaching is to help you safely and effectively establish yourself on your path, not to provide a long-term support system for you.
My clients are always invited to my home for our sessions. I have several spaces in my home that are suitable for coaching, each with its own look and feel, including a heated space outside for those who enjoy working in the fresh air.
I recognise that this may not be practical for clients who are not local to Milton Keynes and therefore I am happy to work via Skype or telephone.
For clients that are sponsored by their organisations, we can arrange for me to meet you at or near your office, if preferred.
It depends on the challenge that you are working on, on the degree of change you hope to see as a result of your coaching programme and your willingness to work on yourself in and between sessions. And it also depends on how well you define what success looks like as part of your goal setting process with your coach – if you haven’t thought through what you are aiming for, it is likely that you won’t recognise it as you approach it, no matter how close you are.
Some clients can see or feel change happening after their first session, and may receive comments regarding things being different from friends, family, colleagues; for others it may take several, or all of the sessions before they become aware of results, especially if established beliefs or behaviours have to be reworked as part of the programme.
The Thinking Environment is the brain child and life work of Nancy Kline, author, coach and thought leader. It consists of 10 core Components – Attention, Ease, Feelings, Encouragement, Diversity, Equality, Place, Incisive Questions, Appreciation, and Information. Each Component is powerful individually, but the presence of all 10 working together results in a highly transformative experience for thinker and listener alike.
When the Components are practiced within the framework of the 4 core Applications – Thinking Partnerships, Dialogues, Rounds and Open Discussions, separately or in combination – the result is deceptively simple yet constructively disruptive team process.
The Components and Applications are combined to meet the needs of the team and the meeting agenda, making the Thinking Environment an ideal, flexible method for enhancing the power of individual thinking, intensifying team creativity and increasing productivity.
If you would like to know more, I highly recommend Nancy’s book “Time to Think: listening to Ignite the Human Mind”.
There is no correct answer to this question, as the length of a coaching relationship varies depending on your reasons for coaching, your needs and your preferences.
For some people, three to six months of working with a coach may work. For others, it may be more beneficial to work with a coach for a longer period.
There are many factors that may impact the length of time you work with a coach: the types of goals, the ways you prefer to work, the frequency of your meetings with your coach, your willingness and ability to commit to any agreed ‘homework’ and of course, the financial resources that you can put towards coaching.
Simple answer to that question is no, there is nothing that you should avoid when woking with a coach.
Most coaches will not work with you on current mental health issues, but instead may suggest that you see a therapist. This is because Coaches are not trained to deal with trauma, deep distress or other issues that may need a specialist approach from someone with experience in clinical issues. But please, please don’t hold back from sharing such issues with your coach; by sharing, you are helping them support you more. A referral to a suitable alternative helping professional is not a failure!
When we start out on our coaching relationship, we will work together to clarify your coaching question and desired outcomes and these then become our guiding framework.
I will then tailor the coaching sessions to help you achieve these, whilst at the same time ensure that we are working on whatever is most important to you at that time.
At the end of each session, I will ask you to reflect on what you have discovered or learnt anew and invite you to set yourself some ‘homework’. You chose how specific you wish to be regarding any actions you may take before we meet again. And as we start our next session, I will ask you to share with me the outcome of any such actions, how much you have tested or applied your new learning and what changes you have seen as a consequence.
I will invite you to formally review your coaching question and goals every 3 sessions or so. We will also tweak and tailor your coaching journey, as we travel.
I will invite us to share feedback with each other at the end of the session, and will specifically ask you what could I be doing differently to support you more.
I have forms that you can use at before we start of our coaching journey to help you identify your goals, at the end of each meeting to reflect on that day’s coaching session and after our formal reviews. If completed, they can be used to keep us on track as we work together and to measure and monitor the success of your coaching journey at the end of the programme.
Both coaching and therapy involve confidential ‘helping’ one-to-one relationships and are focused on working towards your personal, desired changes.
But coaching is not therapy, but instead an opportunity for you to embark on what I like to call a ‘deep study of one’s own future potential’ in a safe and supported space. Having said that, many of my clients do find coaching very therapeutic, as it is an opportunity to talk openly without risking being judged or rejected, to explore who they are and what they stand for in a safe and trusting environment.
Therapists/councillors are trained professionals and are affiliated with a professional body who sets the standards to which they work. Whilst coaching is unregulated in the UK, increasingly coaches also undergo specific training in coaching skills, they affiliate with a professional body and undergo professional accreditation. See the FAQ: “How can I tell if a coach is good?” for more information.
The main difference between coaching and therapy is that coaching focuses mainly on the present and what can be done now to help you develop and grow into your future professional and/or personal potential, whilst therapy (simplistically) involves resolving difficulties arising from the past to help you deal with the present and future in more emotionally healthy ways.
Another way to look at it is, coaching is not about healing per se, but about building on the health that is already present.
Well, I think it could be blue. Possibly navy blue. Or red.
Do you value the quality of your life and desire to have a fulfilling personal and professional life? Are you committed to learning, open to support and want to be proactive in solving a problem or issue? Are you ready to undergo a change – perhaps a change in your personal effectiveness, a change in your quality of life, or a change in direction for your organisation. Or are you in the midst of a transition and are finding it challenging?
Have you identified with any of the statements on my About You page?
Then coaching may be right for you.
Coaching is not appropriate if you are looking for expert advice (this is the role of a consultant or mentor) or personal healing from a past trauma (this is the expertise of trained therapists and counsellors).
I do sometimes use psychometric testing with my clients, if that is something that they want to do.
I am BACP accredited for the administration and interpretation of psychometric tests and am trained in the use of the Talent Q suite of assessments, managed by the world-renowned Hays Group, now part of Korn Ferry.
But if you have had psychometric testing in the last 2 years, I am happy to work with you using that test as long as you have a copy of your report as I will not be re-interpreting your results.
Coaching offers a you a space away from the urgency and demands of your work or busy daily routine, during which you can reflect on the personal/professional growth you wish to achieve and/or the issues that challenging you, impacting your effectiveness and satisfaction.
Coaching helps you to discover deeper insights about yourself and your environment, build resilience, manage change constructively and find new ways to navigate complex issues.
Coaching does this though honest conversations, deep reflection and by supporting professional and personal learning, something that is often absent in the busyness of our lives.
Coaching supports and challenges you to develop personal courage and confidence to make new choices that increase your effectiveness and satisfaction at work and in your life.
I am a fully qualified and accredited Executive Coach, which means that I am trained to work with senior executives, leaders and managers as they strive to improve their performance, deliver their professional and organisational goals and enhance their leadership and interpersonal skills. And as a consequence of their work and influence, increase their organisation’s performance in parallel.
But I have more than training – I also bring many years of corporate and leadership experience, including time spent at affiliate Board level in a FTSE 100 company. I use my own insights and understanding of what it feels to be working at this level as I support leaders as they explore and experiment with new options, new choices.
I work with leaders as they transition into new roles, as they develop their potential in their current role and they look to deliver major projects.
Many leaders come to me for coaching, fully sponsored by their organisations, Others self-fund their coaching, as they wish to work independently from their employer. Invariably, both come to me with specific goals that involve an exploration of how they work, how they interact with others and how they can change to achieve their professional potential.
However, leaders are human beings with life outside of work… and frequently a work/life balance that is affecting themselves and significant others. Therefore I take a holistic approach when I coach leaders, inviting them to explore both work and life based factors that could be inhibiting their success today… and enhance their potential in the future if change is allowed to happen.
No, not at all. If you recognise yourself in the statements on the About You Page, I would be delighted to work with you, regardless of the size of your organisation. I have several clients who work in organisations with an employee base of one – themselves! And others who are going through a major transition and are either not currently employed or looking to move from corporate into self-employment or even looking to change direction altogether. What matters is that this is good, constructive chemistry between us and that you have a desire to explore.
Good coaches sign up to a Code of Ethics, and they should be reality offer you a copy (or the link to an e-copy). They will often sign an agreement with you about confidentiality and of course should offer to answer any questions that you may have.
Whilst you are working with a coach, they will need to keep personal details about you: name, address, mobile number and/or Skype address as well as brief session notes. They therefore have accountabilities under GDPR and should be registered with the ICO. You may wish to ask them about how they mange confidential information and how long they keep notes taken during your sessions.
Your coach is your thinking partner, an objective sounding board, a mirror, your personal motivator and your loyal supporter. We are fully committed to your success and offer you a ‘place of safety’ from which you can explore uncomfortable questions and deeply uncertain answers, allowing you to discover what you need to do to achieve your potential.
Coaches plan and prepare each coaching session to meet your particular challenges and needs and some may agree with you ‘homework’ that will assist you as you journey between sessions. We will always ensure that your coaching experience is tailor-made for you and is of the highest quality.
Coaches will offer you encouragement and support as you move forward on your path of self-discovery, helping you find the solutions that are right for you. We aim to motivate, challenge and inspire you to achieve exceptional personal and professional results.
What we don’t do is do the work for you – we ask questions to help uncover the wealth of skills and knowledge that already exists within you. The most that we will do is offer to support you appropriately where there are gaps – and then contract with you what that could look like.
The best way to find out about coaching is to contact me, either by email or by using the form on the Contact page, to arrange a call with me so you can get an idea of what coaching can do for you. Together, we can explore what it is you are looking for, and therefore whether coaching would be of value to you, or not.