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Beginner's Guide to Coaching

What is Coaching?

Getting Started with Personal Coaching

Professional and Confidential Coaching Relationship

Coaching is a forward-focused, goal-driven approach to personal change. Coaching finds the solution within you. Coaching increases your self-awareness and self-understanding. Coaching provides you an objective observer when the truth is hidden, and the consequence of remaining “stuck” is no longer an option.

Coaching is confidential, however you are free to share your experience with anyone you see fit.

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How Do I Know I'm Ready for Personal Growth?

You're ready when you...

  • Recognize a personal or leadership issue is really impacting you
  • Want to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be
  • Reach a tipping point
  • No longer are able to manage on your own
  • Dedicate the time and investment
  • Try a new approach or try new habits
  • Ask for help and that's not something that you do
  • Get tired of reading, researching and getting advice that doesn't work
  • Need a partner for accountability to keep commitments and see your plans through

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What's the Difference Between a Coach, Therapist or Consultant?

Compared to Counseling

Coaching is not a substitute for counseling which typically focuses on a past trauma or unresolved issues and feelings. A coach is not a therapist which asks, "How did that make you feel?" Coaching does not offer medical care that may be necessary for individuals suffering from a debilitating condition or disease. Please contact a health professional if this applies.

Compared to Consulting

Unlike consulting, you won't be presented with a few solutions to choose from. The Coach does not provide you direction nor advice. With the Coach as your guide, you'll explore the work from many vantage points. You'll identify gaps or address issues of avoidance, procrastination or fear. Using powerful questions, the Coach will help you discover the best solution within you.

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How Do I Know Who's a Qualified Coach?

Anyone can call themselves a coach. To ensure you're not fooled by an experienced coach-consultant, the International Coach Federation (ICF) is the recognized global leader for industry standards and advancement of the coaching profession.

According to the ICF, as of August 2013, "A coach who has been credentialed by the ICF has completed stringent education and experience requirements and has demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence in coaching."

There are three credentials that let you know a coach is proficient and abides by the competencies and ethics set forth by the ICF.

Recognized and trusted designations include:

International Coach Federation ACC designation
  • ACC - Associate Certified Coach
  • PCC - Professional Certified Coach
  • MCC - Master Certified Coach

While there are many other designations, the ICF explains, an ICF credentialed coach comes with a "highly recognizable, global coaching qualifications. Coaches credentialed by ICF have received coach-specific training, achieved a designated number of experience hours and been coached by a Mentor Coach." ICF coaches are listed in the Coach Directory on their website.

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How Do I Find the Right Coach For Me?

Getting started, it's recommended to speak to several potential coaches that you feel a connection with. Read their backgrounds. Visit their websites. Find them on LinkedIn. You'll find the best fit with a Coach you feel a connection to. Most coaches will generously offer 30 minutes of their time at no charge to answer your questions and provide an introduction to what it's like working with them. Sample questions to ask when you're interviewing potential Coaches for you:

  • Do I feel trust with this Coach?
  • Do I feel the Coach will bring out the best in me?
  • Am I energized after our meeting?
  • Will I get the extra push I need to get unstuck?
  • What does my gut tell me? (trust your instincts)

Finding a good fit is important. You will go farther in partnering with a Coach who you feel will bring out your best. Consider what qualities you enjoy working with others in general.

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How Do I Prepare For The First Meeting?

Come prepared to describe your situation and what events led you to ask for help. Share information you feel is relevant for someone to understand your perspective. If meeting by phone, take the call in a quiet place where you feel comfortable reflecting on your feelings and desires. Avoid feeling rushed prior to the call. A little nervousness is normal, however will subside as the Coach eases you into the deeper meaning behind your words and offers the conversation within a confidential environment. Expect that you may do a majority of the talking while the Coach asks insightful and powerful questions to help you move forward.

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When Can I Expect Results?

Results from coaching begin in a single coaching conversation. Here's what clients say happened shortly after getting started:

  • "Jessica 'got' me within a few short sessions. She quickly established trust and has created a safe environment for me to process my thoughts and challenge my perspectives."
  • "Before coaching I was in a state of being overwhelmed, unsure where to start with the things that seemed insurmountable. Even just one coaching session helped to clear away the fog and bring a new focus to my thinking."
  • "When I first met Jessica, I assumed I was "uncoachable." I felt resistant, evasive and skeptical....Jessica unlocked my ability to see choice and patterns. Her coaching gave me the courage to confront today's reality and the accountability to create a transformed future."
  • "This has made a huge impact in my life already, and I am so excited about our coaching relationship."
  • "These are new questions to ask myself."
  • "So much progress from our first session that others noticed. I've accomplished more in a week than I have in two months."
  • "Thanks so much for a lovely introduction to your delightful approach to coaching. I am very pleased to have had the session – thank you."

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