Coaching FAQs

What is coaching?

Coaching is a time-limited process delivered through one-to-one sessions with a trained coach.

What Does a Coach Do?

Coaches work with coachees to help them become more effective.  A coach will use challenging questions to raise the awareness of the coachee, help them develop new thinking about their situation, and enable positive change.  A coach will not problem-solve on the clients behalf.  A coach asks a client to do more than they often think possible!

How Does Coaching Work?

The coach gives the client 100% of his or her attention.  The coach knows how to ask the powerful questions that will both challenge and support the client.  As a result, the client sets and reaches very stretching goals.  The coach will probably also help the client acquire new skills.  When you put all of this together, you have powerful momentum for change and growth.  Coaches can help makes dreams reality.

What Are Some Of The Reasons That Lead People To Having Coaching?

There are many reasons, and no ‘right’ one.  Some issues that might lead you to access coaching might be:

  • There is something at stake, e.g. a challenge  or development opportunity and you want to make the most of it
  • You perceive a gap in your knowledge, skills, confidence or resources
  • You want to achieve different outcomes, improve your performance, or improve your leadership or management skills
  • You are experiencing a lack of clarity and have choices to make
  • Your work and life are out of balance, and this is having an unwanted impact
  • You have yet to identify your key strengths and how best to utilise them
Is it The Same As Sports Coaching?

In some ways, yes.  A sports coach encourages a client to perform at their absolute potential and so does a coach.  In other ways, no.  There is no win-lose element in our kind of coaching.  It's not about competition with others.

Is Coaching the Same As Mentoring?

There is much debate about the differences and similarities between coaching and mentoring. The majority view is that they are different, but overlapping, processes on a continuum: “Coaching and mentoring are learning relationships which help people to take charge of their own development, to release their potential, and to achieve results which they value.”  (Connor M, Pokora, J, 2007). 

How Is Coaching Different From Counselling?

“Coaching is overtly goal-focused, moves at a faster pace with more future focus.”  (Rogers, 2008).  This means coaching is more interested in the “what” question than the “why?” of counselling or therapy.  In general clients seek counselling because there are one or more challenges that are becoming barriers to participating fully in life, and in some cases this is impacting on mental well-being.  In coaching there is no assumption that the client has a ‘problem’, rather that they are resourceful and healthy. 

It is also different from therapy, line management, appraisal or educational supervision.  Coaching benefits anyone, at any stage of career and success.  Clients must be fully engaged with coaching and seek it voluntarily. 

Can't A Good Friend Do That Just As Well?

Probably not, unless they have also trained as a coach.  A coach is friendly but is not actually your friend.  The coach's strength is in being detached and objective as well as being firmly on your side.  The coach may be able to help you deal with things that your best friend could not.  Our experience of friends is that they often give you friendly advice - the one thing that a coach very rarely does.  A coach has questions, not answers.

Does Everyone Need a Coach?

No.  As a coach you can only work with a willing client, so a coachee who is totally satisfied with their life cannot be coached.  But anyone who would like to get more out of their work or their life and is willing to give it a go can probably benefit from coaching.  A key idea with our approach to coaching is that you don't have to be bad to get better.  Building on success is an important principle.

My Trainer Has Told Me To Have Coaching, What Should I Do?

Coachees must be fully engaged with coaching and seek it voluntarily.  Coaching requires active participation.  Duty or obligation have no place in the coaching interaction.  You are welcome to apply for coaching but you must be committed to the process yourself. 

How Long Does Coaching Go On?

For as long as the client has an agenda for change.  That can be four 60-90 minute meetings over a couple of months, or it can be spread over a longer period. In some cases it may also be helpful to phone for a review or email.

Is Dependency An Issue?

No.  We encourage resourcefulness.

Therapists have been accused sometimes of harming clients. Can a coach do the same?

Abuse is possible in any private one-to-one relationship.  But it's less likely in coaching because the core of the coaching relationship is equality and respect.  Coaching clients are not in the fragile state that clients for therapy may be.  Also, coaching is very sensitive to word of mouth recommendation.  A coach who harmed a client would be unlikely to be used again.

How do you become a coach?

Anyone can call themselves a coach.  The profession is not regulated and probably never will be in the same close way as, for instance, doctors or dentists are.  The best way to become a coach is through well-devised training followed by a lot of practice and supervision. 

If asked by your coachee, should you provide them with a personal or professional reference?

We think this would be best agreed at the start.  Our stock answer is 'no'.  Coaching is about helping someone help themselves, and not about making judgments about their aptitudes, ability and potential.
Some people confuse the coach-coachee relationship with patronage and hence approach the coach for a reference.  The problems with this are that:

  • The coachee may then say things to the coach with the aim of impressing them and not therefore engage fully in an open exploration of uncertainties and weaknesses.  They would not then make best use of the confidential coaching relationship
  • The coachee may have unrealistic ideas about how the coach could use his/her professional networks. We would like the confidentiality to be in both directions
Should the same person be both coach and clinical supervisor to a coachee?

No.  In very small specialties or geographies, or in a situation where the supervisor and trainee have worked together through a difficult or challenging situation, this would need to be weighed against accessibility.  The key here is to define the roles carefully and keep to them.

If the coach is on the appointments panel and a current or ex-coachee is an applicant should he/she excuse themselves?

The coach will need to excuse him/herself, and he/she need not explain why - only that the coach knows them too well. 
Likewise if they are potentially involved in their competency assessment.

Are there any circumstances where the coachee can have more than four sessions of funded coaching?

In exceptional circumstances we can extend the number of funded sessions. If the coachee has had a significant changing event in the last weeks of the coaching relationship which requires a change of plan or extra help, it may be possible to extent the coaching to a maximum of 6 sessions in total. We ask that before arranging these extra sessions with their coach, the coachee email coaching.yh@hee.nhs.uk to briefly explain the circumstances.

Can I continue to coach a coachee privately after four funded sessions?

No. We want to encourage increasing autonomy in the coachee as their sessions proceed, and would like clear boundaries. We therefore strongly discourage continuing privately, paid or unpaid.

Can I ask to be assigned to a specific coach known to me who isn't a HEE trained coach?

No. If you already know who you want to be your coach and they are not part of the service, you should arrange this with them directly.

Can I ask to be assigned to a specific coach?

You will be given a list of coaches and can choose who to approach.  The aim of developing a register of coaches is that you will be able to access coaching from someone outside your speciality and trust.

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