What is coaching?
The International Coaching Federation, (ICF), defines professional coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
- Encourage client self-discovery
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
- Hold the client responsible and accountable
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.
How does the coaching process work?
I provide all potential clients with an exploratory session (either in person in the Boston area or via phone) to learn more about what the client is hoping to achieve through coaching, to share what I can offer through a coaching relationship and to see if we are a good fit. Because coaching is all about partnership, it’s important to find the right coach for you. I generally meet with clients weekly or bi-monthly for 60 minutes for 3- 6 months while working towards a particular goal or project in the client’s life. Between sessions, clients work on assignments to make progress on the goals we are working on together. I provide resources, frameworks, tools, reading recommendations and assessments as needed.
What are all those letters after your name?
A CPC is a Certified Professional Coach. I studied coaching at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) – an accredited coach training program through the International Coach Federation (ICF). My training included over 300 hours of in person training as well as extensive peer and mentor coaching and concluded with an oral and written exam to receive certification.
PCC stands for Professional Certified Coach, which is the designation I received from the ICF in 2017. I completed 500 one-on-one coaching hours with clients and passed an extensive written exam. I am a member of the ICF, and am committed to upholding all coaching standards and ethics with integrity and confidentiality.
How is coaching distinct from other service professions?
Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions. Here is some clarification as explained by the ICF.
Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphasis in a coaching relationship is on action, accountability and follow through.
In general, therapy is designed to move a person from DYSFUNCTIONAL to FUNCTIONAL. Coaching is designed to move a person from FUNCTIONAL to OPTIMAL.
Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems, prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.
A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.
Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from sports coaching. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction. Additionally, professional coaching, unlike athletic development, does not focus on behaviors that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.