What makes coaching effective?

plant-handshake-nature-isYou may be wondering what are the factors that make coaching successful.  This is a great question to ask considering that it can be a significant investment in yourself.

As you read the below, note carefully how coaching is a collaborative process and your full engagement in the process is absolutely vital to the results you get.

What is coaching?

Professional Coaching is a thought-provoking and creative process that successful people use to help them pursue their passions and strengths.

A coaching relationship is designed based on the client’s interests and goals. Discussion, questions and requests are used to assist the client as he or she reflects, identifies goals, develops strategies to reach them, takes action and adapts to challenges along the way.

What is coaching like?

As your coach I’ll do things like listen deeply to you, acknowledge you, your feelings and your longings, ask thought provoking questions, brainstorm with you, challenge your way of thinking and make observations based on my experience and expertise.  The primary focus of coaching is to help the client make her own choices and discover what will work best for her.

The work I do is integrative and while coaching is a primary modality, sessions with me may also include somatic practices and modalities, teaching moments, energy healing and practical exercises to support you. Each session is custom designed around your interests, needs, personality and desires.

Research has demonstrated that the relationship-based skillful listening and questions provided by trained coaches like myself leads to reflection and new learning and successful application of the learning in clients daily lives.†

Coaching is quite different from psychotherapy

Although coaches use counseling skills, coaching is not psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy deals with past events and how they relate to your thoughts and feelings in the present. While professional coaching does pay careful attention to your feelings, and how past events have affected you, coaching focuses on the present and future It’s oriented towards the client applying learning to their life in order to move forward in practical ways to the results they want.

Coaching is not a substitute for any form of medical care or mental health services.  In many but not all situations, coaching may be a helpful supplement to such services. If you are dealing with significant issues such as depression, anxiety or trauma please discuss this with me during your initial consultation.  Please also discuss your interest in coaching with your mental health provider.

For more information on how coaching and psychotherapy differ and what to expect as my client, consult the Expectations and Ethics Statement.

3 ingredients that make coaching effective

antique milking stoo-isIn my experience working with thousands of coaching clients since 1990 there are 3 specific things that work together to make coaching effective – or not.

Please notice carefully how coaching is a collaboration and requires your full and active participation in the process.

1. The quality of the relationship we create together

The relationship we establish together is vitally important. It’s important that you feel comfortable and can trust me, and also that i can trust you and that we can each allow the other to.be imperfect, human and authentic.

We each need to feel free to speak clearly and frankly and in a positive way that supports you in reaching your goals.

In other words, we need to feel like a team.

2. Your engagement in the process

Coaching will not help you unless you engage in it.  This means showing up for sessions, not just physically but being whole-heartedly ready to dive in to speak honestly and to explore and discover yourself. If you’re scared to do that or discouraged, it means saying what’s true for you.

It means reflecting on what you’ve learned in sessions, possibly journaling or talking with a trusted friend about your learning. It means completing homework assignments (and not agreeing to ones you won’t or can’t commit to doing).

It means having an attitude that’s open to growing and learning.

If you don’t engage with the learning then you can’t expect to get much out of coaching.

3. The process I take you through

During each session I’ll take you through a process designed to help you discover yourself in new and different ways.

Based on the journey of discovery that we take together, I will listen to you, acknowledge you, challenge you and make recommendations for ways you can move forward.

I’ll offer you both gentle compassion as well as pushing you out of your comfort zone – far enough so you can grow, but not so far out of it that it becomes a trauma zone.

Within the framework of the relationship we create together and as you engage in the process, it’s my job to guide you.

Your next step

Because of the importance of each of these factors in making your coaching sessions truly helpful and successful, I offer a no cost introductory consultation where we can each get a feel for what it would be like to work together and where I can help you as much as possible in the time available.

Having read this far, you may be ready to schedule your first consultation with me.

You can also sign up for the Beyond Intimacy email list.


† Griffiths, K. & Campbell, M. (2009). Discovering, applying and integrating: The process of learning in coaching.   International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 7(2), 16-30. Retrieved from  http://www.business.brookes.ac.uk/research/areas/coachingandmentoring