Frequently Asked Questions


What is professional coaching?
The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as follows:
ICF defines 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 honour 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.

Coaching is about working hand in hand with people as their trusted learning and thinking partner to inspire them to embrace their own potential in making the journey from where they are to where they aspire to be.  It's about coaching the whole person to hold them capable in reaching beyond their current perceived limits and taking bold steps to achieve their personal and professional aspirations.

What are the benefits of working with a coach?
Professional coaching can bring many benefits, getting 'unstuck', improved productivity, increased confidence and self-awareness; fresh perspectives on professional and personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, and greater interpersonal effectiveness.

What should I look for when choosing a coach?
When choosing a coach, it's critical to find someone who you feel comfortable with, who you trust and have a great connection with. Trust and rapport are key ingredients to making a coaching arrangement successful. When searching for a coach, it's a good idea to talk to a few to determine who might be the best fit for you and your unique circumstances.
Some questions to consider asking prospective coaches:

  • What is your background?
  • Why did you become a coach?
  • What is your coaching philosophy?
  • What coaching related training have you completed?
  • What coaching credentials do you have?
  • What are your areas of specialization?
  • How do you handle confidentiality?

How many sessions will I need?
This depends on the nature of the topic(s) the individual wants to be coached on. Although some topics can be discussed in a few sessions, it is more common for clients to book 6 or more sessions to allow for in-depth discovery and to make desired changes. As every client is unique, so are their coaching needs. Discounts are available for clients who book multiple sessions as a package.

Coaching sessions are generally 60 minutes in duration and are generally conducted in-person (at a mutually agreeable location), over the phone, or through Zoom video-conferencing. depending on the individual needs of the client.  

How much does coaching cost?
Please contact me for information on rates and packages.

What ethical standards does a coach follow?
Kathleen follows the standards set out by the International Coach Federation.  

Does a coach need to have expertise in a specific industry to work with clients in that industry?
Not necessarily. Challenges that individuals or organizations may have in terms of leadership, organizational change management etc. generally have some common themes that are irrespective of a specific industry. Consultants are often hired for their specific expertise in a field or industry, however, coaching is different than consulting. 

Coaches are trained on how to ask open-ended questions, and use other techniques that are not related to a specific industry or type of organization. There may be times when a coach may provide an example of past experience in a similar industry that may be useful or resonate with the client, while other times a client may prefer that a coach not have specific experience in that industry and provide a fresh perspective on the topic. 

Which is more effective: face to face, phone, or video-conference (Zoom/Skype) based coaching?
Every individual's or organization's needs are unique. Each of these methods of coaching are effective and the method chosen is based on the requirements at the time. Some clients prefer the face to face interaction, especially at the beginning of the coaching relationship. Some clients find that video conference based coaching works for them, while others prefer phone coaching so that they can really concentrate on the conversation. Every situation is unique.

Some clients depending upon schedules, may prefer a combination of these different methods. These details are worked out when the coach and client establish the terms of the coaching relationship.

How is coaching different from consulting, therapy/counselling, mentoring, or other professions?
The International Coach Federation (ICF) describes the differences as follows:

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.

Therapy: 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 emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.

Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and 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.

Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counselling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counselling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives. 

Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.

Athletic Development: 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 behaviour 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 behaviours that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.

In a coaching arrangement, what does the coach do, and what does the individual/team do?  
The coach:

  • Actively listens to fully understand the individual's or team's circumstances 
  • Acts as a sounding board in exploring new possibilities and implementing thoughtful, forward focused actions and plans
  • Provides objective observations and feedback that helps the individual's or team’s self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Identifies potential blind spots to discover new possibilities and support the creation of alternative approaches
  • Champions opportunities, encouraging stretches and challenges that align with personal strengths and aspirations
  • Inspires shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives and ideas
  • Assists the individual in holding themselves accountable to desired action and plans
  • Maintains professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adheres to the coaching profession's code of ethics.

The individual:

  • Creates the goals for the coaching relationship based on personally meaningful goals or aspirations
  • Uses the coach's observations and feedback to enhance self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Envisions personal and/or organizational success and what that means for them
  • Utilizes the coaching process to promote thinking of new possibilities and fresh ways of looking at things - a safe place to brainstorm
  • Incorporates the tools, and concepts, and observations provided by the coach as appropriate in taking effective and forward focused actions.
  • Assumes full responsibility for personal decisions and actions.