As a Career Accelerator, I work both in a coaching and a mentoring capacity. Below are answers to questions I frequently get about coaching and mentoring.
Note that I also provide career advice, soft skill training and practice and finally act as a sparring partner to support you with everyday challenges in the office.
What are the benefits of coaching?
There is now evidence reported by research articles and professional literature that coaching is used to good effect in enhancing general wellbeing, improving performance, developing leadership capability, strengthening interpersonal skills, increasing problem-solving skills, changing management styles, and building team effectiveness. Coaching covers a wide range of interventions from the acquisition of new skills as a complement to training, to the improvement of performance and ultimately the development of human potential from a holistic standpoint.
Coaching involves a process of goal-directed questioning, known as "guided discovery", with a view to supporting you in finding your answers and your solutions.
What are the benefits of mentoring?
Mentoring targets the same areas of focus as coaching but involves a different process involving me sharing my experiences as well as tips and recommendations, for example promotion strategies whereby I will share with you my experience of being promoted throughout my career as well as of promoting team members. With mentoring support, there is no need to reinvent the wheel!
In any case, it will be important that you truly buy into any idea you choose to follow up and suitably adapt it to your personal situation.
Why are you both a coach and mentor?
I find it particularly powerful to mix coaching and mentoring because coaching will facilitate a process of self discovery which can be supplemented by suggestions from the mentoring angle. For instance, considering your promotion prospects, combining my experience around being promoted and promoting others with your own motivations for promotion will enable us to develop a tailored promotion plan for you which will address both the generic process of promotion and your own specific objectives.
I’ve heard they are different kinds of coaching: can you tell me about your approach?
I rely on proven coaching approaches. Depending on what will suit you, I will employ techniques drawn from positive psychology and from behavioural and cognitive behavioural approaches as well from solution-focused, gestalt, and person-centred coaching.
These psychological disciplines also those I personally use to make sense of the world: they are therefore not merely tools of my trade but rather truly reflective of my sense of self and world view. The variety of approaches I work with affords me a broad tool kit from which I can draw in the service of a client-centred, flexible and strength-based collaboration with you.
I will adapt the approaches in which I am trained in order to suit your needs.
I will discuss with you any coaching model which I think appropriate: I will explain its relevance and go through its concepts before we start using the model together.
How is coaching different from therapy/counselling?
Coaching is about solving current problems and reaching medium-term goals so it is of typically briefer duration than therapy. Coaching is skill-focused which means that it aims to develop as yet untapped emotional or behavioural skills. Skill acquisition or development will usually involve a step-by-step, building-block approach.
For that reason, coaching will very likely involve action planning in order to monitor progress towards your objectives. Coaching assumes that new resources will be needed which have not yet been mobilized: these resources may be both of internal and/or external; your Career Accelerator is one of these resources.
Will coaching fix my problems?
Our work should not be viewed mainly as being remedial, although we will be able to address your problems in case your career has stalled.
Career acceleration is also very relevant for anyone whose career is already doing well and who therefore aims to enhance an already good or even excellent performance by identifying additional unknown strengths and/or better leverage existing ones.
Finally, working together will be helpful to manage situations involving a process of change to develop resilience and adaptability.
Below are answers to a variety of others questions I get asked. I hope they help!
Will you be training me as part of our work together?
While I do not work as a trainer, I am able to help you develop new skills or refine existing ones in the following areas:
- Giving feedback
- Time management
- Project sponsorship or management
- Risk taking
- Decision making
In some instances, it will make sense for you to enlist on a specific training course and our work together will make sure that you embed, practice and become confident with the new skills.
What should I expect to get out of working with you?
Depending on your preference and circumstances, I will tailor my style to meet your needs in order to best serve and support you. That being said, like in sports where coaching has its origins, you are the champion athlete and you are therefore fully responsible for achieving your coaching objectives.
Working with me should help you make sense of workplace issues, whether it is solving problems and/or achieving your goals. You will have a ‘place to think’, away from the results-driven pressures of corporate life and will be able to develop a better understanding of some of the less obvious factors at play in your work environment.
What kind of people benefit most from working with you?
I recommend that you seriously consider a career acceleration engagement if
- You have a track record of achieving in your work
- You know what you want but are unsure how to get it
- You like to get results
- You honestly want to look at your issues and aspirations
- You like to take responsibility
- You are open to new ideas
- You do not object to trying new things
- You understand the value of practice in making a difference
What happens during our first meeting?
Our first meeting will be of an exploratory nature to provide both of us with an opportunity to consider whether we wish to work together. It is as important that you feel comfortable with me as it is that I feel able to work well with you. We will address any questions you may have about working together as well as have a first pass at your goal(s). This meeting is complimentary with no obligation to go any further.
Can I find out about your banking career before deciding whether to work with you?
You can view my profile on LinkedIn. I will also happily give you my CV on demand.
What happens if I decide to work with you?
We first agree your objectives in terms of measurable outcomes, so that we are able to clearly track first progress and then eventual success against those goals.
Objectives/goals are not always easy to articulate but no worries! There are a variety of techniques to which we can resort in order to set goals in a helpful way. For example, the following type of questioning can be used: "If you were more X [where X is a skill you would like to develop], what would you be doing differently?", or "if you were more X, what would others be noticing?"
There are, of course, occasions when this work contract will need to be amended if new information comes to light or if circumstances change which warrant an adjustment of your objectives.
We will identify an expected number of future sessions based on your specific goals.
We will also discuss the appropriate frequency and length of our upcoming sessions.
Do you guarantee confidentiality?
Absolutely! I will not release any information about any aspect of our work together save to my supervisor (see ‘What is supervision/’).
I will seek your consent in writing before using any of your information for case studies as part of my continuing coaching education. At any rate, I disguise clients’ identities so that they cannot be recognised by others.
By law, I am however required to release information in the event that I consider you a potential danger to yourself or to others: in that unlikely event, I would have to alert the relevant authorities but I would only release essential information to assist the authorities in supporting you.
Will you be recording our sessions?
During sessions, I will be taking notes. Please indicate if you are uncomfortable with this practice.
You are welcome to photocopy these notes. I may also at times suggest that you do take away a photocopy for post-session reflection.
I will ask for your consent if I would like to tape a session. I may recommend that we record our chat so that we can both reflect on how it went and any insights and decisions from the sessions afterward. Even with ample note-taking, no documentation is as accurate as a digital recording.
Would you like to know how it’s going for me?
Very much! When we agree to work together, we will also discuss when we should review where we are, e.g. session #3 of a 6-session programme. However, please feedback anything at any time. In any event, I will ask you to kindly fill out a feedback form at regular intervals.
How will I know if our work together is having a positive impact?
On one level, we will be able to track your progress against the measurable outcomes we will have identified at the start of our work togeteher.
In addition, your own perception will establish the value for you of our work together.
What about if it’s not working out for me?
If you are dissatisfied, please let me know at your earliest convenience so we can identify what is not working for you and make the necessary adjustment(s).
Although I am optimistic that this will not be of relevance, I am pointing you to the Association for Coaching’s Complaint Procedure (AC Complaint Procedure).
We can of course stop and I will reimburse fully for any unused funds.
What is supervision?
Supervision ensures that you the client get the best possible service. It is really a quality assurance process whereby I review my cases on an anonymous basis with my supervisor who will provide another perspective of our work together and support me as well as challenge me around how I am engaging with you. I currently meet monthly with my supervisor but I can ask for advice on an ad hoc basis if I feel I need to and will be able to discuss any case on a needs basis.
The Association for Coaching and the other professional bodies of which I am a member of require coaching supervision in order to give accreditation, which is evidence of the value which those authoritative groups see in professional and ethical coaches being subject to supervision.
If you have a question which does not feature above, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will quickly revert to you.