Who Hires a Coach?


As self-serving as it may sound, just about anyone in corporate or business can benefit from working with a professional executive coach. At PathFinder Executive Coaching, my focus is on career executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs. Quite often, when working with my clients, that work involves:

  • Helping senior executives define success, set and meet better goals and build better organizations.

  • Working with emerging leaders to help build their leadership skills and help them find their "leadership voice."

  • Working with my clients to develop effective communication and other "soft" skills.

  • Helping clients to focus on being more effective in achieving objectives that are important to them.

  • Providing tools and resources, objectivity and support to help them accomplish more.




How Is Coaching Different From Consulting Or Therapy?


Consulting. Sometimes, executive coaching looks a lot like consulting. But the biggest difference between an executive coach and a consultant is this: consultants are paid to have all the right answers. Executive Coaches are more focused on asking all the right questions. A consultant will often be paid to assess a problem, do some background research, and then provide the client with a specific set of recommendations designed to address the problem. It's usually entirely up to the client to implement the consultant's recommendations. A coach, on the other hand, works with the client to find the best solution to a problem without necessarily providing the answer him/herself. And they're right there with the client while they implement the answers. That doesn't mean that a good coach will hold back when he or she has a solid recommendation to make.

A professional executive coach is much more of a partner than the typical consultant. At PathFinder Executive Coaching, I often work with corporate executives and business owners on career or business issues. If I have an insight, an idea or a bit of wisdom to share towards the sought-after answer, I usually won't hesitate to bring it up. But, more often than not, it's the client who's already identified a number of alternatives and options. They're looking for help in focusing on the choice or decision that's best for themselves. They're not necessarily looking to me for the answer, but for support, objectivity and perspective.

Therapy. Executive Coaching is not therapy. I don't work on issues of the past. And, with all due respect to my therapist colleagues and clients, I don't try to fix people. I deal with highly functional, successful people who are ready for the next level of success. If, in the course of our coaching work, I believe that a client is in need of therapy, I'll immediately stop the coaching process and refer them to a professional who can get them the help they need. In over 25 years of working as a professional coach, this has happened only one time.




What Does The Process Of Coaching Look Like?


Most executive coaches meet with their clients 2-4 times each month. At PathFinder Executive Coaching, I meet with each of my clients for 30-45 minutes every 2 weeks, usually by telephone. The client is responsible for setting the focus for each session. And I often assign homework between sessions. I also encourage my clients to call or email me between sessions with questions, problems, or just to share something great that's happened to them. I always try to leave room for "in-the-moment" coaching during each call to address specific situations that the client is involved in.




Is Telephone-Based Coaching As Effective As In-Person Coaching?


When I first started coaching, I did all my coaching work in person. But I quickly realized the geographic and logistical limitations this style of coaching would impose on my practice. So I began conducting my sessions via telephone. Based on the past 25 years of experience, I have to say that telephone-based coaching has proven to be every bit as effective as in-person coaching. I have coached clients in Europe, Australia and across the U.S. via phone. Almost all of those engagements have been long term - at least 12 months in duration. When it's geographically convenient, I try to coach in-person, but it doesn't happen very often.




How Long Must I Commit To If I Start Working With A Coach?


Every coach has a different policy. Mine is to ask each client to make a personal commitment to at least 3-6 months of coaching in order to start seeing significant results. This isn't a contractual agreement - just an understanding that they (the client) are committed to working through the coaching process for a minimum of 3-6 months. If at any time they determine that coaching - or the coach, just isn't working for them, they're free to stop immediately. The fact is, most of my clients stay with me for between 18-24 months. And I still have the first client I ever worked with.




What Should I Expect To Pay A Coach?


Executice coaches such as myself typically charge for a 4 session "coaching cycle." I try to charge a consistent fee of about $1250.00 per cycle, but I have charged more depending on the assignment and the indivuidual I'm coaching.




How Important Is Credentialing?


There are presently two forms of credentialing for professional coaches: a credential issued by a coach training organization, or a credential issued by an independent body, such as the International Coach Federation. As coaching continues to grow as a profession worldwide and generates more and more interest from clients, the need for independent certification of coaches, including standards for training, coaching experience and peer review may become more critical. Previously, I was credentialed by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as a Professional Certified Coach. However, given the ICF's emphasis on personal or "life" coaching, I decided several years ago not to continue with their certification program. I have found that word-of-mouth referrals seem to be much more important with clients who are looking for an executive coach. I am currently certified by Target Training International as a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst. It remains to be seen whether or not a specific standard in coach credentialing emerges anytime soon. Interestingly, in over 25 years as a full time coach, I have never been asked by a prospective client about my coaching certification.





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