Q: Is this life coaching?
A: No. This is business and leadership coaching. This means that our main focus is your work and professional life. We may, of course, cover non-work-related topics as part of this, as everything is related - more and more these days! However, if the main topic you want to cover is not work-related, then you may wish to find a different professional.
Q: Can you help me improve my performance?
A: Yes! I believe that every one of us has unlimited potential, and sometimes we just need to get out of our own way. Coaching helps with that. It provides a safe space where you can become more self-aware. Emotions and thoughts only control you while you are unaware of them. Once a light has been shone on them, you have more choice in how to proceed.
One of my favourite quotations is from Viktor Frankl: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Q: Do I need to have a problem in order to see a coach?
A: Not at all. Top athletes work with a coach to help them remain focused and continually improve. Many business people do the same. However, if you do have one or more problems, coaching provides you with a place to explore them and find new solutions.
Q: Does being a coach mean you think you can tell other people what to do?
A: No, I don’t think I know better. Relax! I believe you have very good reasons for doing whatever you do. We all do. The interesting part is when we notice that something needs to change. We're not always sure what. We might try to change something and not make the progress we want to make. We might beat ourselves up about that.
My job is to help you identify and reach your goals by dropping the judgment, learning things about yourself and activating your “self”.
(To be truthful, I've not had this actual question! But it's sometimes implied - people who've not had a coach before might look at me a little suspiciously or defensively when they ask about coaching. They seem afraid of judgment. I'm not there to judge - just to help!)
Q: What coaching qualification do you have?
A: I trained to become a Business and Leadership Coach with the Association of Business & Leadership Coaching, an organisation which has received the European Mentoring and Coaching Council's quality award. The EMCC is one of the two largest professional coaching bodies in Europe (the other being ICF). The training was robust, taking place over 6 months, with 100 logged hours of practice, presentations and a dissertation.
I am also qualified as a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and coach, a Myers-Briggs practitioner and have been trained in Transactional Analysis.
Q: What is the difference between coaching and consulting?
A: The main difference is where the knowledge lies... If you have a specific project for which you don't have the skills or capacity in your organisation, you are more likely to want consulting services. When you want help to identify your priorities, overcome blocks, and tap into your true potential, you will want coaching.
Sometimes the two overlap: if I'm coaching you and you ask me for my professional opinion on a topic, I'll remove my metaphorical coaching hat before I give it! That said, I've seen coaching clients coming up with their own fantastic solutions, because I have really listened to them, asked a powerful question and then allowed them the space to think.
A: Yes. Please scroll down this page to see it, after the Frequently Asked Questions. Once I get better at Squarespace I will create a new page for it!
Q: Where does the rubber duck come into it?
A: Once upon a time, two IT guys were sitting in their cubicles coding. Dave was struggling. "Rick? Can I just talk something through with you?" He described the problem while Rick listened.
"Actually, it's OK, I've worked it out! Thanks, mate!"
It happened the next day, and the next. On the fourth day, to Dave's surprise, when he said "Rick?", a rubber duck appeared over the cubicle wall.
"Put this duck on your desk and talk it through with him! I'm busy!"
One of my early coaching clients was a senior IT professional, and he told me this story. He needed to explain, as he had just summarised how helpful he had found the coaching, and concluded with: “And - don’t take this the wrong way, but sometimes it’s a bit like talking to a rubber duck”.
This really made me think. And once my ego had got over this, I realised that people do sometimes just need to say things out loud in order to get a better grasp of them, and part of the function of a coach is to witness that.
I nearly didn't include the duck image - some people warned me it might put off potential clients. But it's a good reminder not to take myself too seriously, and I find it helps people to decide whether or not they want to hire me…
It’s a bit like deciding to get fit. You might choose to exercise alone at home, or you might go to an exercise class.
If you try the rubber duck approach and it doesn't work, then get in touch!