How often are we meeting?
The general coaching schedule is once every 1-2 weeks. In some cases, we may meet more often depending on the goals and what's happening. In some cases, we may meet less. We will usually set the date/time for the next session at the end of each session. Bring your calendar and good dates/times.
How long is a session?
We meet for about an hour. To keep us on track I will set a timer for 50 minutes so that we can time to wrap up and schedule the next session. Please arrive on time and come prepared if we're meeting in person. If we're doing a call, you can use my booking system:
What can I expect from coaching?
Coaching is about helping you find clarity in what you truly want, creating a path towards achievement, and handling the internal and external obstacles that inevitably get in the way. What you get out of any coaching experience will depend on where you are on that journey and how much energy and focus you put into the process. While I don’t make any guarantees on exactly what you’ll achieve by when, I do guarantee that you’ll make more progress and faster than you would without coaching.
While we’ll be talking about big ideas and possibilities, it's important to focus on making incremental but meaningful changes. I like to say "think big ideas, take small steps". Don’t bite off more than you can reasonably chew. The most common failure people have with coaching is that they make several big changes all at once and when they don't see immediate success they give up on the process. It’s better to find the smaller, strategic changes that have high impact and sets you on the right course to making lasting, long-term change.
Are there any ground rules for coaching?
I have a few ground rules for coaching and our sessions that are good to know upfront and keep in mind as we work together. Some of these are not hard and fast, but general principles I try to maintain.
Coaching ground rules:
- What we discuss is confidential (see notes below for details on this)
- Be open as possible with me, but more importantly, be open with yourself
- Journal at least once between sessions, more if you can
- Be responsible for your own experience; you'll get out of it what you put into it
- I’m here to help you get clarity and make progress, but I’m not a therapist (but I can help you find one if needed)
- I will focus on sharing experiences, perspectives and thoughts; I generally don't give advice
- Only you can be responsible for your action plans and follow through
- Complete the Pre-Session Form the day before our session
- Try to be 5-10 minutes early to re-read your pre-session worksheet
- Phones off, not just no vibrate
- We start on time and finish on time (I’ll generally set a timer)
- While I generally have an agenda for out sessions, we'll focus on what's important at the moment
- Complete the Post-Session Form the day of our session, immediately afterward is best
What happens during a coaching session?
The typical agenda for each session includes reviewing progress, discussing what’s working well, what’s not working well, and setting goals and action plans. We’ll often select a few points to dig into and explore. We’ll most likely discuss themes and ideas that have come out of journaling as well. Throughout the session we’ll identify possible action items and talk about general objectives. After the session, you will fill out the Post-Session Form and make sure we have the next session in your calendar.
In some cases, we come across ideas and issues that warrant deeper dives. In those cases, we may take up the majority of the session discussing and exploring these. There may be no or limited action items developed in the session. In these cases, focus on journaling and reflecting between sessions.
Is what we speak about confidential?
Yes. Everything we discuss is confidential. The only time I override this confidentiality is if, in my judgement, you are planning to hurt yourself or someone else or contemplating a serious crime. I have never had this happen, but I mention it here as a matter of policy.
If you are a corporate client (you are receiving coaching through your company or some other organization who is paying for my services) I also have an obligation to override this confidentiality if, in my judgement, you are contemplating actions that would put the company in significant legal or financial risk. Again, I have never had this happen, but that is my policy.
What is Level-Two Confidentiality?
There are times that something comes up (past experience, topics, or issues) that you want to temporarily discuss, but you don’t want have it brought up again. While this doesn’t happen often, I do use a "Level-Two Confidentiality" to handle these situations. When you evoke this level--just say "this is Level-Two"--it means that I won't bring it up and we won’t discuss this again, unless you choose to bring it up. I use this as a way for more things to be brought to the table while keeping you in control.
Why do you have clients journal between sessions?
Journaling serves two purposes. First, during our work together it provides a means of remembering and continuing the conversations and explorations between sessions. Second, journaling allows you think more about the subjects we've discussed in a self-paced environment. For many people, thinking through writing can lead to different and more faceted results. By writing, you are seeing a different side of yourself that you might not otherwise see just through in-person sessions.
Then, after our work is done, journaling serves as a reflection and analysis tool that will allow you to continue to coach yourself. Once you've written a journal entry, you can review it and see what you've said with more objectivity and perspective. You essentially become your own self-coach and are able to ask questions and see patterns, like a coach would. Most of my clients continue journalling after our sessions and find that they are able to maintain many of the benefits of coaching through journalling.
What should I journal about?
While you can journal about anything, I generally recommend journaling about a few key areas: what you want, why you want it, what it would be like to get it, what’s stopping you from getting it, and what would you need to do to remove that block. From there we can explore ideas and thinking patterns that feed into each one of these areas. I’ll make comments and often ask questions or suggest other topics to journal about.
My general guidance is to journal to “your future, more enlightened self.” Ultimately, I want you to use journaling as a powerful self-coaching tool. Using this approach, you are using your "future self" as your coach. The coaching happens when you go back and re-read your entries and ask yourself questions about the patterns in your thinking, actions, and choices.
How often should I journal and how much should I write?
I encourage clients to journal every day for at least 10 minutes. Even just noting your thinking and feelings can be very insightful. The goal is to see patterns and trends and to generally become more aware of our behavior and thinking. Writing more will give more material for observation. Clients who journal at least 2-3 entries between sessions have a deeper power of observation than those who don't.
At times you might journal more than once a day. If there are big events happening and you want to write as things play out, that’s great and feel free. However, don’t feel obligated to write more than once a day and don’t feel the need to document every thought and event.
What if I can’t think of anything to journal about?
It’s sometimes hard to get started. Generally, when this happens to me, I start with why I’m having a hard time journaling. Am I distracted? By what? Am I stressed about something? Sometimes I just journal about events in my day or what I’m observing in that moment. Most times, writing a few lines will get me unstuck and things will begin to flow. If not, don't consternate on it, pick it up again later or the next day.
How often do you read my journals?
I try to read journals every few days and leave a few comments, sometimes more often. I almost always read new journal entries before each session. On rare occasions if I’m traveling or have an extra heavy workload otherwise I might miss some entries, but this should be very infrequent and something I try to let clients know about it beforehand to avoid surprises.
Is my journal private?
Yes. If you’ve set up the private blog correctly, you and I are the only two people who can see your journal entries. If you are using email to send entries, you will have copies of those emails in your sent mail folders. Set up a filter to delete those if you don’t want them to stay in your email account. I also recommend clients use their personal email, not company email, for journaling.
What happens to my journal when we finish coaching?
The main reason I use the private blog as a journaling tool is that you will have complete ownership and control over your journal entries after our work. You can delete me as a reader and I will no longer be able to access the content. I do this so that you are always in control and feel confident that your journal is confidential and in your hands.
What do I need to do before our session?
The day before each session, you should fill out the Pre-Session Worksheet. This is important to help us focus and make process during our coaching session. I also suggest that you re-read your journal entries since the last session (and make comments if you’d like). If you have time, you might go back a few weeks or even months to see what you notice in your journaling. You can also review the Post-Session Form from the last session to recall what action items you had captured.
What happens if I don’t fill out the Pre-Coaching Worksheet?
The quality and productivity of the session is less when you don’t fill out the Pre-Session Worksheet. While I generally will still hold the session, if I feel that it would be marginally productive and that rescheduling would not be burdensome to either of us, then I may opt to reschedule the session.
(See notes on rescheduling a session below.)
What should I do after a session?
After a session, fill out the Post-Session Worksheet. This will allow you to recap what we talked about and clarify your action items and next steps. Also make sure we have our next session scheduled.
How do I reschedule a session?
If you are rescheduling with more than 48 hrs notice, email me and I’ll cancel the session. If you are rescheduling with less than 48 hrs notice, I will do my best to reschedule, but if I cannot fill the slot then I will still need to count that session as used. If you are canceling with less than 4 hours notice, the session will be considered used.
What if I’m running late to a session?
I suggest getting to a session at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time so you can review notes and prepare. On the day of a session, if you are running late, text me at 917-385-7330. I will do my best to make time to extend the session; however, I cannot make any guarantees.
Can I email or speak to you between coaching sessions?
If you have brief messages or questions between sessions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. I generally try to respond to coaching emails within 24 hrs. If you have an especially timely matter you need to speak with me about I do try to make time for phone calls with clients in special cases. The best approach is to email me and we’ll schedule a call.
What if I want/need additional sessions?
Once we've completed the initial program, we can review and set goals for additional work together. Generally additional work is done in 12-week engagements, however custom programs can be put together based on goals and needs.
What should I do if I’m not happy with a session or my coaching experience?
If for any reason you are not completely happy, let me know immediately so that I can work to correct the situation. If for some reason I am unable to address your concerns to your satisfaction and you wish to discontinue coaching, send me an email indicating that and whatever details you’re willing to provide and I will provide a confirmation. As per my personal guarantee, you can cancel anytime for any reason.
I know someone who could use some coaching, how do I make an introduction?
Great! While my ability to take on new clients is often limited, I do give preference to referrals from existing clients. Easiest way to connect me with someone you think would benefit from coaching is to send them an email and CC me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a note about how you have benefited from coaching. I can follow up and schedule some time to have an introductory call.