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Frequently asked questions

How coaching is different from other support roles?

Coach
Mission: To guide and to stimulate coachee in achieving his objectives
Customer benefits: Achieving objectives faster and more efficiently

Mentor
Mission: To transmit knowledge, skills and an enterprise culture
Customer benefits: Developing expertise and informal knowledge of the organization

Psychotherapist
Mission: To help a patient regain his greater well-being
Customer benefits: Healing

Expert (consultant)
Mission: To analyze, diagnose and sometimes suggest solutions
Customer benefits: Assessing a situation neutrally and accurately

Advisor
Mission: Based on its experience and skills, to offer solutions and to help make decisions
Customer benefits: Saving time and energy in their choices and decisions

Trainer
Mission: To transmit knowledge and skills and to develop competencies
Customer benefits: Learning skills and networking

How to choose my coach?

Choosing a coach can be a sensitive decision. There are many coaches who share a common vocation while having different personalities and approaches.

Before you select a coach, it is useful that the coachee thinks about the type of coach that could help him effectively move forward in achieving his objectives. What kind of background, what personality traits, what communication styles he expects?

Often, the good relationship between a coach and coachee comes from a complex alchemy. Before choosing a coach, I recommend asking the following questions:

1. Does he have a recognized professional certification (i.e. International Coaching Federation certification)?
2. What training on coaching did he receive?
3. What is his coaching experience? (Number of individuals coached, years of experience, etc.)
4. Which types of clients and organizations does he work with?
5. What kinds of situations does he often have to deal with?
6. What is his approach to coaching and how does he work?
7. What are the main features of his personality? Coachees with whom he works well and those with whom he has more trouble?
8. What are his expectations for the coachee?
9. Can he give you references you could contact?
10. Can he tell you an accurate story of a successful coaching and the value created for the customer? A coaching history less successful?

How long is a coaching?

Except for “speed coaching” coaching type, coaching is usually spread over periods of 3 to 9 months and 8 to 12 sessions.

The frequency of coaching sessions varies depending on the urgency and magnitude of the objective, duration of sessions, availability and budget of the coachee. Usually, the frequency is higher at the beginning of a term (2 to 3 sessions per month) and spaces in time based on the empowerment of the coachee.

Each session can last between 30 minutes and 2 hours (1 hour maximum is recommended if the session is done remotely).

What are people looking for through coaching?

The expected benefits of coaching are varied but often, they can be found in the following 6 categories:

  1. The clarification of own goals and projects
  2. The resolution of a complex and persistent problem
  3. The achievement of a difficult goal
  4. Personal development
  5. The improvement of a weakness or the maturation of a strength
  6. The change of a state of discomfort
What are the responsibilities of the coach?

The coach guarantees the effectiveness of the coaching process. As an expert in change, the coach may, depending on the needs of the coachee, play a role of a:

  • Guide: showing to the coachee the way to achieve the goals he has set;
  • Partner: pushing the coachee to exploit his full potential by pushing him out of his comfort zone if necessary;
  • Ally: supporting and encouraging the coachee in his approach.
What are the responsibilities of the coachee?

The coachee is responsible for achieving his own objectives. As such, when undertaking a coaching approach, the coachee must:

  • Sincerely involve himself in a process of change and implementation by the action;
  • Be candid with his coach and share with him expectations, obstacles and difficulties;
  • Respect his commitments to the coach and to himself;
  • Assume his role in the achievement of his objectives.
How to measure the effectiveness of coaching?

Since the coaching process aims to help the coachee to achieve his goals more effectively and more quickly than if he had to do it alone, the measure of the effectiveness of the coaching process, will reside primarily in the ability of the coach to regularly validate if objectives have been achieved.

If this is not the case, he should assess relevance of the objectives, help the coach identify what is missing to reach these and define which new strategies and tactics can be implemented by the coachee to achieve his goals.

Could coaching be done remotely?

The remote coaching has grown significantly in recent years. Parallel to the development of communication tools, blockage to these kind of coaching that may have existed until recently gradually disappears. So, many advantages can be found in remote coaching:

  • Allow flexibility with people whose schedule is overloaded;
  • Breaking the bias that can be induced by non-verbal cues;
  • Focus attention solely on the contents of the discussion and not be distracted by external stimuli;
  • Foster a climate of disclosure and sharing.

So, if I was first a little reluctant to use this type of coaching, the experience totally convinced me of its interest. I even realized that this type of coaching can sometimes be more effective than ‘classic’ coaching.

Nevertheless, even in the case of a remote coaching, I recommend organizing some coaching sessions in person (often one at the start of the coaching, a mid-term one and one at the end of the mandate). Indeed, these sessions help develop some intimacy, a fundamental factor in the development of a lasting relationship of trust.

Why choosing an external coach rather than an internal coach?

The enthusiasm of recent years for coaching has led some companies to internalize the function. Sometimes an internal coach role is created but this role is often associated with other responsibilities (the most usual being a responsibility within the human resources function coupled to an internal coach role).

Without questioning this model, my experience as a consultant and as a coach makes me think that the external coach is the most appropriate solution regarding coaching. For several reasons:

  • It is often easier for an external coach to establish his credibility and legitimacy with executives;
  • Only an external coach can provide, without ambiguity, total neutrality and independence as his job ethics requires. This allows to create the conditions for the establishment of a climate of trust favourable to the sharing and transparency between the coach and coachee;
  • The external coach can keep a real distance from the political, cultural and organizational environment of the coachee. He suffers no influence and can act in all circumstances in the interest of the coachee and effectiveness of the coaching;
  • The external coach can use his experience and the diversity of organizations and individuals with whom he worked to enrich the feedback he can give to the coachee. The diversity of experience contributes to the richness of the interventions.
Stephane is also pragmatic and extremely good at taking distance - and helping other doing the same - which I find very useful in the fast pace business world we live in. Aurelien MAMOU, Director, Global Human Resources Center of Excellence - Velcro Group