Frequently Asked Questions about Coaching

What is Coaching?

Coaching is about working together to be supported with issues you might be having. This support comes from being listened to and working through thoughts, concerns, blockers that might be stopping you from reaching your full potential. Coaching is not counselling, therapy or mentoring and you won’t be told what to do to solve your problems. Coaching is about discovering for yourself what you actually want to do next.

Why should I have coaching?

If you’re feeling stuck, in a rut, feeling blugh, if you’re not moving forward in an area of your life and you don’t really know why. If you want to make a change in your life like a new career, leaving a relationship, moving, going back into education, coming out, transitioning. If you just need someone totally impartial, outside of your social group to talk to and to support you. There are so many things we all must cope with in life, somethings are too big to be dealt with by yourself and working with a coach is a great way to help understand your feelings, your motivations and also what you REALLY want to do next. It might surprise you!

Do we have to meet in a room somewhere?

Nope! The coaching I offer is through Google Meet, which makes it more convenient to book in a session after work one weekday. Most of my sessions are offered from 5pm onwards on weekdays, but I hope this will change soon and I’ll be able to offer sessions during the entire day. It’s not in a room but I do offer Outdoor Coaching for those in North London. It’s an hour of walking and talking in the woods.

Are you going to tell my boss/partner/vet/uber driver what I say about them in our sessions?

I won’t tell ANYONE about anything we talk about. As a client you need to trust that you can safely say anything you like without judgment or consequences. The only time I will break our confidentiality agreement is if you express an intent to harm yourself or someone else, or if you express the intent to break the law. At this stage, I will break confidentiality with your knowledge and inform the appropriate authorities. Don’t worry we’ll talk all of that through in our intro call and in our first few sessions.

Is this therapy/counselling?

Nope! Although coaching does come under the broad umbrella of the helping professions and coaching was developed using techniques and theories informed by psychological science, it is not therapy or counselling. I see therapy or counselling as reflecting and working on your past and how it affects your present. It’s about working through psychological trauma or exploring a recognised disorder that is stopping the normal functioning of the client. There is also a clinical aspect to therapy, clients can receive medical intervention like medication. Coaching is not a clinical professional. Coaching is more focused on the present moment and looking forward toward how you want things to be. We ask that clients are functioning well generally speaking, this means that any mental health issues you may be living with are not affecting you from working, socializing and generally feeling alright in the day to day. We all have mental health struggles, but when they start to affect our day-to-day functioning, this is when therapy/counselling should be a priority and not coaching. Clients will be referred to mental health services if it is clear during sessions that there are psychological issues affecting the client’s daily functioning.

Please note also that expressing an intent to harm yourself within a coaching session will lead the coach to break the confidentiality agreement you have made in order to inform a third party that the client is a risk. These things are talked about during the intro call and initial sessions, but it’s important to flag this as much as possible.

Aren’t life coaches a bit weird?

Weird, I’m so offended, how DARE YOU?! I know that Life Coaching has a bit of a funny reputation. I’ve seen life coaching courses advertised online for £10 that offer you 3 sessions of teaching and a cheap pdf certificate at the end of it and after doing that they say you can call yourself a Life Coach. Compared to the course I have done which was MUCH more expensive and involved 66 hours of teaching, several assessed practice sessions, recommended reading, podcasts to listen to, mentoring sessions on top of that. I know who I’d trust!

Coaching as an industry is in its infancy and it is currently unregulated in the UK. To be able to trust that a coach is ethical and well-trained it is important that you as the client do a bit of research (annoying, I know, but it’s true!) Check whether a coach holds a formal qualification such as a diploma or degree. If they don’t mention it on their website, message them to ask. Check to see if they are trained or accredited by a reputable institution such as the International Coaching Federation. I am training on a diploma programme for a Diploma in Integrative Coaching from Become Coaching and Training. Become are an ICF accredited institution, once I have passed my diploma I will be an ICF Trained Coach. I am seeking further accreditation from the ICF to become an ACC or Associate Certificate Coach with the ICF (so many acronyms, I know!) What I’m saying is, it’s a lot of work and I’m up for doing it to show that I am an ethical coach working within these strict guidelines.

I’m sure there are coaches out there who don’t have formal qualifications who are great and help a lot of people. For me, it’s important to have the training, to have the ethical framework to fall back on, for the safety of the client and myself as well. Coaches have a very unique position, we listen to client’s thoughts and feelings, problems that might have been troubling them for years. We are there to support people in a really intimate way. I wouldn’t feel comfortable working with someone who wasn’t well-trained and wasn’t working with an agreed standard of ethics.

As for being a bit weird, yeah who isn’t though? 😊

What is the difference between a life coach and a career coach?

In a way there’s no real difference. Coaching is a practice that can be applied to a variety of different issues, specialties, and clients. It comes down to you as the client, is the reason you want coaching because of your career or because of things going on in your life? Who would you feel more comfortable working with, someone with a more career focused specialty or a broader life one? I work within both areas of career and life coaching, but I feel like I do lean more towards the life stuff because really career issues always tend to broaden out towards life issues, because we’re all just people living our lives, aren’t we? 

Why did you end up training to do this?

Thank you for asking! So, I have a dual honors BA in English and Philosophy, a Masters in Creative and Life Writing, and (soon) a Diploma in Integrative Coaching. I have spent my career working in Higher Education working with students and supporting them throughout their degrees with their goals. Working with students was a real passion of mine, but all of the other stuff I had to do such as endless spreadsheets of marks and having VERY long meetings with academics didn’t excite me. It was working with people and most of all listening to people and supporting them with things going on in their lives that I really enjoyed. As part of one of my roles I helped students who needed to apply for extensions on deadlines because of illnesses, bereavements, political situations in their home countries, I had to be supportive and to listen to them in an open and friendly way. Through this role I found I really got a lot of job satisfaction and I also found that people could talk to me easily. Using these skills I then trained in the field of Advice and Guidance with the idea that I would become a careers advisor. After doing my initial Advice and Guidance training I realized that careers was very proscriptive, almost bossy. Who am I to tell you what you should do with your life?! So that’s when I found coaching as a way of using the skills I have, making connections with people, listening, supporting without the bossy aspects of telling people what to do. You already have the right answers, as a coach I’m there to help you realise them, test them out and see what works.

Favourite tea?

So so many! I have a different favourite tea for practically every time of the day. Mornings it’s a classic Twinings breakfast brew, afternoons it’s an M&S Empress Grey or a Green Tea with mint, evenings I’ve been known to have a Teapigs Chai tea and pretty much every night before bed it’s a relaxing herbal tea such as mint or ginger.

Who are the ICF?

They are the International Coaching Federation is the largest global accrediting and credentialing body for coaches. They have been around for 25 years, upholding standards, working with new coaches and those who have been in the business for decades. They are ensuring that coaches are trained to be the best coaches they can be following strict academic and ethical standards. The diploma course I am studying on is approved by the ICF and teaches within their guidelines. Have a look at their website here.

Do I have to prepare for a session?

I would say, generally speaking you don’t have to do a lot of preparation. It can be helpful to just think on the day of the session about what would be most helpful topic to focus on during the session. On the other hand, if you don’t have something you want to talk about in the coaching until you get to the session, that’s fine too. We can spend the first part of the session talking about that.

How do you cope with listening to everyone’s problems all day long?

People ask me this a lot. It’s very lovely for people to be concerned! Like anything, coaching can be tiring, but I really enjoy it and I often feel so energised by the conversations I have with clients that I don’t feel too knackered afterwards. I love getting to know people and I love supporting people with their lives, so it just fits me perfectly. Coaching can be about heavy topics sometimes, often conversations get really deep really quickly, but the overall practice is about moving forward and taking positive steps. We’re not dwelling on the past too much unless we have positive lessons to learn. I don’t tend to load my days up with sessions, at the moment I’m seeing one client a weekday and that’s not every weekday, this means I’m prepared and fresh and ready to coach each session. Once I have more experience maybe I’ll up it to two sessions a day, with a nice gap in between, we’ll see!  

Do you have a coach?

I am really lucky to be working with a few coaches, some were on the same diploma course as me and others are qualified ICF Coaches. I’m also receiving on going mentoring as a part of my course. It’s really important for me to receive coaching as a coach. To be honest, how can I expect a client to grow and commit to working on themselves if I’m not doing it myself? And crucially, I know coaching works, I am having it and I know how powerful it is to be heard by someone whose focus is to support you. Coaching can be emotional, it can be hard, it can at times be frustrating, I’ve been there so I know how it feels and I know how much it can literally change your life. Sounds nuts, doesn’t it? But it’s true!

Why does being LGBTQ inclusive matter?

On top of all the struggles we all face in life, LGBTQ+ folks have other unique struggles to cope with. I am a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and frankly I want to help as many people as possible, LGBTQ+ folk and allies. I don’t think people outside of the LGBTQ+ community really care about asking about pronouns, not assuming people’s gender expression and not judging people for the lives they lead, but if you are within the community being treated like this is ground-breaking. I want to offer an open and inclusive space for everyone and that’s what I’m working to do every day. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to support my fellow LGBTQ+ folk and allies through coaching.

Are you going to make me do a weird exercise like make me pretend to be a cat?

I will NEVER ask you to pretend to be a cat. We won’t really do many exercises in sessions, aside from maybe a visualisation or a breathing exercise and only if you are 100% up for doing that and you feel you’ll benefit from it. A visualisation is when you close your eyes, take some deep breaths and I talk you through a scenario. Visualisations have been proven to benefit clients rehearse scenarios to see how they feel about them. Thoughts and feelings usually come up that are useful to be aware of. They can also be really calming and can help reduce stress. It’s not ethical to make a you feel uncomfortable by making you do things you don’t want to do, so I will check with you (a lot!) to ensure that you are comfortable, if we decide to do them at all.

Why does it have to be on Google Meet, why not just over the phone?

We can do sessions on the phone if you’d prefer that is totally fine. Meeting in a visual medium does help with picking up on the nonverbal communication we do all the time. I’ll be able to pick this up on a phone call as well, through the tone in your voice and through silences but I feel it works better to meet face to face (through Google Meet)

What do I do if I don’t want coaching anymore?

That is totally fine. I want to make sure that you are enjoying coaching and benefitting from it. If you think it’s not working, that’s totally fine. I won’t take it personally at all, just send me an email and we can sort out a refund of sessions you have not had. No hard feelings at all.

Can I add you on LinkedIn/Instagram?

Please do details my LinkedIn is here and my Insta is here. Thank you so much. I am a new small business, so getting the word out that I am open and accepting clients is really important. Personal recommendations are really valuable as well, so if we’ve worked together please do feel free to post about coaching with me on your social media, it really helps me!

How does being a poet help you with coaching?

One of the biggest surprises I have had during my coaching training is how I can strengthen my coaching abilities by bringing all of my skills and experience to the table. This seems obvious now, but when I started I saw coaching as separate from my career as a poet, I thought it would be a great career for me to do to allow me more time to write as well, not really considering that my skills as a poet; curiosity, observation, listening, being able to phrase something in succinct and powerful way, are all strengths I can bring to coaching. It’s really wonderful that through coaching I can have a career that I can bring my entire self to. In all my working life my life as a poet has been either a secret or a quirky fact that gets glossed over, now I can be authentic and bring my entire self to my work. I also work with other poets as well, which is such a joy! If you’re a poet who wants coaching, get in touch!  

%d bloggers like this: