The Coaching Relationship
What you need to know about coaching, disclaimers, etc. (i.e., setting context, and some legal stuff). One-on-one coaching clients are asked to sign a version of this when we begin working together, which may differ in some specifics from client to client.
About the Coaching Relationship
Coaching is an ongoing relationship between a coach and a person who has decided that he or she needs help with some aspect of their life.
Frequently, the coaching relationship is entered into in order to address a particular challenge, project, or goal with which the client is having difficulty.
In some cases, the coaching relationship may begin as, or develop into, a more general ‘personal development’ coaching, which may over time address multiple areas of the client’s life, or multiple projects and/or goals. Such a relationship may be ongoing, but will often be in the form of multiple short/medium term engagements with varying lengths of time between engagements.
Coaching vs. Advice
Having a coach is somewhat different than having an advisor. Some coaches will absolutely refuse to offer any advice at all, and will try to always keep their opinions to themselves—the rationale for this approach is often quite sound, after all, coaching is about the client and his or her goals, not the coach and his or her agenda.
That said, it can actually be helpful for a coach to bring some of him or herself into the process. I will never tell you what you should choose—that’s really not up to me to assess or judge. I will offer you different perspectives to consider, some of which will undoubtedly be based on my own experience and/or on my intuitive sense of the deeper reality of the situation. I may tell you what I perceive as likely outcomes of certain choices or actions. I won’t suggest alternative perspectives to steer you in a particular direction, but rather to open up additional possibilities and avenues for you to explore. Ultimately, it is always up to you to judge what’s in your best interest and consistent with your values and your goals.
The Coaching Process
The coaching process may include a variety of approaches and tools as needed. Among the things that I may use with you are: ‘homework assignments’, brainstorming, agreements & ‘contracts’ (providing accountability), attentive listening, appreciative inquiry, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, goals and values clarification, meditation, journaling, book recommendations, app recommendations, and Insight Facilitation™. We may also together discover other ways of working together that will benefit you as we proceed. If at any time in our process together you think of something we aren’t doing that you believe might be helpful to you, please bring it into the conversation.
There may be times when I will ask a question that you feel is ‘too personal’. You will always have the right to refuse to answer. I may challenge your perspective or offer constructive criticism. You always have the right, and the responsibility, to evaluate what I offer, guided by your own judgement and values. And as you evaluate how to respond to things that may provoke some discomfort, also remain aware that growth and change are sometimes challenging and uncomfortable—if it was easy, none of us would need help. Trust yourself and the process.
Checking in and Feedback
I will occasionally check in with you about the process. When something really isn’t working for you, tell me—this relationship is about me assisting you, and your feedback about the process can only help. I may recommend we push through, but I’ll always give you my rationale and the option to refuse. My goal is to help you rather than to doggedly stick to some particular model or template—feedback and adjustment are important parts of the coaching relationship.
What you can expect from me:
- First and foremost is my commitment to you and your process. My intention in everything I do with you is to serve you and to help you to achieve your goals.
- I will endeavor to always be completely honest and straightforward, even when doing so may risk discomfort.
- I will both encourage you and challenge you, always with the goal of helping you to achieve your desired outcomes.
- I will serve as an additional point of accountability.
- I will work with you on your terms, within the framework of your goals and values.
- If at any time I feel that I am unable to be of service to you, for any reason, I will inform you so that we can discuss how to best move forward, including the possibility of ending the coaching relationship.
What I expect from you:
- First and foremost, is your commitment to yourself. You’ve sought out coaching for a reason. I expect you to remain committed to yourself and the process of your development.
- Be honest with yourself, be honest with me. I can’t be a lot of help if you’re not honest with me. You will continue to run into blocks to your progress if you’re not honest with yourself.
- Follow through—when you commit to do some homework, or to complete specific tasks as part of your action plan, be sure to follow through on those agreements.
- Take responsibility—affirm that you are responsible for the choices and decisions you make.
- Be open, curious, and even a little adventurous. Part of what keeps people from achieving their full potential is getting stuck in limited ways of perceiving and understanding themselves and their situation. Be open to exploring new and different ways of seeing things.
- Feedback—let me know if you feel something in the process isn’t working for you.
What you can expect from coaching:
The reason for hiring a coach is to help you achieve something you haven’t been able to achieve on your own. Whether it’s to achieve particular goal, to complete a project on which you’ve become stuck, or to gain increased clarity and self-awareness, the coaching relationship can provide a supportive environment and context within which to explore new perspectives and new possibilities. It can be a ‘place’ to try out new ideas and behaviors. It can both provide accountability, and it can spark creativity.
While I will support, encourage and assist you to realize your potential, and to achieve your goals, you are the one who is ultimately responsible for your own success. It is you who must make decisions and choices that will affect your progress. It is you who must do the work. Your success requires your commitment to yourself no less than if you didn’t have a coach.
Please be sure to keep scheduled appointments. If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, please provide at least 24 hours notice.
If I ever need to reschedule an appointment, I will provide you with 24 hours notice. If I am unable to provide at least 24 hours notice, I will provide the next appointment at half the normal rate.
Please be aware that even if you are late, the appointment will end at the scheduled time, and you will be charged for the full session. If I am late, I will offer a way to make up the missed time.
For clients who enter into a multi-session agreement, I do provide between session support by email. I do not currently have set limits on this support, preferring to trust that we can find the right balance. If I feel that requests for support between appointments is becoming too much, I will bring it to your attention so that we can discuss how to best meet your needs.
Some clients find it useful to include reporting on their progress on a regular basis (some as often as daily). I will not require this from any client, but I may recommend it as a way to increase accountability if any problems with follow-through arise that could be addressed with a reporting agreement.
The ‘legal’ stuff you should know about…
Coaching is not Therapy
Although I have a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology, you must understand that I am not a licensed Clinical Psychologist, and the coaching I offer is not therapy. I do not diagnose or treat mental illness. The coaching I offer is not intended as an alternative to psychiatric or other mental health treatment. If at any time material arises within the coaching relationship that would be better dealt with by a licensed mental health professional, I will recommend that you seek such assistance.
The coaching relationship is a confidential relationship. I will guard your privacy, keeping what you tell me confidential. In some cases, you may choose to give me permission to share specific things with specific people if we determine it would be of benefit to you or our process to do so—I will request that you give me that permission in writing. Other than with your explicit permission, I will not disclose anything you discuss with me to anyone, with the following exceptions:
- When disclosure is required to prevent clear and immanent danger to yourself or others.
- When legal requirements demand that confidential material be revealed.
- When a child is in need of protection.
- When the information is generally known and/or was known to me prior to your sharing it with me.
- Your name and contact information only will be included in my coaching log, for purposes of certification and/or credentialing.
- Topics we discuss may be anonymously and hypothetically shared with other coaching professionals for the purposes of training and ongoing professional development.
Termination of Services
Although coaching is a comprehensive process, either of us may terminate at any point, for any reason. You will pay only for services received—if you have prepaid for services not yet delivered, you will be reimbursed in the amount of the undelivered services less any discounts applied for pre-payment.
It is understood that while I am acting in the capacity of coach, offering support, encouragement, suggestions, and feedback, you are ultimately responsible for your own choices and the consequences thereof. I cannot be held responsible for your decisions or their outcomes. You agree to hold me free of all liability and responsibility for any adverse situations created as a direct or indirect result of a specific referral or decision you make as a result of discussions during a coaching session or in a coaching context.