FAQs

HOW IS INTEGRAL COACHING DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MODELS OF COACHING?

Integral coaching takes a holistic approach to personal and professional development by taking into account the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of a client – so that true insights arise and lasting growth can take place. Other forms of coaching may only focus on one aspect of a person – e.g. your career – and work on that area in isolation.

WHY IS ACCREDITATION IMPORTANT?

Coaching is still an emerging industry and therefore still lacks standardisation – particularly here in South Africa. Accreditation sets practising professional coaches apart from ‘chancers’ attempting to enter a largely unregulated industry.

WHAT IS COACHING?

Coaching is a skilful methodology for developing self and others so that the leader is more effective and fulfilled. It involves the development of increasing competence in the person being coached. One of the key ways in which this is done is through enabling a coachee to notice how their ‘way of being’ enhances or hinders what they want to accomplish.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A COACHING SESSION?

It is perhaps easier to start with what does not happen: you will not get advice; you will not be given a solution; you will not be told what to do; you will not receive suggestions on what to do; you will not be guided.

What will happen is that your coach will work with you in a specific way so that you develop the insights necessary to see new possibilities that you were previously unaware of.

Once you have seen the situation in the light of these new possibilities, your coach will work with you to develop practices and observations that will enable you to build your competence such that you can find the solution to or resolve your challenge or problem yourself.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A ‘PRACTICE’?

A practice is a small exercise grounded in habitual behaviours, which is designed to enable you to practice some new skill or competence. E. g., a sitting practice is designed to develop your ability to sit still for a while every day, to become more mindful of your body and to just stop for a while.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY AN ‘OBSERVATION’?

An observation is where we start building your self-awareness – or rather, your ability to observe yourself in the moment, whilst in action. An example could be to notice, in the meetings you attend over the next month, how often you speak in comparison to others. Your coach would ask you to jot this down and to reflect on this at the end of each day, but NOT to take any action. Just to observe your habitual behaviour when it comes to speaking.

WHAT QUALIFIES A COACH TO BE ABLE TO COACH ME?

Ask a coach how long they have spent learning, studying, researching and practicing the art of coaching. How many training courses have they attended? Who are these courses accredited through? Developed by? Run by? What previous experience does the coach have? At what levels? In which industries? How do they feel about the work that they do? What has their previous work experience exposed them to? (see Who I am section for more information on this)

HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT COACHING ME?

In some respects the power of coaching lies in its simplicity:- I would explore your current situation, your way of being in the world, and would Dialogue around what you wish the outcomes of the coaching programme to be. These outcomes need to be clearly articulated and agreed upon by both coach and coachee. Once this is done, work starts on the way in which these outcomes can be reached.

HOW LONG DO I NEED COACHING FOR?

The recommended minimum time is 6 months and many people choose to work with their coach for 9 – 12 months. Ideally, the length of your coaching programme depends on the depth and complexity of the challenges you wish to work on. A minimum of 6 months is recommended to, for example, develop a new competence such as handling performance assessment sessions constructively. A longer period of 12 months or more is required for addressing issues of fundamental change such as a questioning of your life purpose.

WHAT IF I FIND I NEED A COACH FOR LONGER THAN A YEAR?

If you are experiencing a particularly turbulent or challenging life period, then you might well need a coach for 12 – 18 or even 24 months. But if, after 24 months you find you are still feeling the need for a coach, you might well wish to ask yourself if there is a chance that you are becoming dependent on your coach. This could happen if, for example, your coach was blurring the boundaries between coaching and mentoring or consulting. In this case the coach might be taking the role more as advisor and expert guide instead of coach. Then by all means, if you receive valued advice, and wish to continue, do so – just don’t call it coaching!

WHAT WOULD A COACHING INTERVENTION FOR ME LOOK LIKE?

I prefer face-to-face coaching, with one session every two weeks for a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 12 months. Each session lasts one to one-and-a-half hours. For those clients living futher away, one can mix telephonic and face-to-face coaching, and for more remote and international clients, coaches do all sessions telephonically, barring the first one or two, which are face to face.

WHY DO YOU INSIST ON MEETING YOUR CLIENTS?

I believe that it is important to have at least established a personal chemistry between coach and coachee, as well as a visual image of the client to work off for the remainder of the programme.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M READY TO BE COACHED?

Only you can decide if you are ready to be coached. You have to want to do this, because your coach is going to need to ask you to apply your attention to areas of your life which you may have ignored or avoided in the past. Ideally, you are ready to be coached if you are curious about yourself and your relationship with the world around you; curious about how you learn, grow and develop. Most importantly, you need to be open to new thoughts, concepts, feelings, ideas and possibilities in all areas of your life.

WHAT TIME COMMITMENTS DOES THIS INVOLVE?

On a physical and emotional level you need to realise that coaching can be emotionally and spiritually draining at times. Ideally you should have the physical and emotional space available to be able to invest time and energy into your coaching programme.

WHAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH MY WHILE TO INVEST BOTH TIME AND MONEY IN COACHING?

We will sit down together and agree on what the desired outcomes of your coaching programme are. Whilst you might initially start off with a fairly generic notion such as “I want to improve my relationships”, I will assist you to boil this down into observable behaviours so that we can both recognize when this outcome has been achieved. For example, the comment above might be broken down into areas such as:

  • I will reduce conflict levels with my line manager
  • I will participate constructively with my team
  • I will manage to express myself honestly but without offending others
  • I will experience less conflict at home.

CAN ONE MEASURE THE SUCCESS OF A COACHING INTERVENTION?

Yes – there are several ways of doing this. Some coaches encourage their clients to do a 360-degree appraisal at the start of the programme. This achieves the following:

  • the coach gets a grounded view of how the client is seen and experienced by those around him or her;
  • the coach and the client can identify additional strengths and development areas to work on;
  • the coach is able to design a more grounded and comprehensive programme.

One can then also encourage clients to do the same 360-degree appraisal at the end of the coaching relationship, in order to find out if other people have noticed a change and how they feel about this.

WHAT IS YOUR CODE OF ETHICS AS A COACH?

There is no accepted universal code of ethics for the coaching profession as yet. However, as a member of the ICF, there is a clearly articulated code of ethics to which I subscribe. All points are important in this Code, but the one which most clients fret about is that of confidentiality. I take confidentiality extremely seriously. It is the bedrock of a successful professional career as a coach – my commitment to confidentiality is to follow the code of ethics for the psychology profession in this regard.

ON COACHING ASSIGNMENTS, WHO IS YOUR CLIENT?

Although often an organization pays for coaching, I always consider my primary client to be the individual receiving coaching.

WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU TURN DOWN A COACHING ASSIGNMENT?

I might turn down an assignment, for the following reasons:-

  • Coachee not ready or open to coaching.
  • Any assignment where it was felt that the organization expected an inappropriate level of disclosure or discussion with regards to the coachee.
  • Any coaching assignment where the coachee was not engaging with the process.
  • If the coach was required to coach a hierarchical relationship – e. g. , a boss and her subordinate. This would not allow trust to develop.

WHAT IS THE MOST PREFERRED COACHING CONTEXT OR SITUATION?

Each situation is unique. Often the presenting issue or reason for coaching is not the actual one. The most preferred is the situation where the coachee engages 100% with the process, no matter the context.

WHAT IS THE LEAST PREFERRED COACHING CONTEXT OR SITUATION?

Least preferred is when the coachee has to receive coaching because, for example, it might be part of an organizational roll-out, but they don’t really want to do it and do not engage with the process in any way – they don’t do the things they commit to.

(FAQs adapted from GSB Centre for Coaching website)

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