How does the coaching work?

One-on-one coaching is delivered during regular, weekly or bi-weekly sessions by telephone or in person whichever is more convenient. Clients work with a coach during an initial meeting to define the scope of the coaching relationship, to identify priorities for action, and to establish specific desired outcomes. We set two to three goals that can be accomplished in 3-4 months. After developing key strategies for each goal, the coach helps the client design and carry out the actions to achieve their goals. Each week, progress is reviewed and next steps determined. The coach helps them solve problems and make the most of opportunities. We bring out each client's best by listening for potential, expecting a lot, helping them strategize and celebrating their wins. Coaching can focus on either business goals or personal goals, and as a leadership coach, Gay-Lynn has clients who tend to focus on professional goals.

Group coaching has become quite common. In this scenario, a group of individuals with a common interest or goal come together for regular sessions. While this experience is not as tailored to one person, immense value can be gained through the coach's effort to tap into and cultivate the wisdom of the group in capturing insights and accomplishing goals.

What should I look for in a coach?

The right coach brings out your best, consistently. To do this, the coach you select should pass the following three tests:

  1. Does this coach have a track record of helping someone like me accom-plish the goals I want?
  2. Do I feel good and motivated to act when with this coach?
  3. Will this coach keep up with me—and stay ahead of me—as I grow?

I believe that certification by the International Coach Federation, which requires the coach to have completed a rigorous training program, a minimum number of coaching hours and an exam, is an important consideration.

I work well with four types of clients:

  1. professionals who are ambitious, self-aware and ready to do what it takes to reach breakthrough goals
  2. individuals who are making substantial changes in their personal or professional lives
  3. individuals who have an appetite for learning and trying out new behaviors
  4. groups or teams that are ready to learn from each other and determine the rules of engagement that will profoundly improve their performance.

I am particularly drawn to technical professionals, emerging leaders and rising executives.

How is coaching distinct from therapy and other service professions?

Professional coaching is a distinct service which focuses on your life as it relates to goal setting, outcome creation and personal change management. In an effort to understand what a coach is, it can be helpful to distinguish coaching from other professions that provide personal or organizational support.

Therapy. Coaching can be distinguished from therapy in a number of ways. First, coaching supports personal and professional growth and development based on individual-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is forward moving and future focused. Therapy, on the other hand, deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or a relationship between two or more individuals. Therapy outcomes often include improved emotional/feeling states. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one's work or personal life. The emphasis in a coaching relationship is on action, accountability and follow-through.

Consulting. Consultants access specialized expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, there is often an assumption that the consultant diagnoses problems and prescribes and sometimes implements solutions. In general, the assumption with coaching is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks. The coach knows the questions, and the client knows the answers.

Mentoring. Mentoring, which can be thought of as guiding from one's own experience or sharing of experience in a specific area of industry or career development, is sometimes confused with coaching. While coaches can be mentors in the sense of providing encouragement and support, they are not relying primarily on their own experience to guide the client.

Training. Training programs are based on the acquisition of certain learning objectives as set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path which coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum plan.

Athletic Development. Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from the traditional sports coaching model. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but it is the experience and knowledge of the individual or team that determines the direction.

Where do I start with a coach?

Most coaches begin with a special client meeting to get to know each other. The coach wants to hear about the client's goals, needs, and potential. The client wants to get comfortable with the coach. During this meeting, both parties design goals and a game plan to reach these goals. Prior to this meeting, the client will have received a welcome package to make the most of the meeting.

What Our Clients Said

  • “I would want others to understand the impact that each one-hour session can have, and the feeling of clarity, relief, and excitement I had after each session. Gay-Lynn is great at guiding you as you sift through your own thoughts and feelings to identify what's important and where to go next.”

    Rick Stepanovic
    Chapter Services Director
    Sigma Phi Epsilon

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