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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a partnership between a client and a coach that will evoke a thought-provoking and creative process to further inspire the client to maximize his/her personal potential.

Who Seeks Out Coaching?

Anyone who wishes to make a shift in their life – personally or professionally – may seek out coaching. Clients may choose to focus on life balance issues, career transitions, professional development, self- confidence, or quality of life issues.

What is the Difference between Coaching and Counseling?

In addition to being a coach, I also have an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. While there are some similarities between coaching and psychotherapy, they are very different activities and it is important for you to understand the differences between them.

Psychotherapy is a health care service and can be reimbursable through health insurance policies. This is not true for coaching. Both coaching and psychotherapy utilize knowledge of human behavior, motivation and behavioral change and interactive counseling principles and techniques.

The major differences are in the goals, focus and level of professional responsibility. The focus of coaching is development and implementation of strategies to reach clients identified goals of enhanced performance and personal satisfaction. Coaching may address specific personal projects, life balance, job performance and satisfaction or general conditions in the client’s life, business or profession.

The primary focus of psychotherapy is identification, diagnosis and treatment of mental and nervous disorders. The goals include alleviating symptoms, understanding the underlying dynamics which create symptoms, changing dysfunctional behaviors which are the result of these disorders and development new strategies for successfully coping with the psychological challenges which we all face. Most research on psychotherapy outcomes indicates that the quality of the relationship is most closely correlated with therapeutic progress. Psychotherapy patients are often emotionally vulnerable. This vulnerability is increased by the expectation that they will discuss very intimate personal data and expose feelings about themselves that are understandably sensitive about. The past life experiences of psychotherapy patients have often made trust difficult to achieve. These factors give psychotherapists greatly disproportionate power that creates a fiduciary responsibility to protect the safety of their clients and to “above all else, do no harm.”

The relationship between the coach and the client is specifically designed to avoid the power differentials that occur in the psychotherapy relationship. The client sets the agenda and the success of the enterprise depends on the client’s willingness to take risks and try new approaches. The relationship is designed to be more direct and challenging. You can count on me to be honest and straightforward, asking powerful questions and using challenging techniques to move you forward. You are expected to evaluate progress and when coaching is not working as you wish, you should immediately inform me so we can both take steps to correct the problem.

Because of these differences, the roles of coach and psychotherapist are often in potential conflict and I believe that, under most circumstances, it is ethically inappropriate for one to play both roles with a client, whether concurrently or sequentially. Positive change is difficult enough without having to worry about role confusion. This means that if either of us recognizes that you have a problem that would benefit from psychotherapeutic intervention I will refer you to appropriate resources. In some situations, I may insist that you initiate psychotherapy and that I have access to your psychotherapist as a condition of my continuing as your coach.

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