||BUSINESS COACHING FAQ
1. What is business coaching?
Business coaching is a professional relationship between
a coach and a client (usually called a coachee). The
objective of this professional relationship is to help
the client achieve his or her professional or personal
goals with less effort and in less time. The credit for
the achievement remains the client’s. The coach is just
another resource available to the client (just like a PC
or a book or the internet that are available to the
client). But since the coach is a living, breathing,
interactive person with an enquiring mind, he or she
will be the most useful of all the resources available
to the client.
Coaching is done during a “coaching conversation” which
is just like a normal conversation between old friends
but with a purpose or direction.
2. What then is the difference between a coach, a
consultant, and a counselor?
The difference is mainly a matter of methodology and
intent and can be summarized as follows:
A consultant: Using vastly superior knowledge and
experience, the consultant assumes the role of the
subject expert (e.g. in marketing or training needs
analysis or marine engineering, etc.). The expert
recommends or tells the client what and how to deal with
a certain issue or problem or to achieve a certain goal.
It is a superior – inferior relationship i.e. the
consultant is superior and the client being inferior.
A counselor: Again using superior knowledge and
experience, the counselor tells or advises clients
(usually employees or students) who have failed to reach
certain required life or work norms or expectations
(e.g. persistent late coming, consistent low
productivity, prolonged absenteeism, etc) to mend his or
her ways. The clients have deficits that need the
counselor’s intervention to help overcome the deficits.
Again it is a superior- inferior relationship.
A coach: Using questioning as the main
methodology as well as an understanding of the client’s
resources, the coach helps the client to achieve his or
her goals by:
a. helping the client gain a fresh insight or
b. prompting the client to take responsibility to take
action to achieve the client’s goal or discontinue a
habitual action that sabotages the client from achieving
It is a relationship of equals.
3. Why should I want to engage a coach?
You may want to engage a coach when you want to achieve
certain major things you have in mind. Most people, when
undertaking such a venture, normally have a lot of
doubts and questions in their minds and want to talk
them over with a good and trusting friend. At the end of
the conversation what you hope for is:
a. greater clarity of the issues you will be grappling
b. a renewed enthusiasm about proceeding with the
In this regard, a coach can be more useful than a good
and trusting friend because a coach is more likely to be
honest in providing feedback with a fresh perspective
while still giving you the support that you look for.
So the bottom-line is that if you want to be more
competent and fulfilled in whatever you do, engaging a
coach is likely to be a good investment in time and
4. My boss has asked me to work with a coach. Does it
mean that he is not satisfied with my performance? Is
there something wrong with me?
If your boss thinks there is something wrong with you,
he’s more likely to send you to see a counselor or a
therapist or the termination officer!
Obviously, he sees something in you that tell him you
have potential. He may want to groom you for bigger
things. Of course, it’s his duty to coach you and I’m
sure he is already doing that whenever he interacts with
you. But there are many advantages for asking you to see
an external coach. One of them is bringing a fresh
perspective to your growth and development. Another is,
just as in the case of the good and trusting friend we
spoke about earlier, an external coach will be able to
give you a more honest feedback.
5. Where do I look for a good coach?
Ask some of your senior colleagues for a recommendation.
They are likely to have engaged a coach because they see
the logic of it.
If you can’t get a recommendation, look up in the
internet and google “executive coaching ________ (name
of the country)” and you are likely to get some hits.
Or you can look for the phone no of the local coaching
6. How would I know whether a coach is right for me?
Coaching is a relationship business which means that you
have to want to be in that relationship. This is
especially true as trust (both ways) is essential. With
trust your chances of success in the coaching process is
very much enhanced. Of course, the coach must be
generally well- educated and knowledgeable (though not
necessarily in your area of expertise).
A good test of whether the coach is right for you is to
ask yourself at the end of each coaching conversation,
the following questions:
• Have I been given space to speak just enough about my
• Do I feel that I have been heard?
• Have I gained some clarity or a fresh insight on the
• Do I feel enthusiastic about the venture I have in
• Do I feel that the session bring me nearer to my
• Do I generally feel good and energized about the
The more yeses you answer to the above questions, the
greater is the indication that the coach is right for
7. Help! I can’t find a coach who has working
experience in my industry?
Are you sure you are looking for a coach? Or maybe you
just need a consultant to tell you what to do?
A coach with extensive work experience in your industry
brings both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages
relate to his familiarity with the issues confronting
you. So you don’t have to start from basics. But that
familiarity with the industry could turn out to be a
major disadvantage. The coach may tend to go for the
shortcut – putting up his or her own recommendations
rather than pulling out the solutions from you. That
doesn’t work in a coaching relationship. Most consultant
recommendations, if you make a quick study, don’t get
implemented – mainly because there is no buy-in by the
client. For your information, that’s the major
criticisms of consultants – their expensive
recommendations usually end up on the bookshelves.
In coaching, our emphasis is implementation or follow-
The main benefits of working with a coach who is
intelligent, knowledgeable and yet not from your own
technical background are two-fold:
a. By explaining the fundamental issues you will have
gained a fresh perspective of the issue itself.
b. The coach will be asking very basic questions which
may reveal a long held prejudice or blind spot. That may
help you come up with a novel approach to the venture
you have in mind.
8. I checked with a coach who I find acceptable. But
he’s very expensive. Come to think of it, the other
coaches are expensive too. What makes coaches so
expensive considering that he or she is just going to
talk with me?
Yes, considering that the coach’s job is just to talk
with you his or her fee can be regarded as expensive.
But have you heard of the story of the plumber who was
called to a factory to repair a piece of machinery? He
came and asked the foreman several questions. He
listened to the hum of the machine, asked more
questions. Then he asked the foreman to hold on to a
piece of cylinder and asked more questions. He asked the
foreman to trace a thread on the cylinder and on cue,
using a small hammer, the foreman knocked on a specified
part of the cylinder. And hey presto the machine started
to move. It was all over in 10 minutes.
On the way out, he handed the foreman a bill for $1000
itemized as follows:
Knocking work $ 10
Knowing what to ask and where to knock $990
In coaching, the difference is that the client gets to
do the knocking himself.
The skills of the coach during the “talk” include
creating a climate where the client becomes ready to
make changes through asking appropriate questions
(including a consideration of the timing of asking which
questions) and a basic understanding what makes the
9. Ok I am convinced about the need for engaging a
coach. How do I get the best out of my coach?
That’s a good question!
Most people who go into coaching have an unrealistic
idea about coaching and therefore may not gain as much
as they would otherwise. These are some of the tips to
maximize your gain from the coaching relationship:
||Be prepared for the coaching
conversation by listing and ranking the issues
you want to discuss before hand. Be clear about
why these issues are important to you and what
you hope to achieve during the talk.
||Be punctual to meet or call at
the appointed time and place. Your punctuality
is a good indication of the importance you give
to the coaching and your readiness to change.
||Give serious thoughts to each
of the coach’s questions by going deep inside
and coming up with answers that are true to you.
||Ask questions that you think
are germane to the issue.
||Be present and engaged in the
||Be as honest as the coach is to
||At the end of the session, ask
yourself the questions at item 6 above and
discuss them with the coach. This will help
improve the overall quality of future sessions.
||Commit to do what you have
agreed to do at the end of the session.
||Be open to the changes arising
from the conversation and follow up action and
report to the coach at the next conversation.
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