The length and format will vary on what you have designed and agreed with your coach. Sessions are from 45mins to ½ a day and held anything from weekly (for the shorter sessions) to monthly (for session 2 hours or more). They take place face-to-face on our or your premises; or via Skype / phone as agreed.
In terms of content, after an initial discovery period (where the coach helps establish a common base to work from), the client brings a topic to each session which forms the focus for that session. At the end of which a set of tasks / actions to take-away are agreed upon, together with the process for the coach holding the client responsible.
Within a session the coach in addition to talking and questioning the coach may use tools and techniques that take you out of your comfort zone (e.g. using visualisations and movement) to create new insights and shifts. Bear in mind if it feels like a comfortable chat then it is not really coaching as you are not being stretched and are not close to the edge of change.
There are two key factors in selecting a coach, the first is their abilities as a coach and the second is their match with you.
Coaching is still a relatively new field and in most countries is not regulated or controlled, meaning anyone can call themselves a coach. The easiest way to establish if a coach is properly trained is to check whether they have any form of certification. All of our coaches are certified not only by our training body (the Coaches Training Institute) but also by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the largest professional coaching organisation in the world. To be certified with these organisations coaches have had over 150 hours of training and had their coaching supervised and reviewed by experienced coaches. Additionally, to maintain certification with ICF we must continue undertake on-going training and supervision. Whilst there are other international coaching bodies, such as the Association of Coaching (AC) and the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), at Extole we believe the ICF certification is the gold standard and the one we demand from our coaches.
Once you have determined a coach has the right training and qualifications the choice comes down to how well you think you will work together. This is why we offer free “chemistry” sessions so you can meet a potential coach and decide are they right for you (and vice versa). This is not an exact science but what you are looking for is someone you can trust, will create a safe environment for you, gets you; but at the same time will challenge and stretch you.
Totally. Even if the coaching is paid for by your organisation or someone else we will only accept an assignment on the condition that the contents of the coaching remains confidential between the coach and the person being coached. Where a sponsor requires feedback then we will only provide information which is specifically agreed with our coaching clients and ideally we request that the sponsor gets feedback directly from the person being coached. The only exception to this rule would be in the highly unusual case where we were legally required to disclose something, as coaching is not a privileged relationship like a lawyers or medical practitioners are.
The person being coached is obviously free to disclose whatever they want to whoever they want.
Coaching is not therapy and our coaches are not trained therapists. The presumption in coaching is that the client is healthy, independent and capable of the change they desire; whereas in therapy the client has some form of mental health issue or disorder. Coaching is focused on what is here now and what you want on the future, we are not particularly concerned in what happened in the past as we cannot influence or change it. In therapy, by contrast, a lot of time may be spend examining the past to understand what is going on and to deal with historic issues. Very occasionally, during a coaching programme a coach may become aware that a client has issues which would be more appropriately handled by a therapist or medical specialist, in which case the coach is required by our ethics to refer their client to an appropriate specialist (it is worth stressing this is a very rare occurrence).