Life Coaching & Executive Coaching FAQs

What is coaching?

Coaching is a process that occurs in a trusting professional relationship between coach and client. Whether in one’s professional or personal life, the primary focus is discovering what is important to you and helping you make changes that lead to success in those areas.

What’s the difference between life coaching and executive coaching?

The difference is usually in the primary focus of the work. While both are about recognizing and realizing your potential in areas that are important to you, life coaching can address a broad range of goals related to various areas of life. Executive coaching, on the other hand, focuses primarily on one’s professional effectiveness and experience of work life. But not surprisingly, one’s professional life is influenced by what happens outside of work, and one’s personal endeavors often involve work or leadership in some capacity. Therefore, there is often overlap. In addition, executive coaching typically includes assessment, for example, a 360-degree assessment, whereas life coaching often does not.

What does coaching seek to accomplish?

Coaching aims to propel clients forward toward personally meaningful goals. In an executive coaching context, a goal might be to enhance persuasion skills in order to advance your career. In a life coaching context, it might be to pursue a new career path or different fulfilling activities. The key components of the coaching process are discovering what experiences are actually meaningful to you, then setting goals and generating strategies to accomplish them. A trusting coaching relationship includes both support and accountability as clients make progress toward their goals.

What is the difference between life coaching and psychotherapy (aka “therapy”)?

Psychotherapy and coaching are not the same. Psychotherapy is helpful or critically important for many people at some point in life. However, many people do not require or seek therapy, yet would benefit from assistance with changing certain behaviors or achieving specific goals. In that case, coaching can be a powerful support to making desired changes.

Goals:  The general goal of psychotherapy is to restore function and wellbeing by reducing distressing symptoms and problematic behaviors that cause significant impairment in one’s day-to-day life. Coaching, on the other hand, has the goal of maximizing potential by promoting the achievement of specific goals that are likely to substantially enhance one’s life, whether professionally, personally, or both. Coaching is typically appropriate in the absence of a psychological diagnosis, or when any symptoms related to a diagnosis are not of severity or number to significantly interfere with daily functioning.

Process:  Regarding the style and process, some types of therapy are stylistically somewhat similar to coaching, while others are quite different. In general, psychological therapies that are cognitive, behavioral, and goal- and action-oriented are more similar to the coaching program offered by Rich Potential than most other types of therapy.

Relationship:  Speaking generally, another difference is “who’s in charge.” In traditional psychotherapy, the psychologist is generally considered the expert in symptom alleviation. Coaching, on the other hand, is “owned” by the client, meaning that the client’s goals and objectives are the focus of the work. In coaching, there is a more explicit understanding that the client is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the work.

How will I know whether life coaching or psychotherapy is better for me at this time?

During an initial discussion with Rich Potential, your goals and challenges will be discussed. A coaching relationship begins only if both parties think that coaching is likely to result in the specific outcomes you want. If coaching is unlikely to address the goals or the concerns you have at this time, another type of professional, for example, a psychotherapist, consultant, or specific business expert will be suggested.

What are the characteristics of someone who is likely to benefit from coaching?

  • Motivated to change
  • Willing to try things a different way
  • Willing to ask for and receive feedback from the coach
  • Willing to work between sessions
  • Available and willing to participate in sessions per the coaching agreement
  • Willing to make a commitment to coaching for at least three months

How long does coaching last?

The duration of coaching varies depending on the context and goals. Successful coaching can occur in as few as three months, but more commonly, six to twelve months of coaching better supports clients in achieving goals. Factors that may impact the length of a coaching include the types of goals, the ways individuals or teams prefer to work, the frequency of coaching sessions and the financial resources available to support coaching. The duration of coaching typically is agreed upon at the beginning of the coaching engagement.

What are the logistics of coaching?

The logistics of coaching vary depending on the client’s needs and the coach’s preferences. Coaching can occur over the telephone, web conferencing, or in person.  Dr. Rich works with clients in all of these ways, including meeting in person at her office in Birmingham, Alabama. In the case of executive coaching, Dr. Rich sometimes works at the client’s office.  Fees for coaching are priced by-the-session, by-the-month, or by-the-package, and are paid in advance. At the beginning of coaching, the details regarding meeting place, time, duration, and fees are agreed upon by the client and coach in writing.

Where can I go to learn more about coaching?