FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is coaching?
Coaching is a conversation that is focused on what you want and who you want to be. It’s a transformative dialogue between two people, in which we will both be extremely honest and open with each other. It’s a place where you can be 100% yourself and talk about anything you want. We will enter a relationship where you won’t be judged for whatever it is you think, feel or want to achieve. Once I decide to work with you I will be on your side, even when I challenge you or call you out on some of your bullshit (none of us are immune to at least some of that).
Coaching is a safe place and time to ponder, reflect, doubt and understand yourself and your life better. Through a process of exploration I will help you build a strong foundation of who you are so that you can make courageous choices and live the life you always wanted. I won’t judge you for your choices; and I won’t take responsibility for your actions or in-actions. Living life isn’t easy and there will be challenges and anxiety. I can’t tell you what the best way forward is but I can help you find your own best answers. And if you’re committed to getting the best out of your time on this planet then I’ll be your fellow traveler that helps you make sense of what’s happening inside and around you so that you can face it head on and live the best life possible.
How the actual process of coaching will look like in practice varies from client to client and depending on the context. I’m happy to tell you a bit more once we have our initial conversation.
How much does it cost?
Professional coaching is expensive. And since I only have a limited number of spaces available I am very selective about who I take on as a client. I now only work with clients who are 100% committed to the process and have made a firm decision to change. I charge accordingly. And it’ll hurt a little. But I believe that this is not only worth it with regards to what you will be getting out of the process but that it is necessary for you in order to be fully committed to the process. I don’t discuss my fees before the initial consultation but I will make you a proposal at the end of our meeting and we will either work something out or I can refer you to a coach who may be more suitable for you.
Is one session enough?
Yes and no. I’ve had some incredible results with one-off sessions. Some of my coaching students who only took part in a 10min demonstration with me still tell me about how it changed their lives. A trained professional can make a difference with just one poignant intervention. One question that nobody has ever asked you may trigger a chain reaction of change that lifts you into a upward spiral of success. However, there generally is no magic pill to life’s problems and no shortcuts. You can find the most direct and effective way to get from A to B but you will still need to put the work in. When change happens quickly, a lot of work tends to have gone into the solution already, you just weren’t aware of it and needed that final trigger or push. Starting to coach with me tends to be just that. How much time you need to make the changes you need to make depends on you. I charge for results, for my time and for you to commit fully. The commitment always has to come first. The results may come before my time is running out. But there aren’t any guarantees in life. I’ll do everything in my power; but ultimately you own your result and the time it takes you to achieve them.
I’m not in London. Can we still work together?
Yes. While coaching tends to be most powerful face-to-face, coaching via telephone or Skype can be equally successful. Even email coaching or exchanges via test chat can have powerful effects but I tend to only use these between sessions where we talk in real-time with only very rare exceptions.
If your time is an exceptionally rare and valuable commodity and you’re willing to pay premium rates, we can discuss meeting in a place that’s convenient for you.
Many people, especially in these modern times, have a feeling that they don’t make optimal use of their time, skills, strengths or opportunities. Growing pressure from family, superiors or line managers, media images or the personal or public perception of what a successful life/career should look like causes many people to seek professional help. Some common goals of coaching are to…
– Make difficult decisions
– Maximise personal or professional success
– Make the best use of time
– Find the right motivation
– Stop procrastinating
– Change or improve an aspect of their life/job
– Create and achieve goals
– Discover personal strengths and learn to work with them
– Grow and flourish and get to know oneself better
– Better understand life in general or certain aspects of your life or job in particular
– Build natural defences against depression, burn-out or loss of meaning (resilience).
What does it do? How does it work?
A coaching relationship will enable you to be more aware of who you are and the possibilities you have in life or business. Coaching puts you in the driver’s seat. Through coaching skills and techniques such as active listening, mirroring, a range of assessment possibilities and challenging and inspiring questions you will become more aware of your core values and beliefs, your thought patterns, skills, attitudes and world view.
This leads to:
– Figuring out what you want and/or how to get there
– Being able to do or change things/create strategies
– Accepting the things you cannot do or change
And as a result:
– Being able to make difficult decisions
– A sense of confidence and control over your life/work situation
– Leading a happier/more fulfilled, productive and authentic life
What is special about business and executive coaching?
Business coaching is usually more focused on outcomes and aimed at productivity, skills and performance. It often adopts a more structured approach and typically utilizes psychometric assessments and questionnaires in order to document success. My background in psychological sciences and positive psychology enables me to work with a number of tools in order to monitor your progress. Typical goals for coaching in a business context are increased productivity and job performance, better communication skills, ability to manage stress and resolve conflicts, improved focus and engagement and getting more enjoyment from the work that you are doing. The value of coaching in a corporate setting is well documented and according to the International Coaching Federation, 86% of companies get a return on their investment and 99% are satisfied with the overall experience.
Executives such as managers and leaders tend to face more complex challenges than other employees in the organisation who carry less responsibility and whose decisions tend to have less of an impact on stakeholders. Executive coaching therefore requires an advanced set of skills and an ability to go into a psychological and emotional depth that traditional performance coaches tend to shy away from. A great leader will have worked through some of the big questions in life with regards to their sense of identity, their authentic values, their leadership style, what gives them meaning and how they can make an impact that they will be proud of for decades to come, both as a member of their organisation as well as their family or circle of friends. Positive Existential Coaching is a unique opportunity to build the strongest foundation from which to face the most difficult decisions that you will inevitably be facing during any meaningful executive role.
Does it work?
Yes. According to research by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) 99% of clients are satisfied with their experience of coaching and 96% would invest again. Research indicates significant positive effects on work performance/skills, well-being/happiness, ability to cope with various negative influences, positive work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation (aka discipline). An independent Global Coaching Client Study has furthermore demonstrated coaching to improve confidence, quality of relationships, communication skills, work-life balance as well as business management, time management and team effectiveness. The existential approach to coaching tends to produce a sense of meaning and personal control and builds up resilience (bounce-back ability).
For references and more resources please see the ICF Research portal, this 2014 meta-analysis or this grounded theory study of the client experience. I’m happy to provide more sources if you’re interested in the evidence base.
What makes your coaching unique?
Science – My extensive scientific background in psychology and especially Applied Positive Psychology ensures that I only use what has been proven successful through research. I have 3 degrees and am currently running (2015-2017 and counting) the Masters of Science in Coaching Psychology at the University of East London, UK.
Philosophy – Philosophy has a tremendous value in a day and age where the world moves too quickly for us to keep up. While fake news and sloppy science dominate the media and everybody tries to manipulate you for their own benefit, philosophical inquiry offers a level of depth that will enable you to explore what is truly important to you. Beyond what we can measure and observe, the existential approach to coaching creates a space for you to find your own answers and look into the big questions in life that underlie everything we do. I have been trained as an existential coach at Masters level over more than 30 weekends, which allowed me to build a strong framework from which I can go as deep as is necessary to you to succeed.
Phenomenology – I appreciate that every person is different and has his or her own world view and unique set of values and beliefs. We will work within your reality for you to get the most out of the coaching. Let’s face it: I will never be able to know you better than you know yourself, therefore you will always know your own best answers. While other coaches will agree with me, I have gone through intense psychological training trained (over 30 weekends) in order to become good at bracketing my own assumptions so that I can be on your page and fully support you. I may have evidence-based tools and tricks but I will never insist on you applying mine or anybody else’s solutions if you decide that they won’t work for you. If you learn to listen to yourself effectively and filter out the noise (which is what our work will be about), your own way forward will be the best.
Fun – Those who know me say that it’s almost impossible to wipe a certain underlying smile off my face. I embrace life in all its facets and even when the going gets tough there is always a place for some humor. We know that positive emotions are contagious and have a whole range of compelling positive effects. They catapult you into an upward spiral and my own enthusiasm for wellbeing and personal development is especially contagious. While there will be times when you will feel uncomfortable (a sign of progress), we will approach every challenge with a sense of optimism and positivity.
Who are you?
What experience do you have?
I completed over 1500 hours of supervised training and education in coaching theory and practice at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC), London and accumulated countless hours of practice while coaching clients in private practice, face-to-face, via telephone, through Skype (video conference) and even by email.
I have trained hundreds of coaches from a range of different approaches. Practitioners from all walks of life and all levels of experience have completed my module The Practice of Evidence-based Coaching at the University of East London, which is core to all coaching-related MSc programmes that are being taught there (including the MSc Career Coaching, MSc Integrative Counselling and Coaching and the MSc Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology). I have designed and deliver certified ICF-accredited training courses in Existential Coaching as well as Positive Psychology for Coaching (both accompanied by a short book that I wrote) and occasionally I run specialized coaching skills training (e.g. CERT Conflict Coaching) at institutions such as Animas Centre of Coaching.
I developed and run my own leadership development programme and also consult a number of coaching-related projects in the areas of sports, education and business.
I have also worked at schools facilitating wellbeing in groups and have been a vital part of the development of a 200 session-strong school curriculum spanning across secondary schools and sixth form.
I’ve been working with LifeClub, who run structured personal development workshops for organisations and the public, the German “Schulfach Gluck” and other institutions to promote a clearer way of thinking and achievement of personal and professional goals.
Besides personal development I also founded and managed two start-up companies in the areas of action sports and event services, leading small teams, steering the companies creative direction and driving the team’s enthusiasm.
Can you fix me?
Technically: No. Only you can do that. As a coach (as compared to a doctor) I do not have the power to “fix” or cure you without your active participation. I can only facilitate the process. The responsibility is shared and I’m happy to tell you more about what I can and cannot do when we first speak. Ultimately, the responsibility to change, choose, and achieve personal success remains with the client.
What can coaching do for me?
My clients tend to report some or all of the following results after coaching with me:
– A clearer way of thinking
– Better performance
– Resilience against life’s adversities
– A sense of confidence and control over your life
– Better relationships
– Career advancement
– Greater personal happiness
– Greater knowledge about life and its challenges
– A sense of direction and purpose
What is Positive Existential Coaching?
Positive Existential Coaching focuses on personal development and life coaching. It can be described as positive psychology coaching within an existential framework. That means it helps people live a happier and more fulfilled life, focusing on the positives, but not ignoring the inevitable struggles and challenges that life holds.
The “existential” stands for existential philosophy that serves as a framework for my coaching work and philosophy of life in general. Existentialism is concerned with the question of how to live and what it means to be alive in the world with other people, the core principles of the human condition. It acknowledges that life often is a challenge and that each and every one of us will experience anxiety. Life can be tough at times when we are confronted with death, meaninglessness, uncertainty, isolation, inner conflict, tyranny of choice and so many other issues. If we don’t feel anxious, we are probably lying to ourselves in an attempt to protect us form “negative” feelings. However, trying to be happy and comfortable all the time can never work for long. But we can learn to embrace, value and learn from anxiety and let it be our fuel for living a full life across the range of human emotions, a life well-lived. Through existential thought we can explore our world view and value system and come to terms with our boundaries and conflicts. It helps to build a solid foundation from which we are able to make difficult decisions. This doesn’t mean that we will necessarily go all philosophical in sessions, but it really helps to put issues into context and to get to know people as fully as possible.
How long does it take? How often do we meet?
Instead of meeting every week in a certain place at the same time (like most therapists would require you to), coaches acknowledge clients’ busy schedules and work with them. Hence, the time, place and frequency of our coaching sessions may vary. When you decide to book and with the commencement of our first session, I will be in your life until you reach your goal, we get to the end of the agreed time period or you quit. I don’t offer refunds and I tend to ask clients to commit to at least 3 month depending on what they are trying to get done. How fast you are moving is up to you. If you reach for a beer you’ll get it straight away, if you reach for the stars, we’ll start building your spaceship.
How do I know if I need a coach?
Anybody can work with a coach. However you will particularly benefit if you can answer any of the following questions with “yes”:
– Do you find yourself procrastinating about something and would like to change that?
– Do you feel stuck or dissatisfied in your job, relationship or life situation?
– Have you been recently promoted and find it hard to adjust to your new responsibilities?
– Have been overlooked for promotion repeatedly due to a lack of certain skills?
– Do you want to learn a skill or do something but don’t know how to go about it?
– Do you often feel bored or unmotivated?
– Do you feel you have little influence on where your life is going?
– Do you want to stop going with the flow/following the herd and do your own thing?
– Do you feel you lost your purpose (due to e.g. the loss of a job or loved one)?
– Do you experience an inner conflict/dilemma?
– Do you often feel misunderstood by people?
– Do you feel you lost or are about to lose your integrity?
– Do you often find yourself doing things that you don’t really want to do?