Common questions about Coaching

What is “Coaching”?

The Institute for Life Coach Training defines coaching like this:

“Coaching entails working with people who already have a measure of “success” in their lives, but who want to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be in their profession and their personal life. This is much like a trainer who helps an athlete win the “gold medal” – not just be in the race.”

Life coaching is all about helping you identify the things that you want to achieve and then supporting and guiding you in the journey to accomplishing these things. Coaching focuses on bringing out the resources and strengths that are already within you, which is why it’s so powerful! A professional coach is skilled in the methods and practice of helping people design their own framework of living – one that challenges them and sets them on a path towards realistic goals. It’s important to understand that a good coach is a teacher, and a key part of the process is understanding the balance between when to challenge you to become stronger in an area of weakness, and when to encourage you to push for a goal. The true value of the coaching experience is learning how to apply coaching principles to yourself, so you become skilled in achieving your goals on your own!

Isn’t Life Coaching just a fad?

Popular culture has a way of pointing out “here today, gone tomorrow” fads, it’s true. It’s also easy to perceive coaching, on the surface, as simply more motivational self-talk. However, the truth is that the discipline of life coaching is time-tested, proven approach to helping empower people with the drive and skills they need to live more fulfilling lives. You don’t have to take our word for it, though:

“Once used to bolster troubled staffers, coaching now is part of the standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, J.P. Morgan, Chase, and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted adviser to help reach their goals.”

Coaching isn’t just a secret weapon for major corporations. People everywhere, from a wide variety of social and economic backgrounds are discovering the invaluable skill that is life coaching. True life coaching doesn’t make too-good-to-be-true claims for instant success, because that’s not how it works. Anyone can be coached, but it takes work, discipline, and a skilled practitioner to help you understand how to apply coaching to your life.

How is coaching different from therapy?

Traditionally, therapy is focused on addressing specific psychological needs, often a result of a physical or mental illness stemming from a past event. While these issues may be identified as part of the coaching process, the coaching is designed to focus on the future, and what you want to achieve. So, while coaching can be a very therapeutic experience for some, life coaches are not required to be trained psychologists.

What happens in a coaching session?

Coaching is always a personalized experience, so no two coaching sessions are exactly the same. In our introductory session, we’ll focus on exploring the goals you have, and what brought you to coaching. In later sessions, our discussion will focus on both practical steps, as well as reflection on recent experiences. We’ll use various tools and exercises along the way, and assignments will be an important way for us to measure progress.

How long does it take?

Because coaching is tailored to a specific person, and the goals that person has in mind, there’s no pre-defined period of time for coaching. Sometimes incredible progress is made in mere minutes, but for most it’s common for the coaching relationship to span several sessions over a period of weeks or months.

Is it expensive?

Like the coaching experience itself, the investment in your coaching experience is tailored to your coaching need. Your initial consultation can be at no cost upon request.  I do offer a sliding fee scale and we can discuss coaching options that will fit your budget.  I want to help make coaching possible for you, and encourage you to discuss your coaching investment with me.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel your appointment, please contact me at least 24 hours in advance of your session. Sessions canceled with less than 24 hours notice will not be refunded.

Is life coaching confidential?

The life coaching process is confidential and everything that you share, as well as any of your personal information, is always held in the strictest of confidence. Additionally anything you transmit over my website is highly secure, and stored data is HIPAA-compliant. However, our discussions are not legally “privileged”, as discussions with your lawyer, therapist, or clergy-member might be. Aside from that legal distinction, I treat all of our client data and discussion as strictly private.

Common questions about Counseling

How do I know if I really need therapy?

It’s a little different for everyone. Some signs that you might need some help from a professional are when the way you feel begins to negatively impact your sleep, your job, appetite, relationships with friends and loved ones, or your decision-making abilities. If you find that you feel “blue” a lot, or that things just aren’t getting better or even that things seem hopeless – these are also pretty strong indicators that it’s time to seek out a trained professional to help.

Why shouldn’t I try to just work through this on my own.

It’s easy to put off seeking out help for something that’s negatively impacting the way we feel. In fact, the decision to get help can actually be extremely difficult for many people. Often times we dismiss feelings of anxiety, emotional pain, relationship stress, or depression as “just life” – even to the point of encountering real difficulty in normal day-to-day functioning. Deciding to take responsibility for your mental well-being is an empowering first step. It takes courage, but it puts you back in control of your feelings and behavior. Even this small action step of reaching out can have a surprisingly positive effect on your outlook!

What does professional therapy provide?

Professional counseling gives you an opportunity to share, but also to gain new understanding and perspective. Life can be hard at times, and difficult circumstances are sometimes beyond our control, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Therapy helps you set achievable goals, and begin to make lasting changes to help you reach them. Through getting to the root of the issues and learning techniques for changing your unhealthy behaviors, you’re equipped to both regain control and practice healthy patterns for long-lasting improvement.

What happens in a therapy session?

Since the needs and goals of every client are different, therapy sessions vary in format and approach. Sometimes clients come with an agenda or specific things they’d like to talk about. Other times, people have a success story, an emotion that’s bothering them, or just a vague feeling or thought they can’t shake. Sessions progress based on the needs of the client at the time, but active participation and collaboration is important. In addition to in-session discussion and activities, we might encourage an outside activity or assignment that we discuss later (like reading a book, or keeping a journal). Ultimately, the goal is to identify the areas where change or help is needed, set realistic objectives, and to equip you with resources and strategies for both near-term and long-term success.

Do I have to share things I don’t want to?

Certain topics or stories can be difficult to share, and that’s normal and OK. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to, or that makes you uncomfortable. It’s important to build a trusting relationship between therapist and client, but our sessions always progress at a pace that you feel ready for.

How long does it take?

Because therapy is tailored to a specific person, and the goals and challenges that person is facing, there’s no pre-defined period of time for on-going therapy sessions. Sometimes incredible progress is made quickly, but it’s not uncommon for therapy to span several sessions over a period of weeks or months. Individual sessions are generally about 60 minutes in length.

Is this covered by my insurance?

I do not accept insurance payment for my services.  However we can discuss the possibility of me providing a "super bill" for you that you can submit to your insurance provider.  Coverage varies greatly, but my services may be covered in part or in full by your insurance provider. Please note that I will be considered an "out-of-network" provider.  Contact your HMO or health insurance plan to learn more about what your plan covers. Below are some questions that are helpful to ask:

  • Do my insurance benefits include mental health services?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • Will I be required to pay a copay?
  • Is there a limit to the number of sessions per year my plan covers?
  • What is my deductible?
  • Do I need to get approval from my primary care physician?

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel your appointment, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance of your session. Sessions canceled with less than 24 hours notice will not be refunded.

Are therapy sessions confidential?

Yes. Your privacy is important to me, and you can trust that our sessions, as well as any of your personal information, is always held in the strictest of confidence. Additionally, anything you transmit over my website is highly secure, and stored data is HIPAA-compliant.

Confidential information disclosed in private therapy sessions is legally protected. However, there are some exceptions to this, including instances of suspected child or elder abuse, or when a client presents a serious danger of violence toward himself or herself or another person. If you’d like to learn more about our ethical standards and privileged communication exceptions please let me know and I can provide additional information.