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Coaching FAQs

What is coaching?

Coaching is a growing profession. The International Coach Federation (ICF) administers the training and accreditation process for professional coaches through a number of approved training institutions and programs. ICF is the largest non-profit professional association worldwide of personal and business coaches with more than 5000 members and 179 chapters in 30 countries. The association exists to

  • Build
  • Support, and
  • Preserve the Integrity of the Coaching Profession.


  • Help people set better goals and then reach those goals.
  • Ask their clients to do more than they would have done on their own.
  • Focus their clients better to more quickly produce results.
  • Provide the tools, support and structure to accomplish more.

"My staff are more focused and producing faster
because they have a coach.
This is a commonly heard response from
Chief Executives and Managers

How is coaching different from consulting? Therapy? Sports coaching? A best friend?


Coaching is a form of consulting. But the coach stays with the client to help implement the new skills, changes and goals to make sure they really happen.


Coaching is not therapy. We don't work on "issues" or get into the past or deal much with understanding human behavior. We leave that up to the client to know and figure out while we help them move forward and set personal and professional goals that will give them the life they really want.


Coaching includes several principles from sports coaching, like teamwork, going for the goal, being your best. But unlike sports coaching, most professional coaching is not competition or win/lose based. We strengthen the client's skills vs. help them beat the other team. It's win/win.

Best friend

A best friend is wonderful to have. But is your best friend a professional who you will trust to advise you on the most important aspects of your life and/or business? Have a best friend and a coach.

What is the basic philosophy of coaching?

Simply put, that we humans are great, that we're all discovering what we really want and that we get can get what we want faster and easier by having a coach who's been there and who can help us.

Who hires a coach and why?

People hire a coach because

  • They want more.
  • They want to grow.
  • They want it easier.

It's as simple as that. Coaches help a client get all three. Quickly.

What happens when you hire a coach?

Many things, but the most important are:

  • You take yourself more seriously.
  • You take more effective and focused actions immediately.
  • You stop putting up with what is dragging you down.
  • You create momentum so it's easier to get results.
  • You set better goals that you might not have without the coach.
  • You achieve your goals with self-accountability.

Does the coach work on personal goals or business/professional goals?

Both, actually. And, with the line between personal and business life blurring in the 90s, the coach is the only professional trained to work with all aspects of you.

An Executive Coach will work with emerging and existing senior management on matters of individual performance, visioning, leadership, management skills, interpersonal skills, alignment of personal & corporate values and succession/retirement planning, among other topics.

A Corporate or Business Coach will work within your organization to assist your employees in job performance improvement, team focus and development, project goals achievement, understanding of strategic goals, implementation of strategies, going through change management processes, management development, interpersonal skills and career issues.

Many Executive Coaches are also Corporate and Business coaches, with extensive industry experience.

Where does the coach focus with an average client?

We focus where the client needs us most. And, we tend to weave in the following discussions:

· Getting the client's Personal Foundation strengthened.

· Helping the client beef up their Reserve.

· Helping the client set goals based on their Personal Values.

By including these discussions with what the client wants from us, we help the client have fewer problems and to focus on what's going to make them the most successful. We've found that clients really enjoy the approach.

Why does coaching work?

Coaching works for several reasons:

  • Synergy between the coach and client creates momentum.
  • Better goals are set -- ones that naturally pull the client toward the goal rather than goals that require the client to push themselves to the goal.
  • The client develops new skills, and these skills translate into more success.

Why is coaching becoming so popular?

Coaching is becoming popular for several reasons:

  • Many people are tired of doing what they "should" do and are ready to do something special and meaningful for the rest of their lives. Problem is, many can't see it, or if they can, they can't see a way to reorient their life around it. A coach can help them do both.
  • People are realizing how simple it can be to accomplish something that several years ago might have felt out of reach or like a pipedream. A coach is not a miracle worker (well, they are, sometimes) but a coach does have a large tool kit to help the Big Idea become a Reality. Fortunately, people now have time and resources to invest in themselves in this kind of growth.
  • Spirituality (Our working definition of spirituality? How connected you are with yourself and others.") The coach helps the clients to tune in better to themselves and others.

Please, give me some context about coaching...

A coach does just what an athletic coach or music teacher does, only in a more complete and bigger way. A coach challenges you and takes the time to find out what winning in life means to you. A coach is your partner in living the life you know you can accomplish, personally and professionally. A coach is someone to hold you accountable for your life, to make sure you really do live up to your potential.

No matter where you are in life, there is always a desire for more. More success, more money, closer relationships, a deeper feeling of meaning in life, etc. It is the nature of people to want to attain more, become more, be more, and we all struggle with how to get what we're looking for.

Most people believe that "hard work and doing it on your own" are the keys to finding the life, success, money, or happiness that they seek. They believe that a price must be paid to attain what they want, and often that price is poor health, not having enough time to enjoy life, strained family relationships or lessened productivity. The saddest part is that, even though this effort may result in more of something, it is often not the something you had in mind, and you are back where you started, or worse, further from your real intentions.

Athletes and performers know about this trap. They know they need someone else, a trained someone else to help them set goals, discover real needs, and work effectively toward ultimate goals of excellence. So, they are willing to hire a coach or a teacher. No serious athlete or musician would expect to progress very far without one.

What about people who are already doing great in their lives. Why would they need a coach?

They might not need a coach. But it is helpful to find out: Are they doing what they most enjoy? Are they tolerating anything? Is life easy? Are they going to be financially independent within the next 15 years? Do they have what they most want? We've discovered that, often, people need to expect more out of their lives. A coach can help in this process.

Can a dependency be created between coach and client?

Not really. The client may "need" the coach in order to maximize an opportunity or accelerate their growth, yet not be "dependent" on the coach. Anyone who's up to something "needs" structure, advice, support and a place to brag, so in that sense, the coach is necessary. But an emotional, psychological dependency is not created. The coach works with people who are just fine and strong enough on their own. Remember, we're not resolving issues here. The coach is helping the client to create a better future: More success, more money, and a higher quality of life.

Can coaching hurt someone?

No. How? We aren't doing psychological work. We're not trying to control the client's thinking. We're not cattle prods; we're partners.

Can I hire a coach just for a short-term, special project?

Yes. Some clients hire a coach to help them accomplish specific goals or projects. Usually, however, the client keeps working with the coach after that because there are even more interesting things to accomplish.

How long must I commit if I start working with a coach?

Most coaches ask for a six- to twelve-month commitment but usually let you stop immediately if coaching is not working for you right now. Check the policies of your coach for specifics.

For the corporate client, however, a signed agreement is simply good business.

What does it cost to hire a coach?

Most coaches working with individuals charge about $250 to $600 per month for one half-hour call per week. Executive coaches charge more and some clients work with a coach for an hour or two per week or per month. Obviously, corporate coaching programs cost more, often running $1,000 to $10,000, or more, per month.

*compiled with contributions from The International Coach Federation (ICF), 2002


Contact Dark Horse Strategies for a complimentary coaching session to learn how our Coaching programs can benefit you and your organization. You’ll be amazed at the results!


"Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away." Unknown














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