The Next Step

We don’t’ see the world the way it is, we see it the way we are.
--The Talmud




Introduction to the Coaching Relationship

Commitment & Resistance

You are hiring me as your coach because you want to make significant changes in your life. These changes might happen fast, but they might not. Typically there are spurts and plateaus. Because change happens over time, I ask for a three-month commitment. This allows the coaching relationship to develop and become more empowering. When the going gets tough, we stay in collaboration and let the potential ripen. I am 100% committed to you achieving the changes you want, but the commitment needs to be bilateral. It is almost certain that some resistance will arise in you; change and growth can be frightening and demanding. First, we both agree to acknowledge and discuss any resistance openly. If during any part of the coaching process either one of us wishes to change this agreement, my request is that we allow some time for an appropriate closure.

The Discovery Session

If we decide to work together, we will schedule ninety minutes to two hours for your initial discovery session. This is where I get to know you, find out what brought you to coaching and explore your core values. We also design our working relationship and discuss how you want to be coached. This is also where we articulate your initial agenda and set your goals. It’s possible to spread the discovery session over two hour-long sessions if you prefer.

Preparation & Policies

I have created some preparatory questions to get your mind focused on your hopes and working toward your goals. Please email your responses at least one day prior to our discovery session, but don’t let this add to your stress. We might take time in the discovery session to explore some of the questions more deeply. Also in this packet is a client information sheet, a policy letter, coaching agreement and payment preference. It’s best to take care of the bookkeeping and payments ahead of time by email or phone. We can also do this at the beginning of our discovery session.

Follow-up Sessions & Procedures

It’s best if we pick a regular time slot each week for our weekly sessions which are approximately 45 minutes in length. Of course we can be flexible; life is chaotic. But we should aim for the same time each week. We can work around vacations and trips by phone or by making up the time before or after your trip. I might also take time off for retreats and to recharge my batteries; it is part of my commitment to you that I come to our sessions with a fresh, available mind and heart. I plan these breaks in advance so that our session schedule accommodates them. If you need to reschedule a follow-up session, it is best reschedule by email if possible, and if not secondarily by phone. We will begin and end sessions on time. If we are coaching by phone, I will be awaiting your call at our scheduled time.

Schedule Changes & Cancellations

I wish time weren’t so delineated in our lives, but it is. I will start and end sessions on time, guaranteed. I will already be thinking about you, so I will be prepared. If you’re early or you get a busy signal, please call back in a minute and/or send me an email. If you need to reschedule, I would appreciate 24 hours notice; I will do the same if I need to reschedule with you. IF YOU CANCEL AN APPOINTMENT WITH LESS THAN 8 HOUR NOTICE BY EMAIL OR PHONE, IT WILL CONSIDER IT A PAID APPOINTMENT.

Between Sessions: Homework, Actions, Goals & Emails

As a part of our coaching, you will sometimes email me a follow-up for homework. Homework, goals and action steps are a part of the magic of changing limiting habits and thought patterns. Between sessions is where your work manifests. If you have an epiphany, or if a burning issue arises that cannot be dealt with by an email exchange, we can arrange a brief call or schedule another appointment. If I feel we need to address the issue beyond our designated scheduled time, I’ll say so. I am your coach, and in some way you will be constantly with me. But like everyone, I also value solitude and time with my family. Establishing clear boundaries—for both of us— is an essential part of successful coaching.

Missing the Mark or Problems

Sooner or later we will encounter some entrenched limiting views and habits. You are not hiring me to baby you or let you wallow in repeating cycles. We will discuss how you want me to question, interrupt, blurt, challenge and hold you accountable. I may take a risk during a challenge or use phrases or words that may seem counterproductive. I trust your commitment; I ask you to trust my intention of creating only the best outcomes for you. However, if I do hurt you in some way and I need to improve my approach, I also trust that you will forgive me and allow me the opportunity.


Our relationship is strictly confidential. I will not discuss our coaching with anyone. My notes are also confidential, and I will never share them. My notes are always hand-written, and I do not make copies; I will shred them upon your request. I cannot guarantee the privacy of email communication, as no electronic communication is ever completely secure. However, I have never experienced any security violation using email. We can also arrange our sessions so that no interaction with any other client occurs by happenstance.


Comparison Chart

Differences Between Psychotherapy and Coaching

Views both parties as neutrally, creative, resourceful, and whole. Does not diagnose or treat. More apt to view clients from a medical model. Diagnoses and treats.
Trained to work with functioning clients illness. Trained to work with major mental.
Works with clients that are able to form an alliance and have common goals. Works with clients with entrenched problems.
Co-Active model. Therapist the “expert”
Coach and client on a peer basis. Hierarchical difference between therapist and client.
Alliance designed by coach and client together. Treatment plan largely designed by therapist.
Focus on evolving and manifesting potential. Focus on healing and understanding.
Emphasis on present and future. Emphasis on past and present.
Action and being oriented. Insight orientated.
Solution oriented. Problem orientated.
Explore actions and behaviors that manifest high self-esteem. Explore genesis of behaviors that create low self-esteem.
Regard and coach negative behaviors as saboteurs (temporary obstacles). Analyze and treat origins and historical roots of a negative self-behavior.
Coach and client ask, “What’s next/What now?” Therapist and client ask: “Why and from where?”
Works mainly with external issues. Works mainly with internal issues.
Discourages transference as inappropriate. Encourages transference as a therapy
Accountability and “homework” between sessions held as important. Accountability less commonly expected.
Contact between sessions for accountability and “wins” expected. Contract between sessions for crisis and difficulties only.
Uses coaching skills. Uses therapy techniques.

It should be acknowledged that the difference between some types of therapy and personal coaching aren’t always clear-cut. Many therapists are “coach-like” in their orientation and the two do share some common ground.

Both disciplines can be working with fully functioning individuals/couples who are facing difficult situations. Both professions focus on helping people make changes and accomplish goals that really matter to them. Let us examine some of the similarities.

Similarities Between Psychotherapy and Coaching

Uses a “Discovery Session” Uses a Diagnostic Interview / History
Uses many skills similar to therapy Uses many techniques similar to coaching Skills
Works with the client’s whole life Works with the client’s whole life
May work with emotional material Often works with emotion material