Coaching FAQ's

How do I start with a coach?

Most coaches begin with a special client meeting or call to get to know each other – also known as a consultation or strategy session. The coach wants to hear about the client’s goals, needs, and challenges. Once the coaching relationship begins, the client wants to get comfortable with the coach. During the initial meetings/calls, a game plan is created to reach these goals.

Who is a candidate for coaching?

Coaching is for people who are ready for change — whether a change in effectiveness, a change in their quality of life, or a change in direction for their organization. Coaching is for men and women who are outcome-oriented and who are ready to accept full responsibility for affecting the outcomes they desire. I specialize in coaching successful professionals, top-level executives, managers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and attorneys.

How do I determine that a coach is right for me?

Perhaps the most important quality in your potential coach is that he or she is someone you feel absolutely comfortable with. You are going to be in candid and confidential conversations with your coach so you need someone with whom you feel at ease.
You also need someone who understands the subtleties of human and organizational behavior. Someone who will “hold your feet to the fire” when you need to stay on track and is not afraid to be honest and frank with you, even when you resist such candor.
And you especially need someone who asks insightful and provocative questions. Your coach should be stretching you in almost every session. While it’s important to be at ease with a coach, you don’t want a coach who allows you to stay in your comfort zone since the purpose for having a coach is to grow.

Why does coaching work?

Coaching works because of three aspects that make it a successful process:

Structure: With a coach, the client takes more actions, thinks bigger and gets the job done, thanks to the accountability the coach provides.

Synergy: Client and coach become a team, focusing on the client’s goals and needs and accomplishing more than the client would alone.

Expertise: The coach knows how to help business people make better decisions, set the best goals, develop new skills for communicating and restructure their professional and personal lives for maximum productivity.

What are some general outcomes I can expect from coaching?

Although results vary depending on the agenda of individual clients, general outcome include:

  • Greater self-awareness and clarity of purpose
  • Reduction in emotional blocks and self-sabotaging behavior
  • Improved inter-personal communication skills
  • Better time and task management, and organizational skills
  • More results-oriented planning and decision making
  • Increased income
  • Enhanced motivation and productivity
  • More balance between personal and professional endeavors
  • Improved relationships with direct reports, supervisors, peers, and clients
  • Greater overall fulfillment
What are some personal outcomes I can expect from coaching?
  • You take yourself and what you want more seriously.
  • You take more effective and focused actions immediately.
  • You stop putting up with stuff that gets in your way.
  • You create momentum to achieve more, be more balanced and develop more powerful management skills.
  • You set personal goals that are clear and meet your needs.
  • You identify and eliminate the barriers that get in the way of the achievement of goals.
  • You communicate about what you need and want from others in a more responsible way.
What is coaching?

Although coaching is being identified as a new technology in professional development, the first research papers on business coaching can be traced to improvement in performance of sales teams in the 1930s.

Business coaching is a hybrid profession informed by related disciplines including coaching, psychology, organizational development, management science and consulting, human resource management, ethics, applied theology, adult learning and training and development. It is an action oriented and forward moving process.

Coaching is for passionate people who want more from their personal and professional lives. A coach helps them set larger, more rewarding goals, develop a strategy to achieve them, and provide support throughout the process. It’s not unlike having a personal trainer or an athletic coach… transformational, but in a business and personal sense. The achievement of goals is something that comes more quickly as a result of the coaching partnership.

What is business coaching?

Business coaching is an intervention designed to help business owners who are stuck, unfulfilled, or are in a crisis in their professional life, or who simply want to take their business to the next level of success. It is also effective in evaluating and trouble shooting business challenges in a business that is underperforming or where the environment feels chaotic and reactionary.

This is accomplished through a collaborative process of assessment, decision-making, goal setting and goal achievement. In each session, the client chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This interaction creates clarity and moves the client toward action. Coaching accelerates the client’s progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where the client is now and what s/he will need to do to get where s/he wants to be in the future.

Coaching is a one-on-one working relationship — it is a partnership based on trust, candor, and accountability — that empowers people to utilize their natural internal resources, skills, strengths, and relationships. Coaching improves their bottom line effectiveness and produces more productive action and interactions.
The benefits that your company as a whole will experience:

  • Reduced customer complaints resulting in happier customers
  • More effective teamwork
  • Improved work productivity
  • Higher conflict resolution
  • Quality enhancement in the work environment
What is executive coaching?

Executive coaching is a specialized form of coaching and one of the fastest growing personnel services today. Executive coaches zero in on the special needs of top-level managers and other professionals, including those in a leadership position. These needs include such issues as:

  • Adapting to changes in your job profile, your industry, or your company
  • Mastering the skills required for high level management
  • Creating a more effective top-management team
  • Building a career without sacrificing what is important, such as family
  • Staying focused on critical issues and priorities
  • Balancing the countless demands that compete for your energy
  • Maintaining personal growth and fresh perspectives
  • Developing a life-plan that leads up to retirement

A coach also serves as a confidant and “sounding board” outside of the organization. A coach’s listening ear provides a safe way for executives and entrepreneurs to voice their frustrations, explore their options, and talk though new courses of action.

How can a Manager or Executive benefit from coaching?

Coaching creates an environment where there is freedom from judgment and freedom from expectations that is typical of corporate mandates. It is a neutral environment where it is safe to question, to appear vulnerable, to observe, to explore, experiment, to learn and change. The executive can then use the coach:

  • To reach high targets and quotas which requires a manager to work with their team to reach extraordinary goals.
  • For training, developing and managing staff.
  • For personal and professional goal-setting.
  • To effectively integrate business and personal life for balance.
  • To prioritize actions and projects.
  • To turn around a difficult situation.
  • To handle business or personal challenges.
How long does the coaching relationship last?

Coaching is tailored to address each person’s or company’s needs. A successful coaching process is usually for a period of six months or more.

The goal of coaching is to move forward expeditiously and an effective coach will support you to consistently optimize your performance. Once people experience that effectiveness, they often make an extended commitment to coaching.

How much does coaching cost?

Fees for coaching are variable based on a variety of factors, including:

  • The frequency of your coaching.
  • The length of your coaching sessions.
  • Whether sessions are in person, by phone or Skype.
  • Whether the coaching is part of a larger coaching contract.
  • Whether it is group coaching to include several people during a single visit to a location.

In general, coaching for mid-level to high-level executives may be comparable to the investment you make for legal counsel. Many coaches charge an hourly fee or propose larger coaching packages and programs.

The consultation process will result in an agreed upon fee for the term of the coaching engagement. Payment plans may be available. This way you know the total cost of your coaching up front, before we begin.

Contact Alanna Levenson for the current coaching options and fee structure.

How are coaching fees paid?

Fees can be paid either by the individual or by his/her company. Payment is received in advance for each month’s coaching when fees are charged by the hour. Your payment entitles you to contact me between sessions (by email or phone) for help with specific issues. There is no extra charge for this service.

Alanna’s coaching strategies, processes and approach

Do I need to be in the Los Angeles area to be coached by you?

No you don’t need to be in Los Angeles, in fact about 50% of my clients reside some place else. I offer business coaching services in person to those who request it and are local to LA, otherwise sessions are conducted by telephone or Skype, so you can be located anywhere in the world.

I establish a very close rapport with all of my clients, even if we never meet face-to-face. The benefits of telephone or Skype coaching is that it saves time and money… and it works.

Successful coaching is usually at least twice a month and often weekly for 30 minute – one hour sessions.

Should you want more intensive coaching, two and three hour sessions can be arranged. Half-day or full-day ” shadowings” can also be provided in which I am with you as an observer in all your interactions. This allows me to make job-specific recommendations on ways to improve your communication, management, and work habits.

What is your process and how does a client get started?

In the beginning I establish expectations, roles, and commitments with my clients. We define what our coaching relationship will look like, such as how many sessions we will do per month.

I gather information on my clients’ personal and professional history, assessment of their own level of satisfaction in various areas of their lives, short and long-term personal and professional goals. This data-gathering helps me begin to discover, clarify, and align myself with what my clients want to achieve.

I then implement on going telephone, Skype or in-person coaching sessions. Cumulatively, coaching sessions are designed to help clients set a realistic professional and/or business development vision. Part of my job is to inspire them to believe that it is attainable, set very specific goals to actualize the vision, and hold them accountable for achieving each goal.

My individual sessions are designed for clients to report on their progress from the previous session, including an assessment of their effort and the outcome of that effort. My clients then set the agenda and tone for the remainder of the session. The session concludes with an agreement on specific assignments for the next session. My clients are free to contact me by telephone or e-mail between sessions.

Upon completion of our work together I assist clients to transition into a long-term action plan translating into self-accountability.

What strategies do you use during a typical business coaching session?
  • I ask provocative questions
  • I communicate in a very direct manner, providing feedback, requests and challenges
  • I encourage my clients to stretch beyond their comfort zone
  • I create and maintain an environment that is safe for my client to take risks
  • I help my clients to learn, practice, and sustain new habits
  • I assist my clients in expanding their capacity for creative thinking and action taking
  • I keep all discussions with my client strictly confidential
  • I refer my clients to other qualified professionals, as necessary and appropriate
What forms of payment do you accept for coaching?

I invoice clients for the agreed upon number of sessions by email prior to each month of coaching. Fees are payable by check or credit card and are paid in advance. If you choose to pay by credit card and you are engaging in a monthly program, you will be set up on an auto payment plan. You can discontinue at any time with a 30 days advance notice.

How do I know you would be a good coach for me?

I offer a complimentary 30-minute telephone consultation and coaching strategy session so that we can get to know each other, and provide you the opportunity to ask questions and assess the chemistry between us.

If I am paying for an employee or a loved one to be coached, am I entitled to receive progress reports?

Although I recognize this can be difficult to appreciate at times, you are not hiring me to be your coach, but rather your employee’s (or loved one’s) coach. The cornerstone of an effective coaching relationship is trust. Therefore, it is critical that the confidentiality of our conversations be totally protected. I would not be serving you or your good will intention by sharing information with you without the expressed permission of my client. The only exception to this rule is if my client expresses an intention to endanger him/herself or others.

At the outset of the coaching process, we will establish very clear guidelines about when you will be updated on the client’s progress and what will be shared. The typical type of information that will be shared are goals, actions, and progress, as well as ways in which you can further his/her ongoing development. You should also keep in mind that coaching is very action-oriented, so you will likely see behavioral and attitudinal changes as the coaching process progresses.

If my employer or parent is paying for you to coach me, do you have to report into them?

Although your employer/loved one has chosen to support you in your development through the use of a coach, you are my client. At the outset of the coaching process, we will establish very clear guidelines about when your employer/sponsor will be updated on your progress and what will be shared.

You and I will always confer before any information is shared with any third party. The typical type of information that will be shared are goals, actions, and progress, as well as ways in which your employer/sponsor can support your professional development.

If you ask my professional peers and subordinates for their feedback about me, how do you know if they will be honest?

Your peers and subordinates are assured that nothing that they share will be attributed to them. Otherwise they probably would not be as forthcoming with their feedback. Their views and comments are reported back to you in summary fashion.

How will I know the information I am sharing will remain confidential?

The cornerstone of an effective coaching relationship is trust. It is critical that the confidentiality of our conversations be totally protected. You can absolutely count on that. If there is information that needs to be shared, you and I will discuss what is appropriate and how it is to be shared.

Are there any exceptions to the confidentiality rule?

Yes. I am required to take reasonable steps to notify the appropriate authorities in the event a client discloses an intention to endanger him/herself or others.

How will I know if I am making progress from coaching?

At the end of each weekly session, you will leave with very specific action-oriented assignments or an action plan for the week. At the beginning of the next session, the first order of business will be to review and assess your progress on the action plan from the previous week. I record all weekly action plans and progress assessments so they can be cumulatively reviewed when necessary to assess progress over a longer period of time.

What if I need help or support in an area where a specific expertise is required?

As a coach, I can only provide expertise that I have. If I see that there is support that you need that I am not equipped to provide, I will let you know and, whenever possible, refer you to the appropriate service provider.

I do a lot of business networking and as a result, I have established close working relationships with highly qualified professionals from a wide array of fields, including, but not limited to: accounting, bookkeeping, acupuncture, banking, branding and marketing, legal counsel (in the areas of business law, estate planning, real estate, intellectual property, immigration, and family law), chiropractic care, commercial and residential real estate, dentistry, graphic design, general contracting/architect, insurance (health, auto, life, business, etc.), interior design, image consulting, massage therapy, mortgage brokering, nutritional consulting, personal training, pet care, printing, psychotherapy, website development, and video production.

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