Q. I know I need some form of help but I’m unsure whether I need coaching or counselling/therapy. Can you explain the difference?
A. Although there is some overlap between these disciplines, there are some key differences to be aware of which will help you to select the appropriate one for you. Being mindful of what outcomes you are hoping for is also helpful.
Counselling is a form of talking therapy used to address current or past issues or stressful events with a view to processing them. It could be broadly defined as coping-focused with attention given to helping clients process their feelings.
Psychotherapy is a talking therapy which aims to treat and manage mental health issues and emotional disturbances with the aim of increasing people’s wellbeing and healing. It involves a wide range of techniques, approaches and strategies.
Life coaching, by contrast, is action-focused. It is a structured learning conversation which brings about much needed positive change and involves clients agreeing to action steps between their sessions to move them forward. It works from the present to future, helping clients to identify personally meaningful goals to work towards. It can be very helpful if clients feel stuck or lost in life as it can give them the space to explore why.
Coaching is non-directive (coaches do not necessarily give guidance or advice) but rather give you the space to reflect on your life, what is important to you, what makes you happy, what’s not working, and from there, a strategy for change is formulated. Often the biggest shifts in coaching occur on the cognitive or even subconscious level therefore Sarah uses a cognitive-behavioural approach in sessions.
Q. I’m excited to start coaching but I’m wondering how many sessions will I need?
A. It’s difficult to give a definite answer to this question as it depends upon many factors such as the nature of the goal, a client’s level of progress, the commitment to action steps, whether the goal evolves into something else etc. Many clients make significant progress within 4-12 sessions. We regularly check in on progress to determine whether you are satisfied with it. Personal development work can take longer than other goals with some clients going beyond 6 months but this is a personal choice of the client and often arises as a result of discussion between coach and client. Ultimately, the client determines what outcomes they are happy with and when they feel they have reached their goal. Sarah does not like to work with clients for longer than a one year period at a time and is committed to helping clients achieve their goals within as short a time frame as possible.
Q. I’m trying to decide between 1:1 coaching and one of your group coaching programs. Any advice?
A. There are benefits associated with each. If you have a very specific context which you feel would require a more private, tailored approach, then 1:1 coaching would be best. Coaching programs were developed in response to common goals and needs among clients eg. building assertiveness and addressing people-pleasing behaviours. Programs follow a structure and curriculum and allow participants to interact with each other and trial specific and targeted interventions and exercises. One of the benefits of the group programs is a sense of community, sharing and feeling supported within a group. Programs are particularly helpful if you have a specific goal in mind that you want to work on which chimes with the topic of the program eg self-care, developing self-esteem etc.
Q. I am interested in the group coaching programs but I’m wondering if I have to do all of them. What do you suggest?
A. It really is up to you. While there are huge benefits to completing all of the programs, it depends upon what you feel you need to work on the most. Although they were created to address a commonality of needs among women (many women who need to work on self-care also need to work on assertiveness, self-worth, self-compassion etc.), you are under no obligation to complete them all. Within each program, you will get an hour of 1:1 coaching time with Sarah so if you’re still unsure, this can be discussed during that time if you wish.
Q. I really need to begin coaching but I’m scared to start! Is this normal?
A. It is completely normal and understandable that you would be feeling nervous or afraid before starting your coaching sessions. Growth and change can be daunting, however, they are so worth it. Push through your discomfort! Sarah is highly empathetic and will do her best to ensure that you feel comfortable, safe and not judged in any way. Often, clients feel a lot less anxiety after the first session.
Q. I think I want to do coaching but what if I am inconsistent with my action steps?
A. Firstly, action steps are agreed by the client so they themselves are empowered to take charge of the pace of change. It is true that coaching does require hard work, a level of commitment and clients themselves are ultimately responsible for making change happen. Sarah works with people who are ready for change and who are consistent with the action they take as a result of sessions. In your welcome pack there will be a questionnaire for you to fill out to determine your readiness to change. From time to time clients may be unable to complete action steps for various reasons which can be explored within sessions. If it transpires however that action steps are continually missed, and, as a result the expected progress is not being made, it may be necessary to review the agreement.
Q. I’ve bought a monthly coaching bundle but what if I change my mind about doing coaching after a few sessions?
A. Once a coaching bundle has been started (session 1 completed at least) then refunds cannot be given.
Q. I would like to purchase a voucher for coaching as a gift. Is this possible?
A. Coaching vouchers make an incredible gift; the gift of positive change. Vouchers are available to purchase from the website on the Gift Voucher Page.