Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who needs Leadership Coaching or Team Coaching?
  2. Who do you usually coach?
  3. What’s the difference between Life Coaching and Executive Coaching?
  4. What is Systemic Team Coaching?
  5. How is Systemic Team Coaching different from other forms of team development / facilitation?
  6. What sort of things will we cover in a session?
  7. How long does a coaching session last?
  8. How many sessions will I need?
  9. Can we do it over the phone?
  10. Where do sessions normally take place?
  11. Are sessions confidential, or will my Line Manager/HR be involved?
  12. What do people mean by a ‘chemistry session’?
  13. Can I talk to people you’ve already coached?

Who needs Leadership Coaching or Team Coaching?

Leadership Development coaching is beneficial for anyone who wants to learn, grow and create the future that they want. With team coaching, the approach is similar and is an invaluable process for teams who want to co-create the ideal environment that supports collaboration and ultimately, encourages high performance. Team Coaching is particularly beneficial for teams going through change or teams who want to create stronger relationships. [back to top]

Who do you usually coach?

We predominantly work with professionals and teams who are committed to creating a balance between positivity and productivity. We particularly like to work with clients who are genuinely curious about themselves, committed to their own development and actively want coaching. It is important that they are prepared to courageously look closely at themselves including their blind spots, prejudices, limiting assumptions/beliefs; and to explore the impact these have on themselves and others. [back to top]

What’s the difference between Life Coaching and Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching takes place within the context of the individual or team’s employing organisation, and it is usually the organisation that funds the work. For executive coaching clients, this means that a) there are typically two coaching ‘agendas’, the needs of the organisation, and the needs of the individual, which the coaching needs to take account of and to reconcile in a way that is acceptable to both parties; b) whilst most executive coaches work ‘holistically i.e. with the whole person not just the ’employee’, generally the work needs to be grounded in how the individual ‘shows up’ in the workplace, and how they can increase their fulfillment/competence in that arena.

By contrast, life coaching is self-funded, so does not have the organisational agenda to take into account. This means that the work can often be wider ranging (e.g. exploring the person’s higher purpose in life, their private and personal satisfactions etc). Whilst executive coaching may look at these areas too, the focus always comes back to the individual, their impact and how to support them in adding more value to the organisation. [back to top]

What is Systemic Team Coaching?

Team coaching is relatively new in the United Kingdom but according to the Ridler Report (which analyses trends in the use of executive coaching) published in October 2013, “between 45 percent and 56 percent of organisations expect to increase their use of team coaching over the next three years.

At OBJ Coaching, we adopt the systemic coaching approach in our work with teams and groups with a common identity. “Systemic Team Coaching is a process by which a team coach works with a whole team, both when they are together and when they are apart, in order to help them both improve their collective performance and how they work together, and also how they develop their collective leadership to more effectively engage with all their key stakeholder groups to jointly transform the wider business.”(Hawkins, 2011) [back to top]

How is Systemic Team Coaching different from other forms of team development / facilitation?

There are different approaches to team coaching. As Organisational and Relationship Systems Coaches, we explore the needs of the team as its own entity, with its own voice, spoken and unspoken rules, expectations and values rather than focusing on the needs of its individual member. In other words, the team itself is considered the client and our focus is on helping to create a culture of continuous improvement and positive attitude, with a deep rooted focus on relationships.

In team facilitation / team building, the consultant would typically agree the agenda and outcome with the facilitator. In systemic coaching, we promote deep democracy believing that every voice has wisdom and creativity for the team. We build relationships that support effective collaboration and build solid connections, leading to alignment. Prior to the start of a coaching programme, we briefly interview all participants and together co-create the agenda for the engagement, with an agreement to remain fluid and work with whatever shows up in the sessions, whilst all the time holding the client’s agenda. [back to top]

What sort of things will we cover in a coaching session?

We spend much of the first coaching session finding out what is most important to the clients. For team coaching clients, we usually request a brief interview with each participant of the coaching programme prior to the first session. This provides an opportunity for every participant to contribute to creating the agenda for the coaching.

The actual coaching sessions might cover a whole host of topics from the high-level strategic, to the deeper or more specific. Examples might include: helping the individual/ team work through key strategic business issues; ‘shadowing’ the individual or team as they go about their daily work (or observing particular activities/meetings), providing on–going observations and feedback; behavioural skills coaching / behavioural role plays, simulating key relationships / work on voice and non–verbal communication; dealing with specific blocks to effectiveness, i.e. confronting issues which are driving unproductive behaviour (e.g. an extreme need for approval or a strong and unhelpful drive for perfection); examining issues such as: career direction; role pressures and priorities; value clashes (e.g. personal vs. work); boundary management (e.g. home and work). [back to top]

How long does a coaching session last?

Coaches all have their preferred way of working. We like to contract for 6 months initially, with a pulse-check halfway through the engagement and a more in-depth review at the end. We might then contract for more sessions or agree that the work (at least for now) is done. Our individual coaching sessions tend to be one hour long and, on average, twice monthly, although it wouldn’t be unusual to have sessions closer together (one hourly session per week) at the start and then with larger gaps at the end (so that the client has more time to solidify new behaviours and approaches). With team coaching, sessions can be as short as 90 minutes long and as long as two-days (which we generally recommend takes place off-site). Generally, we agree frequency and timing after our first meeting as it helps to be clear on your objectives before deciding on required length of sessions and programme. [back to top]

How many sessions will I need overall?

This depends on what it is you need to work on! For executive coaching clients, if you are transitioning into a new role, you would probably benefit from a concentrated number of sessions that cover your first one hundred days. If you are building a new function or team, you may need sessions every 2 – 4 weeks covering a longer period of time, say a year. Same applies to teams. We would usually decide how many sessions are needed, after we have had your initial consultation. [back to top]

Can we do it over the phone?

Yes, although there are pros and cons. We find that once there is enough trust established in the coach, good work can be achieved remotely. We usually recommend an initial face-to-face meeting and where necessary, followed by telephone or skype sessions. [back to top]

Where do sessions normally take place?

Generally, Executive and Team Coaching takes place in the workplace of the client, a quiet meeting room away from their usual office. When the work is sensitive, or is touching on more personal areas, we often contract with the clients to book a meeting room away from their office. For some individual clients, we arrange for meetings to take place at Goose Green Clinic in East Dulwich, London SE22; if geography allows. [back to top]

Are sessions confidential, or will my Line Manager/HR be involved?

Coaches differ in terms of what is or is not confidential. Many hold that everything that is said in the coaching session stays between the coach and client. At OBJ Coaching, we like to agree with the clients and their organisational sponsor (HR/Line Manager) what information will be available to the ‘organisation’, and we like the clients to take responsibility for managing their conversations with their sponsors about how they are progressing. We ask the sponsors to disclose to the client what the outcomes they would like from the coaching engagement. This stops them using us as a vehicle for giving tough feedback that is really their job to give! We are also clear with Line Managers and HR representatives that there will probably be information arising in the coaching that needs to remain confidential, and we make sure that we have their agreement about this. This makes the coaching process as ‘transparent’ as possible, and does not land the coach with the onerous task of ‘holding secrets’. As members of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) who abide by their code of ethics, there may be exceptional cases where we are legally obliged to disclose information that has come to light in a coaching session. [back to top]

What do people mean by a ‘chemistry session’?

All the research on the effectiveness of other ‘helping’ relationships (e.g. counselling) shows that the most critical factor is the relationship that the coach and coachee establish between them, the level of trust and rapport that they develop. Although there has not been much similar research on coaching as yet, it looks as though a similar finding is likely (Erik de Haan: ‘Relational Coaching’. 2008). It is important, therefore, that the first meeting includes a conversation about ‘chemistry’, i.e. do the coach and client(s) think that they can work well together? This isn’t about do they like each other (although they may do), it’s about does the client feel able to open up to the coach and can the coach hold the client’s vision and evoke required transformation. [back to top]

Can I talk to people you’ve already coached?

We would be more than happy to provide you with the names and contact details of past clients you could talk to. You can also see some testimonials from recent clients on our Client Testimonials page. [back to top]