Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? I have answers! Or if you don’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us and I’ll respond with the information you’re looking for.
What’s the difference between Consulting and Coaching?
An excellent and important question! While there are some areas of overlap, the fundamental difference is where accountability and decision-making fall.
When organizations hire a consultant there is an accountability hand-off – the consultant is accountable for their own decisions re: process, data inputs, analysis, recommendations, and in some cases, final implementation. Effectively the client – perhaps understaffed or without a particular area of expertise in-house – is seeking to share or fully outsource the accountability and/or decision-making on a project.
A coach on the other hand is accountable to deliver an independent, credible and confidential process (or collaboration forum) that furthers self-discovery for the individual client. Done properly the client is thus able to take better decisions, learn and grow faster, while remaining fully accountable along the way.
I’ve heard Coaching is really a form of Therapy. True?
I always say there is a time and place for coaching, and a different time and place for therapy. They are both extremely valuable, but their role should not be confused.
First the similarities. Any coach or therapist should be credible in their field. Both see their clients as a whole-person, and work with your biggest challenges and growth opportunities. You pay both to challenge your thinking, ask probing questions and offer insights. They both offer independent, safe and confidential environments, guided by an agreed upon set of ethics, norms or code of conduct. They both serve the mission of helping you self-discover and take actions that lead to positive change.
Now the differences. The coach is grounded in where you are today, and where you are going – there is a future, moving-forward orientation. As long as you are moving forward, stick with coaching. If you are stuck, and unable to move forward, find a therapist. The therapist has a past-looking orientation, knowing there is something inhibiting your progress that must be explored, diagnosed and resolved. Once you shed or develop productive responses to the mindset, habits and behaviours holding you back, you are to move out of therapy.
Is an executive coach anything like the coach an athlete would hire?
There are some real parallels. If you’re seeking to crack the Top 100 or Top 10 as a ranked tennis player – or pick your favourite sport – for sure you are working with a coach. Your coach is grounded in you as a whole-person, where you’ve come from and most importantly, where you want to go. Your coach gets behind your biggest goals, and offers a personalize development plan to get you there. Your coach is 100% in your corner along the way – analyzing your technique, guiding your practice sessions, prescribing exercises for you to do on your own, observing you in competitions, and debriefing afterwards. What the coach cannot do is actually go on the court, track or course, and compete for you. Final accountability and performance is up to you!
What type of Coaching do you offer?
Many service provides simply use the handle “Coach” as it’s currently more in vogue than “Consultant”. You can find career coaches, business coaches, life coaches, personal coaches, team coaches, shadow coaches, performance coaches, skill coaches, team coaches, marriage coaches, speaking coaches, productivity coaches … you get the picture.
My specialty is CEO coaching. I am best working with leaders to transform their approach – what they do and how they go about doing it – to deliver meaningful and lasting results against their biggest priorities. With a leadership focus, those “biggest priorities” are either organizational (e.g., leading a business, division or region from point A to point B), team-based (e.g., leading a group of individuals toward a goal cannot be achieved alone) or personal (career navigation, major life decisions, personal development – ensuring your choices and behaviours are serving your success vision).
What’s your definition of “leader” and what type of leader do you typically work with?
Socrates said, “Let him that would move the world, first move himself.”
In our definition, a “leader” is anyone who takes full ownership of who they are, where they are going, and is accountable for the growth journey to get there. We don’t believe that an individual necessarily needs “followers” to be deemed a “leader”. Too many would-be leaders want to bypass the important work in leading change in self and move right on to influencing others!
I am best positioned to work with leaders who are:
1) C-level executives in their organization; senior leaders who oversee large and complex regions/divisions; and/or business owners.
2) International in experience, scope or learning mindset.
3) Seriously committed to growth in themselves, and those around them
What type and size of organization do you typically work with?
I serve leaders and organizations with a real readiness for change – either in reaction to external market forces, or in architecting planned and opportunistic growth. In many cases I am asked to help “scale” the business to prepare for and reach a new growth trajectory. In some cases I am asked to help clients prepare for another form of change – a restructuring, an acquisition, a merger, a succession plan or exit strategy.
Most of my clients are complex organizations with a national or international presence. My team engagements are best suited for senior teams of five or more. My Strategy Activation engagements are best suited for leaders who own the planning process from vision to bottom-line results. My corporate clients typically have $100m+ in revenue and/or 200+ employees at the organizational or divisional level.
What makes your approach different?
I am unique from other consultants and coaches in that I have “sat in the chair”, having held country management, president and CEO roles in high-growth and change-intensive public and private companies. This enables an immediate and deep connection with the issues and mindset of my clients.
Offering a blend of consulting and coaching solutions is also unique. This allows me to be highly adaptable to the role, engagement design and delivery approach that works best for my clients, over the near and long-term.
What kind of ROI do you clients realize?
I am a huge fan of ROI and ROI discussions are part of every engagement kick-off. What results do you expect? What will success look like in the near, mid and long term? What investments are you prepared to make? What investments are we together prepared to make? How will we share feedback, track our performance and adapt our plan along the way to ensure we’re being the best we can be?
I am asked to engage on “seven-figure-plus” opportunities, risks and decisions – meaning I only work with the most important issues clients are facing, which have millions of dollars of impact, to say nothing of the personal impact to so many along the way.
I hold formal and ad hoc engagement reviews in all of my engagements. Together, we measure and share the results. Some clients evaluate ROI in quantifiable terms and typically report 3-10X ROI during year one, and recurring ROI going forward. Others measure ROI differently, and report immeasurable benefits from renewed energy, clearer focus, greater confidence, peace-of-mind, more time, reduced conflict, healthier relationships and even better sleep.
What are those symbols in your bio?
My work with leaders draws from numerous approaches and tools, including some that have been around for centuries. I often work with the concept of “personas” or “archetypes”, which date back to early Greek philosopher Plato, and more recently the work of Carl Jung.
In short, archetypes are deeply embedded, patterns of behaviours in all of us, modeled after one of many universal character types. Common archetypes include: Explorer, Rebel, Lover, Creator, Jester, Sage, and so on. Each has a distinct motto or life mantra, set of goals and motivations, strategy for living, strength or gift, and shadow or weakness when strengths are overused to a fault.
My own archetypes are (in equal part): Visionary (the eye), Caregiver (the helping hands), and Athlete (the figure in motion). I’ve come to recognize their role in my life, how they can be let loose productively and when they need to be reigned in. The last symbol is based on the popular “Vital Self” exercise in our leadership toolkit – a thing, symbol or image – that represents each our core: energy we emit; how others experience us; our purpose; what we need to recharge. My own Vital Self representation is a rising sun.
If you are curious enough to map your own archetypes, here’s an easy tool to help you get started www.archetypes.com. Enjoy!
Do you provide references for prospective clients to speak with?
Absolutely! Prospective clients are free to connect with any of the leaders who have shared their testimonials on our Client References page.
How long do your engagements last?
I take pride in building lifetime relationships with my clients. This means I am ready to actively serve at times when they need me most, and we stay connected through occasional phone calls, catch-up opportunities, emails and Leadership Insights when active engagement isn’t required. We may even hook up for a run, bike or swim!
With large corporate clients, I am often “on call” either on retainer or standing agreement terms enabling me to quickly partner on coaching, team performance, talent selection and on-boarding, or planning offsites, wherever I am needed most and can serve best.
Initial Leadership Transformation CEO coaching engagements are 12 months in duration, which ensures clear goals, development focus and measurable results. Follow-on coaching is adaptable to each client’s unique situation and needs.
Team Engagement work is designed as either 2-3 day team offsites or to occur over a 6-12 month timeframe so we can measure performance improvements as our work progresses.
Strategy Activation engagements are implemented over 3-6 months, and incorporate a series of one-on-one planning meetings with the lead executive, and follow-on team planning and performance tracking sessions.