How is a coaching relationship different from a mentor relationship? How is a coaching different than counseling or therapy?
Coaching – A coach is a professional dedicated to helping you meet your goals and navigate challenges. A coach is someone who is uniquely qualified and familiar with the struggles you might face in your career, working with you to help you increase productivity and effectiveness. Coaching focuses on goals for the future and creating action plans to achieve those goals. A coaching relationship is often set for a pre-determined amount of time or number of sessions. These can be relatively brief or longer-term depending on the goals of the client.
Counseling – A counselor supports an individual in times of personal crisis and/or change. Counseling focuses on how events in the past have affected the personal life and emotional/mental health of the client. A counselor is trained and licensed to assess and possibly diagnose ongoing issues affecting various areas of the client’s life. A counseling relationship is typically long-term, often lasting months or even years.
Mentoring – A mentor provides support based on her own experience and knowledge gained in a specific area. The mentee gains insight from an expert in the field, someone who has been in a similar position before and can give advice on where to go from here. A mentor/mentee relationship is often long-term and may span many years.
What kinds of issues is coaching intended to address?
Coaching for academic professionals provides timely and pertinent resources for the challenges and situations faculty, staff, and academic administrators face on a daily basis. We tailor our coaching to meet the needs of the specific client.
Depending on need, coaching might include any of the following:
- Training in how to think strategically about organizational realities
- Strategies for working effectively within the norms and expectations of academia
- Assessment and development of leadership skills and style
- Problem solving regarding specific situations, people, and other challenges
- Strategies for negotiating the impact of social identity (gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.) on organizations
- Resources for personal goal setting (leadership role choices, research/teaching/service balance, work/life balance, career advancement)
What does a coaching session look like?
Coaching sessions may be conducted in-person, by phone, or through video conferencing (Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout). A session length will typically range from 1 to 2 hours, depending in part on the type of coaching and client preference. Sessions bring up and examine the particular issues for which the client is seeking help. The coach will collaborate with the client develop strategies for working with the issues.
However, the coaching “session” is more than just the person-to-person meeting. Associated with each session, our coaches also engage in some or all of the following support activities:
- client support through email correspondence between coaching sessions
- client support through brief phone consultations between coaching sessions
- document review and editing
- background research
- travel time for the coach for in-person meetings on campus
- administrative services related to scheduling
- supervisory consultations with our Master Coach (when coaching is being provided by a Senior, Lead, or Departmental Administrator Coach)
In addition, to get the most out of a coaching relationship, clients must also engage in preparation or follow-through outside the actual sessions, such as:
- completion of online leadership assessments
- review and application of assessment results
- reading (articles and books)
- reflection (e.g., discussion with colleagues, writing)
- situational analysis homework
- email requests for advice (e.g., how to respond to a difficult email)
- application of a strategy developed during a coaching session
- written summary of a situation discussed or planned during a coaching session
Is there a typical number or frequency of sessions?
Both number and frequency of sessions vary, depending on client need and situation. A common coaching contract provides 8-12 coaching sessions. For career and leadership development, monthly sessions are common. However, weekly or biweekly sessions may be useful to work with a specific circumstance.
An initial coaching sequence of 8-10 sessions provides a foundational assessment of leadership skills and challenges, along with resources to accomplish targeted change or development goals. This often includes completion of an advanced online leadership assessment instrument which helps to identify strengths as well as arenas for development.
Many of our clients renew their contract after this initial sequence, especially those in formal leadership roles who rely on coaching as an ongoing leadership resource.
Shorter coaching relationships might be appropriate to meet a very specific development or strategic goal. Examples include the Leadership Snapshot, a 3-session coaching contract aimed at assessing current leadership strengths and challenges.
Is coaching confidential?
Yes, coaching is confidential. However, the exact parameters of confidentiality vary depending on the type of coaching and the circumstance.
When an institution pays for coaching, the existence of the relationship and the timing of the sessions is not confidential, though the content of the sessions is. When the client pays for coaching out of pocket, the coaching relationship as well as the contents of the sessions are completely confidential.
Our general agreements related to formative coaching include:
- Coaching is intended as formative evaluation for developmental purposes and does not serve a summative evaluation or personnel review function.
- Coaching conversations, assessment results, and written communications exchanged for the purpose of coaching are confidential. They are specifically and solely provided to the coaching client.
- The existence of an institutionally funded coaching agreement, and the timing of coaching sessions, is not confidential information and will be provided on invoices.
- Kardia Group LLC will maintain client confidentiality regarding the coaching client’s characteristics, skills, role in the university, or career plans. (We do not include in that information about illegal or life-threatening activities or circumstances.)
- Kardia Group coaches may share necessary and relevant information within Kardia Group in order to ensure that the goals of coaching are met.
- As an adviser to deans and other administrators, Kardia Group LLC shares aggregate information about the circumstances and challenges faced by administrators, faculty, and staff.
What is the difference between formative and summative evaluation?
The goal of formative evaluation is to provide feedback and support to the coaching client. This form of coaching supports professional development related to current career and role, or potential future leadership roles. Formative coaching serves these purposes: identification of strengths and weaknesses, investment in positive change, and strategic partnership related to career and leadership challenges.
The goal of summative evaluation is to evaluate and improve client performance related to concerns or goals identified by the institution. Therefore, summative evaluation may result in decisions about compensation and employment.
Kardia Group coaching services focus on formative evaluation. Coaching is only offered to individuals who are seeking this form of professional development.
How can I get more information?
For more information, you can see our descriptions of a few short coaching possibilities, or contact us.