Questions I'm Often Asked About Coaching

If you are new to coaching, you surely will have questions you want answered before committing to the time, energy and cost of a coaching relationship.  Here are the top questions I get asked by prospective clients.  I’d be happy to discuss any of these with you in further detail.

+ Why should I engage a coach?

You should engage a coach when you are trying to achieve something new or different in your work or personal life … but are struggling to get there. A good coach will help you get clearer on what you are trying to achieve (not always so easy for clients to express) and then will help you define the steps and stay on the path to get there.

+ How long is a typical coaching engagement?

Coaching engagements with me begin with a 6- or 12-month commitment, depending on the goals of the client. Most coaching engagements kick off with defining the vision that the client hopes to achieve. When your vision and accompanying motivations are clear, you are more likely to succeed in realizing them. My longer-duration coaching engagements happen when clients have additional or more complex goals, and have found our relationship to be an exciting process to getting there. Think of a sports analogy: An athlete may engage a coach for a single competition, or may work with that coach to insure a constant improvement of athletic prowess.

+ How much does coaching cost?

I am happy to share pricing by phone or in person.

+ Will engaging a coach require a lot of work?

Like most things, the more effort you put into your coaching relationship the more you will get out of it. My one goal in coaching is to keep my clients “in action” and moving towards their goals. So you can expect to be engaged and working throughout the session itself, and most weeks you will complete between-session assignments or thinking. Ultimately all work in a coaching relationship is at the discretion of the client, and in most cases, the work is so exciting that you’ll be glad you're doing it.

+ Why should I engage you, David Alport?

The way I see it, you should engage a coach who makes you feel excited about achieving your goals and who has the skills to help you get there. With hundreds of hours of training and real world coaching experience, plus 30 years of diverse and deeply fulfilling work experience, I am confident in my abilities to help you define and progress to your goals. But ultimately, any successful relationship is about great chemistry. To get you closer to a decision, I start with a brief screening conversation that will allow us to get a sense of one another. If you remain curious, we’ll schedule an intro session where we get to know each other better and begin discussing your most important goal or goals. By this point, you should have enough information to make a decision to engage over a series of sessions.

+ What kind of people do you typically coach?

The only thing that is common across all of my clients is their passion and excitement about achieving new goals in their work and life. Otherwise, my client base is a diverse lot. As someone with an entrepreneurial spirit myself, I particularly enjoy working with entrepreneurs and senior leaders who embrace change comfortably, but may find themselves needing support for tackling something new or challenging. I’d say this group is my sweet spot. As someone who has made a few very big career changes, I also work with many clients who are looking to make a career move and want help doing so. What matters here is having a strong set of values, and my approach is to help clients define a direction to finding work of deeper meaning and happiness. Finally, I work with people who simply want something new or different and just aren’t sure how to define it or achieve it.

+ What is your approach to coaching?

My approach to coaching is actually quite simple. I help you get clear about what you want to achieve at the beginning of our engagement. I work with you over a series of sessions to define actions that will move you forward to your goal or goals. And I keep you “in action” at all times, focused on agreed-to actions that will make it less likely for you to be distracted by the many things that might thwart your progress. The tools I use will vary based on the goal, the area of work and, of course, the client. But the approach in an overall engagement is actually quite structured.

+ Do you coach in person or by phone/Skype?

Coaching engagements are tailored to fit the client's schedule and desires. I love coaching in person because it allows a keen sense of the energy that exists around topics and ideas in the conversation. But honestly, coaching over the phone or with Skype/Facetime is fantastic and typically as effective as in person. It also provide added efficiency and flexibility for clients on the move or those who do not live in New York City. Either way works, and I coach many clients in both ways.

+ Is the cost of coaching tax-deductible?

In many instances, particularly when coaching is related to improving performance or seeking new employment within your current career, you may be able to deduct some of the fees for coaching. Talk to your tax advisor for professional advice, to see if you can benefit from such deductions.

+ How is coaching different from therapy?

Coaching and therapy are both processes that help people become happier and more fulfilled in their lives. But they do so in different ways. In my coaching practice, we are almost exclusively forward looking. Sometimes background information or past experiences are useful or needed in the coaching process, but the focus is primarily on identifying new approaches and taking new actions that will move you towards your goals. I studied psychology at Brown University, and my practice is heavily informed by both positive psychology and more recent discoveries of neuroscience about how we learn new things and build new patterns. Coaching requires time, energy and commitment, just like therapy, and my job is to help you keep your goals and actions front and center in every session. In coaching, you should always feel yourself in a state of action.

+ How is coaching different from consulting?

In consulting, the client is seeking expert advice and recommendations. In coaching, the client is in the driver’s seat and the coach is the facilitator of movement against the client’s agenda. Yes, clients may seek a coach with experience in their field or with their particular engagement area. And most of my clients have chosen to work with me because of my diverse work background and my experience navigating change. So there may be times when my perspective or approach contains elements of consulting. You will know you are working with a great coach when you find yourself being asked great questions and given a supportive structure to get you thinking, imagining, acting and achieving based on your own ideas and insights. When we figure things out through our own faculties, change is much deeper and longer lasting.