COACHING FAQ

Executive Coaching Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Brendel provides customized Executive Coaching and Career Coaching services in Massachusetts and worldwide. Please find answers to some frequently asked questions below. Don’t hesitate to call or email Dr. Brendel to learn whether his coaching services are a good fit for you. His office telephone number is (617) 932-1548 and email address is david@drdavidbrendel.com.

Executive Coaching

What is Executive Coaching?

It is a high impact process that empowers CEOs and other business leaders to understand their challenges and use their strengths to find solutions, so that they can grow as leaders and grow their businesses. Executive coaching is practical and results oriented. Executive coaches help their clients by:

  • Serving as a trusted adviser and mentor who supports the executive in developing strategies to solve his or her own problems and ultimately achieving peak performance.
  • Providing structured and focused conversations (and sometimes role playing) to help them improve their job performance.
  • Helping the executive manage stress, feel more self-confident, and develop effective leadership skills.
  • Holding the client accountable for taking actions necessary to reach his or her own chosen goals.

What is the Difference Between Coaching and Therapy?

Traditionally, psychotherapy has focused on traumatic experiences in the past and how to understand their effects on the patient’s current life situation. Coaching, on the other hand, focuses more on the present and future. Rooted in “positive psychology,” coaching helps the client draw on his or her personal strengths in order to formulate successful action plans. The coach focuses on the client’s past experience not as an end in itself, but only insofar as it helps the client to move his or her life forward. Some contemporary psychotherapy models, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), have a lot in common with coaching. Both coaching and CBT help clients to think in positive, practical, and realistic ways. And both help clients to implement new behavioral patterns that will support their growth and success in the real world.

How long does coaching take to work?

This is really determined by the individual needs of the client. At one extreme, some clients have used just one powerful session with me to achieve a major change in their mindset and to make a plan for substantial behavior change. Other clients have worked with me for years to achieve and sustain an evolving set of personal and professional goals. Then there is every possible theme and variation in between these extremes.

The typical coaching engagement lasts for 3 to 6 months and is shaped by well-defined goals and benchmarks for success, with the option for additional follow up coaching after the official engagement ends. The frequency of sessions can vary from once a week to once a month. Session length is usually 1 hour, but can vary depending on the client’s wishes and needs. The bottom line is that there are some rough and ready guidelines for what makes an effective coaching engagement, and there is an enormous amount of flexibility so that each client experiences from coaching exactly what he or she needs as an individual. Note that I also offer single session, 1-hour coaching consultations for swift and powerful results.

Who can benefit from executive coaching?

Virtually anyone with a challenging career can benefit from executive coaching. Executives and many others (including a variety of professionals and business managers) looking to advance professionally, foster personal growth, navigate tough transitions, or become a better leader will especially benefit.

How can executive coaching help leaders in University and other academic settings?

Like executives in the business community, leaders in higher education must manage programs and projects, create and implement long-term strategies, form partnerships within and across departments, and work efficiently and effectively. Academia also presents leaders with a unique set of challenges, such as exerting influence in less hierarchical settings or pursuing goals that are sometimes difficult to quantify. Executive coaching helps leaders in higher education succeed by offering solutions geared to their specific needs. Read more about Leading Minds Associate Stefan Kalt, PhD who specializes in working with elite clients in academic settings and beyond.

What does coaching look like? What might take place in a typical productive session?

Sessions are comprised of interviews, behavioral style assessments, 360-degree evaluations with key stakeholders, coaching sessions, and (in some cases) on-site observations. During sessions, you will work on developing action plans and sustainability plans. For more detailed information on the coaching process, please contact us.

What role do mindfulness meditation and yoga play in executive coaching?

Executives and other high performing professionals must drawn on robust stress management techniques in order to think clearly, maintain poise, make sound decisions, safeguard their physical health, and achieve peak performance. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation, controlled breathing, and yoga are proven strategies for reaching these goals. One of the key Associates on the Leading Minds team is mindfulness specialist Emmie Stamell, whose services can be incorporated into coaching engagements for all of our clients. Read more about Emmie and see the Harvard Business Review post by Emmie Stammell and Dr. Brendel about how we use mindfulness in some of our coaching engagements.

Is executive coaching usually paid for by the company or the individual?

It varies. Some individuals will pay for themselves, while some companies will pay for their employees. You can talk to your company to find out if they offer assistance for executive coaching.

What should I look for when selecting an executive coach?

You should look for an experienced professional with whom you have good “chemistry” and a positive working alliance. During the coaching process, you will have to be comfortable opening up to your coach to discuss personal and professional stressors you’re facing. You will also have to accept feedback and advice from your coach, so it’s important to find someone you can trust. You should also review the coach’s working model. Different coaches have different processes, so look for one that you think will best suit you.

Where are your clients based?

Most Leading Minds clients are based in the Boston area and sessions take place in person, either in the Leading Minds offices or in the client’s workplace. However, many clients are based in other parts of the United States and around the world. Phone and video chat sessions also can be extremely effective for executive coaching.

Is coaching confidential? Will my company know what takes place in our sessions?

In most cases, coaching sessions are completely confidential. We do ask your colleagues and other stakeholders to provide feedback on your progress, but we do not reveal anything you ask us to keep confidential.  A possible exception to this can occur in certain cases when your company is paying for the coaching. Your company may have a policy requiring that certain general details be provided upon request (such as whether you are attending all the sessions and making good use of them). If your company will be paying for your sessions, we can help you determine what, if anything, must be disclosed.

Am I able to speak to one of your previous clients as a reference?

In general, we do not ask our current or former clients to give references, except by written testimonials in some cases (which we can share with you). Any Leading Minds client who would serve as a phone reference will undoubtedly provide positive feedback about the coaching. If you feel a phone reference is necessary, there may be other concerns about the coaching that still give you pause. Please bring these questions up directly.

How are you accredited?

Dr. David Brendel is an Associate Certified Coach of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a Master Certified Coach Trainer in the Center for Executive Coaching (CEC). Trained at Harvard Medical School, he has years of experience as a psychiatrist and hospital executive. He has published extensively on his approach to executive coaching, including articles in the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Brendel is Founder and Director of Leading Minds Executive Coaching, LLC. The firm provides a wide range of executive and career coaching services to clients in the Boston area and worldwide.

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Boston based Professional Certified Coach International