Frequently Asked Questions

Why hire a coach?

einsteinA coach’s purpose is to help you close the gap between where you are now and where you have the potential to be.

In choosing to go it alone, you deprive yourself of invaluable synergy, personal discovery and accountability. The focused collaboration of a coaching relationship enables you to close that gap faster and easier than flying solo.

We find that breakthrough results occur by discovering and overcoming our own unique obstacles to success.  Just as a board gains an understanding of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses and goals, a coach is an advocate on an individual level to clarify and develop the executive’s skills, mindset and focus.  The natural result is faster, more focused achievement of the results on your agenda.

How does this work?

We’re dedicated to delivering a results-orientated, personally tailored development experience.  This begins by gaining an understanding of your talent, style, motivators and job objectives. Your coach becomes your personal change agent and catalyst for personal growth.  In support of this, we work together to crystallize your goals and determine both the internal and external obstacles to achieving them.

Through enhanced focus, heightened self awareness, sharpened personal skills and a more productive mindset, our clients are able to work smarter with a balanced approach to personal and professional achievement.

How do I know which coach is right for me?

For any decision, selecting the correct criteria is critical. You should begin by clarifying the purpose of the engagement and your desired outcomes. Then determine what qualities and approach you will need to effectively pursue that outcome.  For more detailed guidelines for selecting an executive coach, visit our Executive Coach Selection Guide.

What does Executive Coaching cost?

The fair, if somewhat vague, answer is “it depends.” After we define and understand your desired outcomes and existing obstacles, we then then develop a plan to get you to where you want to be along with a firm schedule for the fees involved as well as our comfort guarantee.  Our clients have learned to view coaching fees as an investment that will provide significant return, rather than an expense. Our approach in determining the desired measurable results in advance is designed to assure a significant return on your investment.  >> More About Our Executive Coaching Costs >>

Where does Coaching take place?

Most of our coaching conferences are in-person meetings.  The location depends on client needs.  If you’re in the Chicago metro region, we will come to your office. Or, we can meet at our of our locations.

Outside of our region, our geography does not have to be an obstacle.  We’ve connected with executives worldwide with video conferencing. All you need is an internet connected device. Ideally a tablet or laptop.

What if I live outside of the Chicago area?

Your location may limit our ability to meet in-person.  It does not limit our ability to meet face-to-face.  We’ve successfully served executives in different states and in Europe via video conference and telephone.

What do you know about our Industry?

Based on our work in over thirty different industries,  we believe this is the most overvalued and misunderstood criteria for selecting a coach. Here’s why…

  • Industries are not as unique or mysterious as their insiders believe. And all share a common element. They are populated by people. A coach’s ability help you to improve your skills at getting results through others will be far more valuable than industry expertise.
  • By seeking specific industry expertise, you limit the potential of breakthroughs from the cross pollination of ideas from other arenas.
  • Leadership and business savvy transcends industries.
  • The elements most likely to hinder your executive performance are not technical in nature. Most job promotions and firings are not related to a person’s level industry expertise. People are promoted because of their attitudes and habits as well as their ability to execute.
  • An Executive Coach should be more competent in developing your emotional intelligence than your industry insight.
  • With an industry specific coach, you deprive yourself the cross pollination of ideas and tactics. You want to expand the scope of solutions not minimize them.

If the values and behaviors of your new industry are significantly different from where you came, a coach can help with the transition.  If you are transitioning to a new industry, a mentor from within the industry can be helpful in your ramp-up stage.  Through our national affiliate network we can help you to connect a coach who has worked in your industry that could work with you via telephone.

Are Your Coaching Engagements Confidential?

The level of confidence required in a coaching engagement varies. We establish an up-front understanding and agreement for each engagement.

While details of coaching discussions are never shared, the existence a coaching relationship can either be open and transparent or under the radar Our Privacy Pledge outlines some simple details for differing scenarios.

What’s the difference between a Executive Coach and a Therapist?

Both approaches address behavioral elements of your performance. A therapist will help you to look backward to issues that prevent you from moving forward and to assist with any deep seeded emotional baggage.  An Executive Coach takes a more current and future view with a goal orientated approach to development of productive attitudes and soft skills.  Therapists do not typically focus on  developing your skills.  As coaches, we are trained to recognize situations where therapy is in the best interest of the client and will make appropriate recommendations.

What role should gender play in selecting a coach?

If you believe that a coach’s gender is important, you need to understand why. Women may feel more comfortable with someone who understands their gender specific workplace issues. But, be careful. A coach’s empathy is desirable. But, seeking sympathy can be a misguided approach. Your coach needs to act as your personal change agent. Your measurable improvement will not occur without stepping outside of your comfort zone and letting go of your self-pity or emotional obstacles.  The same is true for race or ethnicity.   For opposite gender coaching engagements, it should almost go without saying that a professional coach will never become romantically involved with a client because it will impair the critical element of objectivity.

I already have my MBA, why would I need a coach?

Thomas Watson Quote70% of our clients have their MBAs.  A MBA provides you with great business knowledge.  Executive Coaching provides a personalized approach to developing your soft skills, mindset, self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

As you climb the corporate ladder, both your skill sets and mindset must evolve.  Coaching accelerates executive development that does not happen in a business school classroom.

Are You A Life Coach?

While it’s true that all of our executive coaching clients have lives, we prefer NOT to be grouped into the Life Coach category.  Why? Executive Coaching is about improving the ability to “execute“.  Our focus and approach are always outcome and results focused.  That said, we believe that self-leadership is a prerequisite for formal leadership.  So our leadership development processes address both aspects of leadership.

Tangible return on investment for “life coaching” can be illusive. Executive Coaching is designed to produce measurable results. That said, our approach is holistic and typically involves developing our clients’ self-leadership, people (soft) skills attitudes and emotional intelligence as components to improving executive performance.

From the author…

Executive Coach - Tom LemanskIn my personal transformation from entrepreneurial executive to executive coach, I have experienced both sides of the coaching relationship.  I have hired and fired coaches.  The purpose of this document is to share my insight and expertise to enhance your decision making process.   I’ve attempted to make these guidelines as insightful and unbiased as possible while at the same time promoting our coaching practice.  Is this a conflict of interest?  If this information helps you determine that someone else is a better fit your needs, I’m OK with that. Helping people make more effective decisions in pursuit of success is part of what we do.

Tom Lemanski