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Leadership Breakthroughs

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Hire a Coach?

A 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.

“The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking that we were at when we created them”

– Albert Einstein

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.

“We have met the enemy and he is us”

– Walt Kelly
From his comic strip Pogo

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?

The location depends your needs. Since the start if the pandemic, most of our engagements are held via Zoom conference.

When necessary our coaching conferences are in-person meetings held in our client’s office or conference room. Or we meet in one of our conference rooms or some other appropriate location.  Geography is not an obstacle as covered in the next Q & A.

What if I Live Outside of the Chicago Area?

We’ve successfully connected with executives worldwide with video conferencing. All you need is an internet connected device: Ideally a tablet or laptop. We’ve successfully served executives in the US and Europe via video conference and telephone. Again, geography is not an obstacle. 

What do You Know about OUR Industry?

Based on our work in over fifty 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.
  • Leaders are promoted because of their attitudes and habits and for 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.

Transitioning to a New Industry?

If the culture, values and behaviors of your new industry are significantly different from where you came, a coach can help with the transition. 

However, the essence of effective coaching is NOT to offer technical advise. It is to act as your personal change agent. If you are transitioning to a new industry, a mentor from within the industry can be helpful in your ramp-up stage.  Perhaps we can help with that. Through our national affiliate network we can help you to connect a coach who has worked in your industry that could offer you industry specific insights via video conferencing or phone.

Are Your Coaching Engagements Confidential?

The level of confidence required in a coaching engagement varies based on your needs. 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 an 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 potentially valuable. 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 any 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 Have an MBA. Why Would I Need a Coach?

Over 70% of our clients have MBAs.  A MBA provides you with great business knowledge.  Executive Coaching provides a highly 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.

“Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops”

– Thomas J. Watson

What Assurances or Guarantees do you offer?

Coaching success depends on positive behavior changes by the coaching client.  While behavior change is not within our control, we believe that working with us should not be a risky proposition.  So, we offer a Comfort Guarantee for our developmental processes.  Briefly stated, if you’re not comfortable with our approach, it’s easy to opt out.  Your financial risk is minimized.  

Do you accept Credit Cards for payment?

Yes.  We accept all major credit cards.  Upon agreement you will receive a PayPal Invoice that allows you to securely use the card of your choice, including corporate P-Cards, or payment through your own PayPal account.  

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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 your ability to “execute“.  Our approach is focused on outcomes and results.  That said, we believe that self-leadership is a prerequisite for formal leadership.  So our leadership development processes address both aspects of leadership. Our holistic approach to self leadership development addresses your habits and limiting beliefs as we discover they are obstacles to your desired achievements.

Tangible return on investment for “life coaching” can be illusive. Our Approach to 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, emotional intelligence and goal planning as components to improving executive performance.

From the Author...

In 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