I worked with Sarah, a lecturer in higher education, for just over a year. Our coaching sessions focussed on her career. We worked together strategically, and in her words, “plan[ning] for a future with financial security and holistic wellbeing in mind.” Sarah’s endorsement is below followed by an explanation of how our sessions worked.

When looking for a coach it can be helpful to read words from people they have coached and gain understanding of how the coach and coachee worked together. I share the following whilst retaining all confidentiality to help those who at some point might be thinking of investing in some professional coaching.

Over the months I was coached, I had the invaluable opportunity to reset, take clear, purposeful actions to change my present situation, and plan for a future with financial security and holistic wellbeing in mind.

Sarah’s endorsement

“Being coached by Hannah for 14 months, I can undoubtedly say that my career in education, as well as my personal goals, have been profoundly transformed. Before coaching, I felt stuck, unsure of any progression in my role in tertiary education, and at sea about how my priorities and personal hopes factored into this. Over the months I was coached, I had the invaluable opportunity to reset, take clear, purposeful actions to change my present situation, and plan for a future with financial security and holistic wellbeing in mind. All 14 sessions left me with significant insights and substantial food for thought – personally, professionally, and beyond.

Hannah has a rare skill in working with people as she assists them to re-evaluate personal and career paths and possibilities that are right for them. Her keen observations comes from attentive thinking and lateral thinking, which challenged and encouraged me to look and plan for a career and vocation where I could flourish. Beyond that, Hannah truly cares for those she coaches, is sensitive to their wants and needs, and has a strategic precision in helping them to see things differently and take steps to bring that vision to a reality. Coaching with Hannah was an extremely worthwhile investment, that I deeply appreciate and am the richer for.”

Sarah. Lecturer, Higher Education

Asking powerful questions is not about empowering someone in a short-term, “hot air but little substance,” manner, but working in partnership with them in skilled, thought-provoking dialogue towards lasting and sustainable change.

How did our sessions work?

We created agreements about how we were going to work together (coaches often call this contracting), giving time to this at the beginning of our coaching journey and again at the start of each session. Each conversation topic was initiated and chosen by her, which we then unpacked and explored together. Sarah’s autonomy (the right to self-govern) was central at all times. 

Sarah’s role was to commit to the coaching process, self-reflect and make decisions to put insight into action to change things for the better in the areas she wanted to work on.

My role was to listen to her, observe, and ask questions that would encourage 1) insight and understanding, and 2) strategy and action in the areas she wanted to work on.

Powerful questions: Those in the coaching profession often talk about “powerful questions.” My understanding of a powerful question is one that that generates growth, realignment, and ultimately works towards long term and lasting transformation of that person’s situation and outlook. Asking powerful questions is not about empowering someone in a short-term, “hot air but little substance,” manner, but working in partnership with them in skilled, thought-provoking dialogue towards lasting and sustainable change.

The International Coaching Federation: As with every person I work with, I made every effort to coach in accordance with the ICF’s strong Code of Ethics and in alignment with their definition of coaching:

“partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.”

Closing our sessions: Sarah and I closed each session by summarising key learnings and establishing next steps. We stopped working with each other when she felt (and I agreed) that our times together had served their purpose. At that point we did a final wrap-up session, reflecting on how she had grown, realigned, and transformed over the period we had worked together (past), where she was now (present) and where she was heading (future).

For those reading this who may be thinking of working with me, I hope this has been helpful to read. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to talk further.

* Sarah’s name has been changed for the purpose of confidentiality

Photo credit: Biel Morro @bielmorro