Coaching Intro

What is Coaching?

Coaching is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses, or organizations. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.   -International Coach Federation

Coaching is a powerful alliance designed to forward and enhance the lifelong process of human learning, effectiveness, and fulfillment.   -Coactive Training Institute (CTI)

The coach facilitates a process combining reflection and action for the purpose of enhancing a participant’s self-awareness and empowered decision making.                            -Tracy Fitzpatrick

A Life or Career Coach helps you become more skilled at creating the life you truly want. The assumption in coaching is that you, the client, are creative and resourceful. The coach’s expertise is in guiding the process so that you consciously examine your choices and make thoughtful decisions. With a coach as your facilitator, you gain insight about yourself and clarity about your life purpose and the choices you face.

Click here for a print version of this introduction to coaching,
called What is Coaching?

For more about the logistics of my coaching practice (scheduling, fees, etc.)
look at the CLIENT FAQS section of this website.

Coaching Results
  • You will clarify your interests, wishes, values and life purpose.

  • You will assess your strengths and skills.

  • You will identify the internal and external obstacles to achieving your goals and develop successful strategies for overcoming these obstacles.

  • You will find perspectives that empower you to live a quality life and to make choices that support your vitality and authenticity.

  • With new insights about yourself, you will set goals, take action in an empowered way, and achieve desired results.

My Assumptions, Expectations and Promises

My assumptions about you...

  • I assume that you are creative, resourceful, and whole, and that you bring tremendous experience, wisdom and insight to this time in your life.

  • I assume that you intend to live your life consciously and by choice.

  • I assume that you are interested in coaching because you want to create an even richer and more fulfilling life.

  • I assume that you will ask for what you need and want from me so that coaching is useful and meaningful to you.

  • I assume we will have great fun together getting to know you, your wishes and your goals!

My expectations of you...

  • I expect you to commit to your own fulfillment and to this coaching process.

  • I expect you to use reflection and exploration and to take action for the purpose of achieving your intended goals.

  • I expect you to take responsibility for your progress.

  • I expect you to communicate your wishes, insights, questions and concerns and to provide honest feedback to me about coaching.

  • I expect you to be timely in schedule and in payments.

My promises to you...

  • I promise to support you in clarifying your vision and goals and to make them the focus of our work.

  • I promise to champion your power and purpose rather than collude with a sense of limitation and doubt.

  • I promise to provide a safe, encouraging, and supportive environment in which you can relax and explore.

  • I promise to be completely honest in all our interactions, serving as a sounding board and providing stratightforward feedback.

  • I promise to respect the confidentiality of our coaching.

  • I promise that no one “gets to be wrong” in this coaching relationship. For sure there will be times when we make a mistake or feel awkward, but I will aim never to operate from judgment or shame.

  • I promise to use everything I know, including career search strategies and resources as well as the range of coaching tools, to assist you in creating the life of your dreams.

Some Skills and Tools Used by Coaches

Accountability:  Holding clients accountable for the actions they say they are going to take. The coach asks the client these three accountability questions:  What are you going to do? By when will you do this? How will I know that you have done it?

Acknowledgement:  Articulating to the client the character strengths required for her/him to have accomplished some action or expressed some awareness. 

Bottom lining:  Speaking less of the details of the story and getting to the essential point.

Brainstorming:  The coach and client generate ideas, alternatives, or possible solutions.  Some of these may be outrageous and impractical. This is a creative exercise to expand the possibilities apparent to the client.

Curiosity:  Genuine exploratory interest.

Intruding:  Occasionally a coach may interrupt a client to focus his or her attention.

Intuiting:  Tapping into and trusting one’s inner knowing.

ListeningThe coach and client listen intently to the client’s words and demeanor, listening for the client’s vision, values, commitments and intentions.

Metaphor:  A verbal picture that deepens the client's understanding.

Powerful questionsOpen-ended questions designed to access the inner wisdom of the client by stimulating reflection. Powerful questions usually begin with “What“ or “How".  Here are some examples of powerful questions:  What do you want? What is this costing you? What are the possibilities? What is a different perspective? What did you learn? How do you move forward?

RequestsThe coach asks for specific action from the client in order to move ahead toward achieving his or her goals. The client responds in one of three ways:  with a “yes,” “no,” or a counter-offer. Treat “homework” in this coaching program like a request — design it to suit you!

Sharing resources and strategies:  When the coach has specific, relevant knowledge or experience about job search strategies or other topics, she will share it in service to the client.

Visualizations:  Guided imagery helps you access your inner wisdom. At times unexpected images arise that you don’t like or understand. Trust that whatever comes up will be helpful to you. There is no incorrect way to do a visualization.


Tracy Fitzpatrick
Career and Life Coach
Boston, MA