Eva, how is a coach different from a psychotherapist?
The basic difference is in the approach. The coach does not give advice on what to do and how to do it. His or her role is to guide a person to their own solution. The coach is not a psychotherapist because he does not look at the history of a problem. Psychotherapy is mainly a therapeutic method. Coaching is looking ahead into the future. One of my clients summed it up this way: „Psychotherapy is more caring and mothering. It deals with chronic situations; coaching is based on a musculine principle. It is goal oriented.“
A good coach should also be able to recognise whether his or her client would not rather benefit from psychotherapy. If that is the case, he or she should refer the client to psychotherapeutic care. In other words, an ethical coach recognises the situation when the client´s needs are beyond coaching.


And isn´t coaching basically the same as talking to a friend over coffee or beer in a pub?
It might look like it but it is not. A friend will advice you according to what he or she would do in the particular situation ignoring the fact that you are different. His or her solution won´t work for you. A coach will lead you into finding your own resource of solutions and renew your trust in it.

It seems that the public views coaching as the means of personal development for top managers or sportsmen. Where do you think this impression originated?
Coaching really has its beginning in sport. Later it started to be used in the area of management. Only in recent years it is available to general public. This narrow view of coaching is therefore understandable but obsolete.

Let´s be specific. In what life situations can coaching help?
Coaching can be an effective tool in reaching both professional and personal goals. It can help people find work-life balance, a suitable job, improvement of relationships at the workplace etc. It can be also a great asset to entrepreneurs who wish to increase their turnover or broaden clientele base.
On a personal level coaching can help people acquire new skills, improve communication (for example in the area of empathy or diplomacy), help find a life partner, manage stress, increase self –confidence or achieve life satisfaction.
It´s also beneficial for changing life style; for example in the area of weight loss or quitting habits like smoking.

Really? A coach can help me slim down or stop smoking?
Yes, the whole proces of couching is effective due to its method based on how your our brain works. Therefore, it is applicable on almost every life situation. I really did have couple cleints who came seeking weight loss. What was interesting was the fact that each one of them found a different way to achieving this goal. They all slimmed down using different means. Here we are coming back to the basic principal of coaching – discovering your own solution. When I was attending my first coaching session, I quit smoking.

How does our brain work and how is it utilized in coaching?
It is based on neuroscience. Our brain needs a structure. Coaching provides it. People can then find creative solutions in the safety of it. These solutions are based on the individuals´ own values and possibilities.
Another thing which influences the brain positively is looking into the future and on a vision. It is important to be finding new behaviour patterns and habits. Although it is not possible to erase a past habit out of our brain, it is posssible to replace it with a new one which we further strengthen. And this is how Brain based coaching work.

How can a person choose a good coach?
It is a lot about the personality and experience of a coach. A good one should explain his/her method to you. He or she should also help you set goals which you wish to achieve. Without them you have no idea where you are going. I would also be careful about too specialized couches – for example those who only deal with finances. Each person is a complex being and needs to be approached as one.
Last but not the least, it is the chemistry between a couch and a client, which is crucial. If you do not feel good with the couch, cooperation is not worth it. Most coaches offer the first session for free so I would recommend trying two or three coaches at first and then decide which one you want to work with. You have literally nothing to loose.

What role does the education of a coach play?
Coaching is not a science as such. At the moment it is not taught as a subject at a university. However, it is always a good sign if a coach is certified. One example of a good organization where a coach can be acredited is IFC (International Couching Federation). It garantees the quality of the method as well as continual education of their coaches.

In closing, what should a person bring to a coaching session to benefit from it? What can he or she expect to get from it?
It is sufficient if people bring themselves.

Really? Isn´t a strong motivation an important factor?
People who end up at a coaching session are already motivated. Such people have been considering a life change for quite a time and coming to a coach is the next logical step. The effect of coaching could be then summarized like this: people find out that every life situation has a solution and they know it.

Lenka Bicanová