Clydesdale Group, LLC

What is coaching?

A Closer Look

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a collaborative, professional relationship. It’s a confidential framework for inquiry that is customized to meet your unique questions and concerns. One size does not fit all.

It’s also an opportunity to identify what you value, what you need, what drives you and what you want.

It’s designed to raise awareness, generate insights, inspire action and create accountability for achieving the goals and results you seek.

It’s based on the premise that you’re capable of drawing your own conclusions, finding appropriate solutions and setting your own direction for achievement and success.

There is often confusion between coaching, counseling, consulting and mentoring; it’s important to understand the distinctions between these four unique approaches. Each approach is highly valuable and worthwhile. While they all may have some common threads each one addresses a different need.

How is coaching different than counseling or therapy?

Counseling, or therapy, often looks to the past in order to discover, heal and understand.
Coaching, on the other hand, looks to the future in order to make a good life even better. In coaching, the starting point is the client’s desire for personal and professional success. Coaching focuses on forwarding all aspects of the client’s life to extraordinary. Coaching is not about how you came to be who you are; it’s about getting you from where you are now to a future that you want.

How is coaching different than consulting?

A consultant is an expert who dispenses advice and has answers. The consultant holds the agenda, imparts knowledge and offers suggestions to improve effectiveness and increase success.
Coaching sees the client as creative, capable, intelligent, and having answers within themselves or the resources to find them. Coaches act on the premise that the definitive expert regarding your life and work is you.

How is coaching different than mentoring?

A mentor often has many more years of experience than the person being supported. Mentoring is akin to role-modeling—the client sees attributes, qualities or abilities in the mentor that he/she wishes to learn or emulate.
Coaching is a partnering of two equals which focuses on the unique and intrinsic qualities already within the client that may not be recognized or appreciated. The coach helps the client affirm and embrace their own true self.

What Does Coaching do For You?

Coaching jump starts you. Coaching with a professional coach accelerates growth and achievement that can be difficult to accomplish on your own.

Coaching facilitates clarity and self awareness. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of. Self awareness serves as a foundation for powerful choices.

Coaching creates accountability. Insight alone won’t move us forward. Committing to take certain action between sessions increases the likelihood that you will.

Coaching keeps you on track. Loss of momentum and motivation is one of the reasons we don’t follow through. Coaching keeps you connected to your vision and goals.

Coaching provides immediate feedback. This allows you to maintain momentum and, if needed, course correct immediately.

Coaching builds on itself, over time. There’s a cumulative impact of working together.

We follow the Co-Active Coaching model established by The Coaches Training Institute.The Institute defines Co-Active Coaching as follows:

“Co-Active Coaching is a unique, proactive alliance with coach and client, working together as equals in meeting the needs of the client. Fervent curiosity is more important than specialized knowledge.

The Coaches Training Institute holds that all people are naturally creative, resourceful, whole, and completely capable of finding their own answers to whatever challenges they face. In Co-Active Coaching, the client has the answers and the job of the Co-Active Coach is to listen and empower rather than inform and advise. The Coach has the questions, rather than the other way around. We also believe that all parts of people’s lives—their careers, relationships, recreation, personal growth, and finances, for example—are interrelated and should be addressed as such. We coach the whole person.


The main criterion for becoming a Co-Active Coach is simple: One must be fascinated by human potential, inspired by individual creativity, and unwaveringly committed to holding others as grand and capable.”
As quoted in The Advocate:

“Co-active coaching is a thought clarification process. It’s different because of two of its underlying assumptions.

The first is that no other person can ever know enough about you to decide for you more effectively than you can decide for yourself. The primary need of most people is not for the advice or direction of others. Rather, the primary need of most people is for clarification of their own thinking. That’s what co-active coaching does.

Co-active coaching’s second underlying assumption is that you are intrinsically creative, resourceful and whole. Coaching is a way to for you to discover, with the aid of a trained coach, what you value, what you need and what you want out of your life. This form of coaching is called “co-active” because it is a customized “designed alliance” between coach and client to maximize the benefit of coaching to each client. Properly trained co-active coaches utilize a toolkit of skills to enable you to clarify your thinking. Your coach need know virtually nothing of the specifics of issues with which you are grappling. Rather, he or she is the guide who enables you to clearly assess your situation and then deal with it in the manner best suited to you. Coaching is clarifying, is balancing and is fulfilling.”

Is Coaching for You?

Coaching can be of tremendous value for everyone. Most people would rate their lives at about a 7 out of 10 and settle for that. If you are ready to do what it takes to achieve what you want and start living at a 9, 10 or even 11, then coaching is for you.

Coaching is for…

People in Career Transition A person who is in a decision-making process regarding career future.
People in Life Transition A person who finds him/herself in a form of transition, whether it is a relationship, re-entering the work force, retirement, health, bereavement, new baby, financial growth or decline or other type of personal situation.

People looking to find a better life balance A person who wants to enhance his/her vision of life, or begin to plan overall goals, or consider how to balance life and realize a higher level of fulfillment by looking at values, habits and self defeating thinking.

People looking to enhance relationships A person who wants to deepen current relationships, explore new ways of relating, exercise more effective communication in marital, romantic, parental or friendship relationships.

People looking to explore spirituality A person who is dissatisfied with their level of spiritual understanding or experience and wants an unbiased format to explore thoughts and feelings around spiritual issues and ideas.

People in executive positions An executive working in a corporation or a non-profit organization who wants to work more effectively with teams, departments and the board of directors to initiate change, set and achieve goals and increase value.

People who are self-employed Coaches work with entrepreneurs, professionals in private practice, people who run a business from their home and executives who are thinking of leaving companies and launching a business to hold the vision, develop strategies, create accountability and celebrate successes.

Corporate Coaching is used by many companies to create a unified vision, better team collaboration, office harmony and life balance for their executives. In turn, this investment contributes to the company’s bottom line as the success of the employee is the success of the company.

How to Hire a Coach

1. Interview the prospective coaches. This can be in person or on the telephone.

2. Find out about the coach’s training and experience. Have they completed the advanced training and become certified at one of the International Coach Federation accredited schools? Was their training competency based? Were they supervised and examined by senior coaches? What other work and life experiences do they possess that may support their ability to coach? How long have they been coaching? How many clients do they maintain? What are their particular niches?

3. Ask them if they have their own coach. This shows a commitment to their own growth as well as having someone to mentor them and keep their skills current.

4. Ask for referrals and client testimonials. Call them!

5. Ask them to describe their particular approach to coaching. Is their approach, specialty area and style compatible with your objectives? Ask potential coaches about their coaching philosophy.

6. Ask for a complimentary coaching session – this is an excellent way to experience the coach’s style and approach.

7. Confirm that the coach is a member of the International Coach Federation and therefore is governed by professional practice and ethics guidelines. Beware of impostors as coaching is a fairly new profession and it is evolving quickly.

8. Base your final decision on a combination of the coach’s qualifications: training, depth of experience, testimonials, and how well you align with his/her perspectives, approach and personal demeanor.

What Clients Report

Confidence in decision making
Greater joy
Re-engagement in the workplace
Improved relationships
A sense of freedom and aliveness

Increased energy
Greater focus
Less stress
More fun
Pride in their achievements
Greater optimism and clarity


Benefits of Using a Coach

Professional coaching brings many wonderful benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence. And, the list does not end there. Those who undertake coaching also can expect appreciable improvement in productivity, satisfaction with life and work, and the attainment of relevant goals.



 Increased Productivity

Professional coaching maximizes potential and, therefore, unlocks latent sources of productivity.




 Positive People

Building the self-confidence of employees to face challenges is critical in meeting organizational demands.



 Return on Investment

Coaching generates learning and clarity for forward action with a commitment to measurable outcomes.The vast majority of companies (86%) say they at least made their investment back.




Satisfied Clients

Virtually all companies and individuals who hire a coach are satisfied.


Source: Benefits of Using a Coach, International Coaching Federation

Coaching ROI



Coaching helps successful entrepreneurs become more successful by reaching and sustaining peak performance.

Studies in larger organizations show that coaching top executives at large companies yields 5-7x the company’s initial investment.  While studies haven’t been done on the value of coaching on smaller companies and startups, it’s reasonable to expect that entrepreneurs are under similar pressures and their actions at least as critical to the success of their organizations so that the value of coaching might be greater.

Entrepreneurs are generally lifelong learners; an executive coach may be the only person in your life who is solely devoted to accelerating and supporting your learning, growth, and self-knowledge. This in turn supports you making the best possible decisions and doing the best possible work for your company.

Wondering if coaching is worth it? Here are some studies about the return on investment for coaching.

Coaching is gaining in popularity, and studies have shown that business coaching for top executives at large companies yields 5-7x the company’s initial investment. There have not yet been studies done on the value of coaching at smaller companies or startups, but executives in these situations are under similar pressure to perform, and their actions are at least as critical to the success of their organizations, if not more so.

  • Companies that have used professional coaching for business reasons have seen a median return on their investment of 7 times their initial investment, according to a study commissioned by ICF, and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Association Resource Centre Inc. (ICF Global Coaching Client Study, 2009)
  • A study commissioned by a professional services firm, and performed by MatrixGlobal showed that the ROI on coaching was 8x the initial investment. (The Business Impact of Leadership Coaching at a Professional Services Firm, Merrill C. Anderson, PhD, 2006)
  • Three stock portfolios comprised only of companies that spend aggressively on employee development each outperformed the S&P 500 by 17-35% during 2003. (How’s Your Return on People? Harvard Business Review, Laurie Bassi and Daniel McMurrer, 2004)
  • Employees at Nortel Networks estimate that their coaching programs earned the company a 2x return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business, according to calculations prepared by Merrill C. Anderson, a professor of clinical education at Drake University.  Including the financial benefits from employee retention boosted the returns to 7.8x the initial investment. (Coaching the Coaches, Psychology Today, 2004, and Case Study on the Return on Investment of Executive Coaching, Merrill C. Anderson, PhD, 2001)

According to a study of senior level executives at Fortune 1000 companies who received developmental coaching, the average return from the programs was nearly 5.7 times the initial investment. (Maximizing the Impact of Executive Coaching, The Manchester Review, Volume 6, Number 1, Joy McGovern,, 2001).

Source: Coaching ROI, Startup Happiness Reports on Huge ROI ‘s For Executive Coaching

In case you missed Matt Symonds recent article on’s about executive coaching,  he reported that corporate America is spending more than $1 billion annually on executive coaching.  This growth in coaching is due to a heightened focus on developing high potential leaders (rather than a remedial effort to help derailing employees), and the leaders themselves say it is working.  According to Symonds, a recent global survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Association Resource Centre found that the mean Return on Investment in coaching was 7 times the initial investment, and over a quarter of coaching clients reported a stunning ROI of 10 to 49 times the cost.  (The International Coach Federation’s announcement of the survey is here.    According to ICF, individual executive coaching clients, as distinct from corporate clients where the coach is retained by the corporation on behalf of the executive, also reported a strong ROI on their coaching investment, with a median of 3.44).

Symonds provides a brief overview of how some of the world’s top business schools are starting to include “the intense, one-to-one techniques” involved in coaching in their MBA programs, suggesting that academia has recognized the real-world legitimacy of executive coaching, and is looking to get on board.  Symonds also hints that academic theory (or emotional intelligence, for its own sake) is a poor substitute for practical, pragmatic coaching focused on improved results.  I agree.

Effective executive coaches make no assumptions about what the client needs to function successfully.  Instead, they work from the executive’s agenda to help the client accelerate the development of the insight needed to deliver the desired change, whether that’s enhanced communication, time management, building high performance teams, or some other area of focus.  Self-reliance, and not dependency, is the goal.  What other investments in professional development do you know of that provide an average client-reported ROI of somewhere between 340 to 700%?  The reasons for such high returns are clear:  leadership matters.  A lot.



What topics or issues are appropriate for coaching?

People come to coaching seeking change. Some bring a single topic, others bring a set of challenges. Areas of focus have included: career/life integration, professional advancement and transition, as well as professional development, focusing on career planning, communicating with impact, leadership skills, strategic partnerships, interpersonal relationships, balancing priorities and managing time.

How is coaching different from therapy?

Coaching is forward-looking. Unlike therapy, it focuses on the present and the future. Coaching is also “self” informed based on the belief that you are creative, resourceful and whole; you have the answers and there is nothing to “fix.”

How long will we work together?

The length of any coaching engagement depends on your goals, how frequently we’ll meet and your level of commitment. My coaching engagements have been as short as three months and as long as two years.

Where do coaching sessions take place?

I coach primarily by phone. This eliminates travel time and allows you to call from wherever you are, from whatever quiet, comfortable place allows uninterrupted time to focus on you.

How can I know if coaching is right for me?

The complimentary consultation is an opportunity to explore coaching as a possible avenue for your growth, advancement and success. If you’re ready and willing to step into a healthier, happier life, follow the link below and let’s set up an appointment to see how coaching can support you.

Media Coverage of Coaching

“Coaching is a profession that has synthesized the best from business, psychology, communications, mentoring, counseling, consulting, sports, philosophy, spirituality and finance. A coach challenges you and takes the time to find out what a winning life means to you. A coach focuses on the skills you need today, in order to create what you want now and for your future, versus focusing on your past and how it is affecting you.”
The Vancouver Sun

“The coaching process proved simple, straightforward and astonishingly effective.”

“Coaches contend that questions are like magic keys—the right question can open up a treasure chest of hopes and aspirations.”
Good Times

“More and more folks are finding that nothing beats having your own personal Bela Karolyi to help negotiate the balance beams and the uneven bars of life.”
Time Magazine

“What has changed is the awareness of the need for change. The awareness of what is important to people, and what they are willing to fight for. The next step after that, is figuring out what to do about it or where to start and that’s where coaches come in.”
The Vancouver Sun

“Companies offer coaching as a prerequisite to proven managers, in the understanding that everyone can benefit from a detached observer.”
The New York Times

“…among 10,000 US life coaches, part of a burgeoning new field which, proponents say, picks up where psychotherapy leaves off—planning for the future rather than dwelling in the past.”
The Vancouver Province

“Soon a coach will be seen as someone you have as a matter of course to make your life run efficiently, like an accountant.”
Sunday Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph

“It’s a phenomenon that is growing in popularity around the globe in such places as England, Russia, Australia and the USA.”
Harper’s Bazaar

“The skills required by a life coach involve a dexterous combination of commitment and common sense, and unlike opinionated relatives, complacent colleagues and jaded friends, a life coach has only one vested interest—to see people access their unique potential and realize long-held dreams.”
Nature & Health

“Life-Coaching is having a dedicated mentor, it’s getting knowledgeable support and encouragement and new way of looking at things when need it.”
Executive Female

“The benefits of coaching appear to win over the most cynical clients within just a few weeks.”
Industry Week

“Coaching is partnership rather than a course.”
The Sydney Morning Herald

“Career management coaches… can identify missing skills or style difficulties and pragmatic tips.”
New York Times

“A personal coach can help you by getting you to spell out what it is that you really want and then working with you to make the changes that actually enable you to get there.”
The Vancouver Province

History of Coaching

Millions of dollars are spent every year on seminars, workshops and self-help programs that get people fired up, focused and committed—only to be pulled back into the frenzy of life days, if not hours, later. Statistics show that 67% of what we learn is forgotten in a day, 80% in a week and 97% in 2 weeks.

Laura Whitworth and Thomas Leonard created a system that supports people in every area of life. They recognized that people have the aspirations to change, grow and create what they want. It was out of a desire to create lasting change that the coaching profession was born.As a team, Thomas and Laura developed the philosophies, methodologies and skills that became the core of the industry. They have founded the two most respected coaching training schools in the world, The Coaches Training Institute and Coach University.

The coaching profession is relatively young in comparison to other industries. However, in the last decade it has grown tremendously, not only in the number of coaches and clients, but in terms of formalized industry standards and training. This ensures the highest caliber of coaching service is available to everyone.

To inquire about ICF accredited schools, visit International Coach Federation.

International Coach Federation

Founded in 1992, the International Coach Federation is the professional association of personal and business coaches that seeks to preserve the integrity of coaching around the globe. The ICF is the largest non-profit professional association of personal and business coaches worldwide with more than 16,000 members in 100 countries.

The ICF helps people find the coach most suitable for their needs through their International Coach Referral Service. It supports and fosters development of the coaching profession; it has programs to maintain and upgrade the standards of the profession; it conducts a certification program that is the gold standard for coaches worldwide; and it conducts the world’s premier conference and other educational events for coaches.

It is the immediate goal of the ICF to become a strong and unified voice for the coaching profession and provide ever increasing value for its members. To this end, the ICF has developed and implemented a comprehensive credentialing program to:

1. Strengthen the coaching profession and build a solid foundation of proactive self-regulation.
2. Establish industry regulations and minimum standards for coaches and coach training agencies.
3. Assure the public that participating coaches and coach training agencies meet or exceed established industry standards.

The ICF has accredited the training programs of eight institutions that meet ICF standards for certifying professional coaches. ExecLife Coaching follows the co-active coaching model designed by the The Coaches Training Institute.

Professional coaching and the ICF are experiencing exponential growth and national press exposure. The proliferation of those joining the ranks as coaches is both remarkable and a testament to the tremendous value and potential of professional coaching.

To date, over 900 coaches have received their Professional Certified Coach (PCC) or Master Certified Coach (MCC) designations from the ICF. With chapters across the U.S. and in numerous other countries, the ICF is a non-profit organization with board members, staff, volunteers and members located all over the world. ICF is actively involved in researching and developing programs that will serve coaches and their clients.


The International Coach Federation adheres to a form of coaching that views the client as the expert in his/her personal and/or professional life and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole.
Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

• Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
• Encourage client self-discovery
• Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
• Hold the client as responsible and accountable