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Coaching FAQ's


How do I meet with Success Coaching?

Meet with the Success Coach and apply to be coached. Book your own meeting:, attend an Introduction to Success Coaching workshop or drop by the Gathering Place on Mondays between 12:30 - 2:30pm.

What is Professional Coaching?

Professional coaching is provided by a credentialed or certified coach. The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as a "thought-provoking and creative process that inspires (coachees) to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe 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 responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential."

: International Coach Federation - Coaching FAQs

How is coaching different from other service professions?

  • Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict and typically focusses on your past and seeks to heal trauma. The therapist is the expert.
  • Consulting typically works with business, and will diagnose problems and offer solutions for change. The consultant provides the solutions to the problem or issues brought to him or her.
  • Mentoring is a service which provides advice and wisdom based on the mentor's personal experience. Mostly deals with succession training and seeks to help someone do what you do.
  • Coaching is future focused and aimed at understanding barriers to goals and designing strategies to eliminate or overcome those barriers. It is an equal partnership.

Success coaching is a partnership focused on YOU and what you want to achieve. You do not go to coaching to be "fixed" nor to get advice on how to make your decisions. You have the resources and strengths within you to create your own solutions, but you may be "stuck". I ask questions and support you as you make the necessary shifts to reach your goals. Coaching creates clarity and inspires deliberate action towards the achievement of goals and dreams. I can also share resources and do some teaching, but the majority of our time together will be in coaching mode. I as your coach will stand with you and help you identify your challenges through self-awareness and turn challenges into victories with accountability to reach goals in your hands.

Is the VIU Coach a professional coach?

Yes, Sharon Kelly, VIU's Success Coach, is a Certified Life Coach (CLC), a Wellness Coaching Specialist (WCS) through ILCT, a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a Board Certified Coach (BCC).

Professional Certified Coach, ICF BCC - Board Certified Coach certification   

Within the coaching partnership, what does the coach do? The individual?

The coach:

  • provides objective assessment and observation that fosters the individual's self-awareness.
  • Listens closely to fully understand the individual's circumstances
  • Acts as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and implementing thoughtful planning and decision making
  • Champions opportunities and potential, encouraging stretch and challenge commensurate with personal strengths and aspirations
  • Fosters shifts in Thinking that reveal fresh perspectives
  • Challenges blind spots to illuminate new possibilities and support the creation of alternative scenarios
  • Maintains professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adheres to the coaching profession's code of ethics

The individual being coached:

  • Decides what the topic for coaching is going to be from meeting to meeting
  • May use assessments to enhance self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Envisions personal success
  • Assumes full responsibility for personal decisions and actions
  • Utilizes the coaching process to promote possibility thinking and fresh perspectives
  • Takes courageous action in alignment with personal goals and aspirations
  • Engages big-picture thinking and problem solving skills
  • Takes the tools, concepts, models and principles provided by the coach and engages in effective forward actions.
* From: International Coach Federation - Coaching FAQs

What is the coaching process?

Coaching typically begins with a personal interview to find out the individual's current opportunities and challenges that also defines the scope of the relationship, priorities for action and desired outcomes from the coaching relationship. The individual may be asked to complete specific actions that support the achievement of the individual's stated goals. The coach may provide additional resources in the form of articles, information, assessments, checklists or models to support the individual's thinking or actions.

Coaching succeeds by helping the client work out what is important to them and how to create strategies to reach goals. If making a transition back into school or to a new program is your concern, coaching helps you discover and align your unique strengths to your schooling/career choice.  It is also about focusing and sharpening your skills and talents and applying them to a range of possibilities including one's approach to being a student. Coaching assists people to examine their own style, assumptions, beliefs, habits & patterns to create focus, awareness and personal growth. Coaching is an appreciative approach.

What is the coaching relationship designed to do?

The coaching relationship is designed to support the student to take responsibility for choices, actions and behavior. Students are encourage to:

  • Be intentional about making empowering, conscious choices that truly reflect and support the individuals needs/desires/goals in life.
  • Follow through and be accountable to any action planning steps/activities generated as a result of each coaching session.
  • Commit to coaching as a partnerships that supports the ability to deepen self-awareness around challenges, issues and opportunities you may be experiencing.
  • Utilize emerging insights/learning to enhance personal and professional growth and development.

What topics or issues might a student bring to coaching?

An individual might choose to work with a coach for any number of reasons. Your goal in working with the coach may be to:

  • Boost academic confidence and self-esteem
  • Identify priorities and manage time better
  • Gain clarity on choices, set goals, make a plan
  • Get organized and deal with distractions
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Get "unstuck" and make decisions
  • Change unhelpful or unhealthy habits and patterns
  • Create habits for success and effective study habits
  • Achieve true life-work balance
  • Create better relationships with self and others

What will we talk about the first time we meet?

The initial coaching session with Sharon usually consists of an in-depth in-take session to clarify your current situation, your short and long term goals, needs, values and challenges as well as what your measure of success looks like. If you did not attend the "Introduction to Success Coaching" workshop, we will also go over the coaching agreement. If you attend a drop in coaching meeting at the Gathering Place, we will talk about whatever is on your mind in the moment.

Do you use any "assessment tools"?

What do you want to change? A variety of tools can be useful depending on what it is you want to focus on changing. Here are a few of the tools we can use:

How often will we meet?

Typical coaching sessions occur weekly or biweekly for the full semester.  The length of the contract varies and up to you to decide. One time spot coaching is available but the vast majority of students will apply to gain support over the entire semester.  Some goals can be realized in as few as a conversation or two. Others take longer to accomplish and you may want the support of the coach over the course of a semester. Group coaching meets weekly over the course of a semester starting the third week of the semester. This year that means the Monday group start on September 18 and the Wednesday group start on September 20th, 2017.

Who sets the agenda for our conversations?

You are always in charge of the focus of the coaching conversation. The coach will align with what you want to focus on in coaching. In group coaching, the conversation is driven by the people in the group and what they bring, but there is also a bit of structure to the kinds of topics we will address from week to week.

It is my job to hold space for you, listen well, ask good questions, and guide the coaching conversation to elicit your wisdom in how you will achieve what you desire. Sometimes it takes a shift in our thoughts to create momentum towards our preferred results or way of being in the world. I also share resources and teaching moments as appropriate. Sharon Kelly

Throughout the coaching sessions it is the role of the coach to discover and clarify what is important to you and inspire achievement of goals. Sometimes shifts in patterns, habits, thinking or perceptions about self or others must happen for momentum towards successful transitions can occur. Each session will consist of sharing wins or gratitude, current challenges and opportunities and focus on a topic of your choice. Throughout the coaching conversation, your coach holds space for you to explore, create actions and initiate a plan.  We will also explore and find appropriate resources for you and your situation.

What is a "Coaching Agreement"?

A "coaching agreement" outlines what coaching is and is not as well as your role and mine in the process. I will show it to you and go over it with you in an "Introduction to Success Coaching" workshop or an individual coaching conversation.

Coaching Agreement

Are all conversations confidential?

Yes, definitely. Our coach is a Board Certified Coach (#3371) and abides by the BCC Code of Ethics and also belongs to the International Coach Federation (ICF) and abides by the ICF Code of Ethics. A code of Ethics provides guidelines, accountability and standard of conduct for all BCC Certified Coaches and all ICF members.

Anything discussed will be kept confidential unless you grant permission, in writing, to share it. However, it is important that you understand that there are exceptions to the requirement to keep confidentiality as follows:

  • Currently occurring or planned harm to yourself or others
  • Criminal activity
  • When records are subpoenaed

In these cases, the law requires the break of confidentiality, but not privacy.

Where can I find the Success Coach?

The Success Coach is located in Nanaimo in Building 250 Room 372.

If no one is in with the coach for a scheduled appointment, you are welcome to pop in and say hello. 

How much does it cost?

Vancouver Island University pays for the coaching services provided to you and the cost is NOT passed on to you. So, the service is free to you.