If you are reading these Frequently Asked Questions, then you have some level of interest in coaching for use as customized executive development.  This FAQ is intended to provide you with a description of how coaching is conducted here at Capitol Coaching.

– Nancy Andriuk

More About Coaching

What is coaching?

Coaching is a series of one-on-one meetings with a trained expert who works with you to identify, prioritize, and troubleshoot goals while you are simultaneously taking action toward achieving those goals.

How do I choose the right coach?

In the Washington DC Metro area, we are fortunate to have a broad pool of qualified coaches.  My advice is to choose the coach who best matches your professional development needs.   I come to coaching from a business background rather than a psychology background.  That gives me the perspective of someone who has stood and walked in the shoes of an executive.

What's the difference between executive coaching and individual coaching?

Executive coaching:

  • Paid by the employer
  • Broader objectives
  • Focus on real life work challenges plus leadership development
  • Longer duration (typically 6 to 12 months)
  • Emphasis on work with some work/life balance

Individual coaching

  • Private pay
  • Narrower objectives
  • Focus on career realignment and skill development
  • Shorter duration (typically 3 months).
  • Emphasis on personal self-discovery and career planning

Do you offer personal life coaching?

No, but I can provide referrals to some really wonderful Life Coaches who do.

How is coaching different from having a conversation about work issues?

A coach is a thought partner with an outside perspective who is focused on you and who does not have a role in your workplace.

Coaching is a targeted, timed session that focuses you on your goals.  In its simplest form, you will decide:

  • What are my goals?
  • What are my options to move toward those goals?
  • What are the obstacles?
  • What action can I take to move ahead?

How is coaching different from consulting?

Consultants are experts who are paid to give answers.  Coaches are experts who are paid to help a client find his or her own answers.

How is coaching different from counseling?

Coaching looks to the future – what can you do now to improve your future.

Counseling looks to the past – what can you learn from the past to understand yourself better.

Coaching works with a functional leader who wants to excel.

Counseling helps bring the client to normal functioning.

I have a business background and am not trained in psychology.  Therefore, if issues arise in coaching that may benefit more from counseling, we will discuss options for going forward.

How is coaching different from mentoring?

A mentor is the “master” and the mentee is the “student.”  A coach is the client’s partner.

Coaching sessions

Are coaching sessions in person or on the phone?

Both.  I start with in person and then move to a mixture of both. We all love meeting in person best, but with the realities of busy schedules and travel, it is helpful to have the phone option.  It is surprising how well phone works, especially after a familiar rapport has been established. But nothing is as good as in person, in my opinion.

What happens in the first few sessions?

You give me the situational background and we establish the broad objectives for the engagement.  We jump in and get started and adjust as we go.  By the end of the second session, we have established specific, measurable goals and you have already tried out alternative approaches.

Will I have homework?

Yes.  Coaching is action oriented.  By the end of each session, we will decide together what specific action steps you will be accountable to take.  I will ask you in the next session how it went and that will inform us as we proceed.

Is coaching confidential?

Yes…. except.  I do not discuss what happens in the coaching session.  However, clients often want to talk to others about what they are encountering in the coaching session, and that’s great.  For you lawyers out there, I recognize that notes and recollections are “discoverable.” After many years in HR, I have learned to follow the Washington Post rule:  Don’t write down anything you don’t want to see in a WaPo article.

If my employer pays for coaching, does my boss or HR department hear everything we talk about?

That is an important question that is worth some extra digital space.

For coaching to be successful, a bond of trust and openness must develop between the coach and the individual being coached.  It is also fair for the employer to have a sense that progress is being made.

To address both these needs, I suggest to the employer that I will provide a general report on coaching goals and progress at the start, middle and close of the engagement.  The employer agrees that my discussion notes, any coaching test results (such as MBTI) and internal progress measurements are held privately unless the individual being coached chooses to share the information.

The exception to the above approach is coaching that is done to resolve documented work performance issues – shortfalls like “he can’t deal with people” or “she doesn’t follow through on her end of a project.”  In those cases, the coach is asked to give detailed feedback to the employer on the client’s remedial progress, often with a “stay or go” result.  I don’t typically do that kind of coaching.

What happens to notes taken during a coaching session?

I take general notes that are useful to memorialize the discussion, record goals and measures of progress, provide helpful models, etc.  Often, the individual being coached asks me to have a copy, which is fine.  I do not provide these session notes to an employer unless required by law.

Goals of Coaching

How do measurements and testing work in coaching?

For discussions we have in session, I like back of the envelope measurements.  From a scale of 1 to 10, where are you now in terms of [insert goal].  Where do you want to be?  Then periodically, we step back and measure progress.

Other measurements may include any employer provided results such as a 360 degree review, performance review, or assessments.  We will look through those together to identify data and viewpoints that can inform us as you work toward goals.

I also like to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for clients as it is very popular and provides interesting information about leadership style.

In addition to the above, there are all sorts of good measuring tools out there – many of them free.  The important point is that they are useful in working toward goals and not a convenient distraction.

Can coaching help me with networking?

In customized executive coaching, if a leader has specific networking goals such as breaking into a new market or being more comfortable at events, then it is integrated in as a goal.

A lot of private pay career coaching time is spent on helping clients to a) recognize his or her strengths and preferences; b) redefine what “networking” looks like when using those strengths and preferences; and c) be accountable to follow through on action plans.

Can coaching help me with my resume and job search?

There are job search and resume writing services that help give you a nice looking fish to shop around.  Career coaching is broader and more developmental.  You coach guides you to decide where to fish, what kind of fish you are seeking, how to fish, and which ones are stinky and should be thrown back.


Who pays for coaching?

The employer pays for executive coaching, usually out of the training and professional development budget.   For key leaders, the one-on-one confidential focus of coaching is a much better return on investment than sitting in a seminar.  For emerging leaders, same answer.

Otherwise, an individual pays for his or own coaching outside of the employment relationship.  Why would someone do that?  Typically, a client is dealing with a time of career transition where he or she wants to take a step back and invest in professional self-discovery before moving forward.

How much do you charge for coaching?

Employer paid executive coaching is typically contracted in 6-month segments and ranges from $4,000 to $7,000 depending upon how many times a month we meet.

Private pay individual coaching may be from a 1 to 3-month segment and ranges from $1,500 to $3,000.

Additional time is available at a negotiable hourly rate, inclusive of travel time (within the Washington DC Metro area) and outside preparation/follow-up.

Based on an understanding of your needs, I provide potential clients with a written proposal.

Are you on the GSA schedule?

I work with Federal SES executives as a sub-contractor, not as a prime.  If your agency has an existing prime contract provider for coaching, they can contact me about being added as a sub. Capitol Coaching is a small, woman-owned business.

What are your coaching credentials?

  • Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education.  The BCC includes specialty credentials as a Business/Corporate/Executive/ Leadership Coach and Career Coach.
  • Masters in Business Administration
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources
  • Certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Check my bio for more on professional management experience.