What is coaching?
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as "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… This [coaching] interaction creates clarity and moves the client into action. Coaching accelerates the client's progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where clients are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future, recognizing that results are a matter of the client’s intentions, choices and actions, supported by the coach’s efforts and application of the coaching process."
How does the process work?
As your coach, we help you develop and implement action plans to assist you in attaining your desired vision and goals. Our process uses inquiry, assessment, reflection, dialogue, and specific homework assignments to build your level of self-awareness, skill, responsibility, and sustained momentum. We provide structure, focus, feedback, and support. As with sports coaching, we don’t do the actual work that leads to your goal achievement. Our job is to help you reach for and achieve positive outcomes.
What is the difference between career counseling and (career) coaching?
Good question! Many career counselors and career coaches are still trying to sort this one out, and there is disagreement even among professionals in the field. For many of us there is little, if any, distinction. Some say that career counselors work more with the assessment phases of career development and that career coaches work more with the implementation / execution phase of career development. At Bridgeway, we believe that effective career coaching covers all aspects of the career cycles, and we are skilled at all phases: development, assessment, decision-making and implementation.
How long does the process take?
That depends on the goals you’d like to achieve coupled with your unique profile and style. Some clients hire us for strategic short-term consultation of one to three sessions. Other clients hire us for four to six sessions and then they are finished, and still others work with us on and off for several months or years as they meet their goals and set new ones. During our initial courtesy meeting, we can discuss the range of services appropriate to your situation. Request an initial consultation here.
How often would I meet with my coach?
That's up to you and depends on the nature of the goals to be achieved, your preferred pace for the work, and your budget. We often recommend two to four sessions per month in the initial stages of working together. Many clients taper to a less frequent or an "as needed" number after they have made significant progress and have established momentum.
Are the fees tax-deductible?
Sometimes they are. Please consult with your financial advisor or review the IRS guidelines.
What if I can't afford your fees?
In the Seattle area, we suggest you contact Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal, a nonprofit organization that offers affordable high quality career counseling. We hold a limited number of reduced fee spaces in our practice.
What are your qualifications to help me?
Please review our biographies here. Each of our coaches has over 20 years of experience helping clients set and attain ambitious goals. We have broad based and extensive business experience and have coached individuals across multiple industries and sectors. At Bridgeway Career & Professional Development, you won't get a "one size fits all" approach.
What if I schedule a coaching meeting and then I need to reschedule or cancel?
We ask for 24 hours advance notice if you need to re-schedule or cancel a session. We understand that on occasion a last minute circumstance beyond your control can prevent you giving 24 hours notice. We will do our best to work with you and your circumstance, however, we reserve the right to bill you in full for a missed face-to-face meeting, and $50 for a missed phone appointment.
For in-person work, where are meetings held?
We have offices in Mercer Island and Bellevue.
Is telephone-based work effective?
Yes. Many of our clients work with us by telephone and find this an efficient and effective method to maintain focus and on-going support for their career and professional development goals. For clients who are curious about what it is like to work with a coach via telephone, we recommend that you take advantage of the complimentary 20-minute telephone consultation to experience it for yourself. The process to request this consultation is here.
Do Bridgeway coaches use a bunch of tests to tell clients what careers they should choose?
Sometimes we choose to use assessments to accelerate the coaching process and to assist a client in gaining self-awareness. Other times no formal assessments are used because a client has already engaged in extensive self-exploration, or can provide us with previous assessment results. The decision about whether to use assessments is made jointly between the coach and client. If a client does wish to be assessed using formal tools, our coaches are qualified to administer and interpret a wide variety of assessments.
If I'm ready to look for a job, does Bridgeway offer placement? Will my coach introduce me to potential employers?
No. Bridgeway Career & Professional Development is not a recruiting or employment agency, and we do not provide personal introductions to employers. Placement or search firms are hired by employers to find candidates to fill jobs. We are hired by individuals (or employers who sponsor individuals) to provide personalized career, professional and executive development. Recruiters usually are seeking very specific skills and professional track records in order to meet the needs of the hiring organization and their first priority is to do a good job in finding talent for the organization that pays their bill. We work with clients on personal goals such as self-assessment, defining a personal marketing strategy, polishing a resume and cover letters, implementing a work search campaign, practicing interview skills, negotiating compensation, and planning how to achieve success to facilitate advancement to the next career level. All of this is good preparation in order to work effectively with a recruiter. If you are seeking a Seattle area recruiting company, please see this list. Can Bridgeway Career Development provide me with "insider information" about companies? How about names of hiring managers whom I should contact?
No. While a big part of career coaching is teaching a client how to conduct this type of due diligence and to gather market research to be used for decision-making, it is the responsibility of the client to track down this type of specific information.
Can I send email to my Bridgeway coach between sessions?
If you are a client who is currently working with us, you may use email as a convenient way to check in with us regarding coaching progress or to ask quick questions to stay on track between appointments. In addition, you may ask us to review previous assessments, resumes, cover letters, job descriptions, performance appraisals, and correspondence with employers or colleagues. We read all materials sent to us and, unless the volume becomes quite large, we do not charge our clients for this time. We send brief responses to such email requests and we then address issues more thoroughly during scheduled in-person and telephone meetings.
Will you write my resume?
We coach you on how to write your resume and we provide you with expert critique, advice and knowledge on effective resume content and strategies. If you decide you would like someone to do the actual creation or re-formatting of your resume document, we will help you to identify resources to achieve that.
Are your services guaranteed?
While we cannot guarantee the outcome of our services due to the variability of market conditions and the wide range of individual styles around motivation and perseverance, we absolutely guarantee the quality of what we do. As a client, if you are ever dissatisfied for any reason, please let us know so that we can address your concern.
Are services confidential?
Yes, our services are confidential with a few exceptions mandated by professional ethics and law (mostly concerned with harm to self or others). If you are using a work email address, we urge caution when you are sending us material via email. While we keep your data secure once we receive it, research indicates that a large percentage of employers read employee email.
If I want to see if the "chemistry" is good between myself and a Bridgeway coach, will you provide a complimentary meeting so that we can see if we work well together?
We are happy to offer a complimentary 20 minute consultation to answer any questions you might have, and to evaluate whether our services and work style are a good fit for you. Please Contact Us.
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