Frequently Asked Questions

If you have other questions, please be in touch: isabeauiqbal (at) gmail (dot) com

What is coaching?

What is coaching?

The fancy definition is that coaching is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.” (The International Coaching Federation)

Based on my experience as a coach and coachee, these are the words and ideas that, from the above, best capture the essence of coaching:

  • Partnering
  • Inspires
  • Unlocks…sources of…

Other words I would add that, to me, are 100% part of the coaching relationship:

  • trust
  • respect
  • acceptance
  • support
  • care
  • forward looking

What a coach does and doesn’t do

  • A coach doesn’t tell you what to do; we help you…
    • generate options, see different perspectives, and tune in to what is important.
    • clarify your values and strengths, and generate ways to overcome challenges that are aligned with your values.
  • A coach doesn’t judge you or your choices; we support you in adopting and strengthening your desired identity.
  • A coach doesn’t do the work for you; we provide accountability (if you want it), are there for you, and cheer you on!

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What is career coaching?

Career coaching is us collaborating to help you address work- and career-related challenges that, once resolved, make a positive difference in your life. Your work and life are interconnected and inseparable, so career coaching with me always takes into account all of you, the whole person.

What kinds of challenges do people seek your help with?

What kinds of challenges do people seek your help with?

First of all, let me say that you don’t have to be a mess to hire a coach (but you can be–really). We work with people who are anywhere on the continuum of “things are good and I want them to be better” to “my life is not at all as I want it”.

People typically hire me when they want to make headway on career and life goals and need to work through related challenges in order to do so.

Here are some of situations people are in when they come to me for help:

  • I want to decide between two different directions. (Inner talk: I’m not sure which path is best. What if I make the wrong choice? Is this the right time to make a change?)
  • I am in a leadership role and want to do a good job. (Inner talk: I want to be and feel competent and want to talk to someone outside my unit as I apply and grow my skills).
  • This job isn’t the right fit. (Inner talk: I want something different and, though I could do this myself, I know that working with someone will be better/faster/more fun).
  • I am a new faculty member and want to pull myself together. (Inner talk: I am completely overwhelmed and need some support to more sanely and productively cope with this role and my workload).
  • I am working towards tenure. (Inner talk: I am stressed and want support to reach X and Y milestones.)
  • My perfectionism has me stuck/paralyzed/overworking/unhappy (etc). (Inner talk: It is really getting in the way and I need something to change).
  • My current way of doing things isn’t working (Inner talk: My track record for making changes isn’t good, I know what to do but keep getting sucked into my old habits).
What results can I expect?

What Results Can I Expect?

Goal clarification.
Though everyone comes to coaching with some goals in mind, the route to get “there” isn’t always obvious. When we work together, we regularly clarify your goals, and check in on these. PS. You don’t need to know exactly what you want before working with a coach.

Options to meet your goals.
When left to our own thinking, we often identify only a limited number of options. Together, we collaborate to explore several options and you get to select the way forward.

Take action and meet or move closer to your goals.
Some of the results past clients have created include:

  • Making a work or career decision they had been thinking about a lot, but hadn’t committed to
  • Finding new work
  • Leaving a role that is no longer a good fit
  • Managing their imposter syndrome and perfectionism so they could accomplish work-related tasks and projects they care about
  • Being the leader they want to be
  • Easing into a new role and feeling good (less anxious, more competent, able to cope, proud) about themselves and the situation

Live in alignment with your values.
If you set goals but meeting these means going against your values, that’s going to cause friction, unhappiness, and resistance. I support you to identify and articulate your life values: so you can make career and work decisions with your eyes wide open and honour what’s important to you.

Know and apply your strengths.
You may be thinking (about your strengths): “Oh that ol’ thing–everyone does that”
Nope, not true.
We’re going to spotlight your strengths and give them some love.

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What is your approach and process?

Coaching works only if you feel safe to be yourself and be open with me. That’s because it is only from that place that we can collaborate to move in your preferred and desired direction.

As part of my approach, we first get clear on (1) what it is you’d like to change or be moving towards (i.e., what brought you to coaching) and (2) what your values and motivators are.  I support you in being the person you want to be and and in selecting actions that align.

You can find out more about my approach here by booking a call or visiting:

In terms of the specifics of any given coaching session, it looks something like this:

  1. We check-in to see how you’re doing.
  2. You update me on what’s happened since we last met.
  3. We clarify the focus of today’s session.
  4. We coach around your chosen focus area.
  5. You select action you want to take between sessions.

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Who do you work with?

I work with people who have career and life goals and who are noticing any of the following: unsure about next steps, procrastination, difficulty making decisions, imposter syndrome, overworking, and feeling overwhelmed.

A substantial number of my coaching clients are affiliated with academia, while others belong to sectors such as government, non-profit organizations, healthcare, and small business.

Many clients I work with feel stuck in some aspect of their job/career/life–and they want to make some changes. Others clients are in a new role and want to know how to make the best of this opportunity. 

Regardless of their exact situation, these individuals want to work with someone to help them move forward in meaningful ways. Sure, they could do it themselves–but they know they’ll reach their goals more directly with the support of a coach.

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