Business Coaching FAQs

What is business coaching?

Business coaching is a short-term intervention designed to help individuals who are stuck, unfulfilled, underperforming or in crisis in their professional life, or who simply want to take their career or business to the next level. This is accomplished through a collaborative process of assessment, decision making, goal setting and goal attainment.  In each session, the client chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This interaction creates clarity and moves the client toward action. Coaching accelerates the client's progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where the client is now and what s/he will need to do to get where s/he wants to be in the future.

What are common outcomes of business coaching?

Although results vary depending on the agenda of individual clients, general outcome include:

  • Reduction in emotional blocks and self-sabotaging behavior
  • Greater self-awareness and clarity of purpose
  • Better time and task management, and organizational skills
  • More results-oriented planning and decision making
  • Enhanced motivation and productivity
  • Increased income
  • More balance between personal and professional endeavors
  • Improved inter-personal communication skills
  • Greater overall fulfillment

Do I need to be in the New York City area to be coached by you?

All business coaching services are conducted by telephone, so you can be located anywhere within the continental United States.  I establish a very close rapport with all of my clients, even if we have never met face-to-face.  Please do not be skeptical of the benefits of telephone coaching.  It save time and money… and it works.

What is the difference between business coaching and business consulting?

In business coaching, the coach is not necessarily a subject expert. The coach asks questions and the client comes up with the solutions. In a consulting relationship, the consultant is expected to have subject expertise and is usually responsible for coming up with the recommended solutions.  However, the client determines how directive they wish for me to be in the coaching process.

What is the difference between business coaching and traditional therapy?

Therapy assumes the client is unhealthy and in need of healing. Coaching assumes that the client is healthy, creative, resourceful, and whole. Coaching focuses on identifying what the client wants and determining what s/he needs to do to get there. Coaching is focused on the "what’s next?" rather than the “why?”

What is the role of a business coach?
1. To assist with skill development, business projects, or other professional, academic, and personal goals.
2. To serve as a partner to discuss and solve confidential issues and challenges.
3. To understand a client's agenda and focus on his or her vision and goals when other distractions interfere with intention.
4. To facilitate goal achievement by clarifying values, brainstorming, developing action plans, examining modes of operation, making requests, providing structure, and holding clients accountable.

Who can benefit from business coaching?

I am particularly interested in, but certainly not limited to, working with the following types of clients in my business coaching practice:

  • Business and social entrepreneurs starting or expanding a small business, not-for-profit agency, or other community-based organization
  • Salespeople underperforming their sales goals
  • New and established inventors 
  • People in or contemplating a career transition
  • Stay-at-home mothers and fathers preparing to re-enter the workforce
  • People in early recovery from substance abuse addiction and/or alcoholism, endeavoring to re-enter the workforce
  • Un- and underemployed clients, including, but not limited to, fine and performing artists, seeking employment or to increase earnings in their chosen profession 
  • Recent high school graduates and dropouts seeking to enter the workforce
  • Recent college graduates and dropouts seeking to enter the workforce

Can I be coached for a mental health or chemical dependency problem, in the context of career and professional development?

Coaching does not treat mental disorders as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, nor does it treat chemical dependency. Coaching is not a substitute for counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care, or chemical dependency treatment, and it should not be used in place of any form of therapy. If you are currently in therapy or otherwise under the care of a mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment professional, it is important that you consult with him or her regarding the advisability of working with a coach and let him or her know of your decision to proceed with working with a coach.

What is your basic approach to business coaching?

Stage 1: I establish expectations, roles, and commitments with my clients.
Stage 2: I gather information on my clients' personal and professional history, assessment of their own level of satisfaction in various areas of their lives, short and long-term personal and professional goals.  This data-gathering helps me begin to discover, clarify, and align myself with what my clients want to achieve.
Stage 3: I implement weekly telephone or in-person coaching sessions with my clients, approximately 1 hour in length. Cumulatively, my coaching sessions are designed to help clients set a realistic professional and/or business development agenda, motivate them to believe that it is attainable, set very specific goals to actualize the agenda, and hold them accountable for achieving each goal. My individual sessions are designed for clients to report on their progress from the previous session, including an assessment of their effort and the outcome of that effort. My clients then set the agenda for the remainder of the session. The session concludes with an agreement on specific assignments for the next session. My clients are free to contact me by telephone or e-mail between sessions.
Stage 4: I assist clients to transition into a long-term action plan that they will self-manage.

What strategies do you use during a typical business coaching session?

  • I ask provocative questions 
  • I communicate in a very direct manner, providing feedback, requests and challenges
  • I encourage my clients to stretch beyond their comfort zone
  • I help my clients to learn, practice, and sustain new habits
  • I assist my clients in expanding their capacity for creative thinking and action taking
  • I create and maintain an environment that is safe for my client to take risks
  • I keep all discussions with my client strictly confidential
  • I refer my clients to other qualified professionals, as necessary and appropriate

What do you expect from your clients?

  • To be honest and trusting
  • To be as open-minded as possible
  • To think and act creatively
  • To be as receptive to change as possible
  • To be as positive and self-confident as possible
  • To be willing to take risks
  • To be as action-oriented as possible
  • To complete all assignments
  • To own the coaching relationship by telling me what is working and not working in the coaching sessions

Can you coach more than one person at a time?

I coach couples, family members and professional groups of any size. However, in order to avoid possible conflicts of interest and confidentiality breaches, there is a limit to the extent I can do relationship and organization coaching, while also serving as your individual coach.  Depending on the circumstances, I may opt to refer you to another coach for couples, family or organizational development work.

Can you coach me around relationships without the other party(ies) participating?

Yes, I use powerful and effective exercises to help clients explore important personal and professional relationships, even without the other party(ies) present.

How long would you be my business coach?
It depends upon your needs and preferences, but typically I work with clients intensively for a minimum of 3 months and then transition to periodic coaching on an as-needed basis.

What are your credentials for being a business coach?

I was born and raised in Somers, New York, 50 miles north of New York City.  In 1989,   I graduated magna cum laude from Colorado College, where I majored in cultural anthropol­ogy and minored in urban studies. I earned a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Columbia University in 1995, con­centrating in advanced management and policy analysis.

From 1989 to 2006, I held a number of progressively responsible direct service, supervisory and senior management positions with New York City government agencies, including the Departments of Probation and Correction, the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Police Department.  I have also volunteered with several non-profit organizations, including Safe Horizon, Coalition for the Homeless and Partnership for the Homeless in New York City, as well as the Center for Neighborhood Technology and West Side Senior Center in Chicago.

These health and human service-oriented positions have afforded me ample opportunity to conduct strategic planning; perform population, training and program needs assessments; design, implement and evaluate numerous health, education, social service and community outreach programs; institute performance management accountability systems; and coordinate and partner with city, state and federal government agencies, as well as non-profit and other community-based organizations. I also conducted individual and group behavioral modification counseling with thousands of human service clients, and completed individual intake assessments, progress reports and comprehensive discharge plans with hundreds more.

Since 1999, I have become a certified mediator with the Columbia University School of Law and the Safe Horizon Center for Mediation, a certified coach with the Coaches Training Institute, and a pre-certified organization coach with the Center for Right Relationship.  Further, I have completed intensive certificate training in small business development with the State University of New York’s Levin Graduate Institute of International Relations and Commerce and the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO).  During this period, I have gained significant coaching and conflict resolution experience with individuals in employment transition, aspiring and established entrepreneurs, business partners, and non-profit and corporate teams.

In 2007, I established Hatch Ventures LLC, an incubator for new business products and services.  During the past three years, Hatch Ventures LLC has successfully developed and launched four new business products, with three more business products and one business service currently in advanced development.

In addition to my role as founder and principal of Hatch Ventures LLC, I currently serve as Mediation Coordinator for the Civil Court of the City of New York and maintain a private personal coaching and conflict resolution practice, Andrew D. Lewis Coaching and Mediation LLC. I am also an active member of the New York State Dispute Resolution Association, the New York City Chapter of the International Coach Federation and Business Networking International’s (BNI) Manhattan Chapter 19.

What is your fee structure for business coaching?

$100 per 60 minute session
Included: telephone and email communication between sessions

Fee structure subject to change.

What forms of payment do you accept for business coaching?

I invoice clients by email following each session.  Session fees are payable by check, money order, debit card or credit card. If you choose to pay by debit or credit card, click the Pay Now button directly on the invoice I send you.  Please wait to be invoiced prior to making payments.

How do I know you would be a good business coach for me?
I offer a complimentary 30 minute telephone coaching session so that you can experience coaching and assess the chemistry between us.

If I am paying for an employee or my child to be coached, am I entitled to receive progress reports?
Although I recognize this can be difficult to appreciate at times, you are not hiring me to be your coach, but rather your employee's coach. The cornerstone of an effective coaching relationship is trust. Therefore, it is critical that the confidentiality of our conversations be totally protected. I would not be serving you or your charge well by sharing information with you without the express permission of my client. The only exception to this rule is if my client expresses an intention to endanger him/herself or others.

At the outset of the coaching process, we will establish very clear guidelines about when you will be updated on your charge's progress and what will be shared. The typical type of information that will be shared are goals, actions, and progress, as well as ways in which you can further his/her ongoing development. You should also keep in mind that coaching is very action-oriented, so you will likely see behavioral and attitudinal changes for yourself as the coaching process progresses.

If my employer or parent is paying for you to coach me, do you have to report into them?
Although your employer/ parent has chosen to support you in your development through the use of a business coach, you are my client. At the outset of the coaching process, we will establish very clear guidelines about when your employer/parent will be updated on your progress and what will be shared. You and I will always confer before any information is shared with any third party. The typical type of information that will be shared are goals, actions, and progress, as well as ways in which your employer/parent can support your professional development.

If you ask my professional peers and subordinates for their feedback about me, how do you know if they will be honest?

Your peers and subordinates are assured that nothing that they share will be attributed to them. Otherwise they probably would not be as forthcoming with their feedback. Their views and comments are reported back to you in summary fashion.

How will I know that what I am sharing will remain between us only?

The cornerstone of an effective coaching relationship is trust. It is critical that the confidentiality of our conversations be totally protected. You can absolutely count on that. If there is information that needs to be shared, you and I will discuss what is appropriate and how it is to be shared.

Are there any exceptions to the confidentiality rule?

Yes.  I am required to take reasonable steps to notify the appropriate authorities in the event a client discloses an intention to endanger him/herself or others.

How will I know if I am making progress from business coaching?
At the end of each weekly session, you will leave with very specific action-oriented assignments or an action plan for the week. At the beginning of the next session, the first order of business will be to review and assess your progress on the action plan from the previous week. I record all weekly action plans and progress assessments so they can be cumulatively reviewed when necessary to assess progress over a longer period of time.

What if I need help or support in an area where a specific expertise is required?

As a coach, I can only provide expertise that I have. If I see that there is support that you need that I am not equipped to provide, I will let you know and, whenever possible, refer you to appropriate services. I do a lot of business networking in support of Hatch Ventures LLC. As a result, I have established close working relationships with highly qualified professionals from a wide array of fields, including, but not limited to: accounting, acupuncture, banking, branding and marketing, business law, chiropractic, commercial and residential real estate, dentistry, divorce law, graphic design, general contracting, immigration law, insurance, legacy planning, message therapy, mortgage brokering, nutritional consulting, personal training, pet care, printing, real estate law, therapy, and video production.