The Nature and Scope of Coaching as Lowry Provides It
Lowry’s clients primarily are professionals or owners who know that “more, more, more” or “bigger, bigger” is not their answer.
They now want one or more of the following:
- higher quality, gratifying current endeavors and engagements
- strategically re-designed business structure; fresh career plan
- enhanced satisfaction through more targeted usage of strengths/capabilities
- prepare for their next business life-stage, such as sourcing new levels of external collaborations and alliances
- considering early retirement (or another transition) to form a new venture
- a knowledgeable co-journeyer as they pass their role or company to next generation or to current staff
Ideal coaching clients are those who fully take action to move toward goals; prefer working in tandem with an outside professional in their planning stages; and often to engage while implementing change after change.
Coaching can be contracted: (Lowry currently is engaged in all these representations)
- by the project;
- for a defined time-period for the initial agreement, possibly becoming open-ended for an extension;
- in unique cases can be a sustaining, ongoing relationship that changes its nature accordingly as does the overall business life of the client.
Coach and client(s) arrange the schedule and means of contact according to the logistics that serve them both. In Lowry’s case, unless based in Austin – up to 85% of the time (particularly with a direct referral) she often has not yet personally met a new client. So, the launch and majority of the early sessions may well be conducted by phone, along with email-support and exchange.
In all cases, it is also a good idea to meet in person when this is possible and feasible, and even then, her history is the client can often most effectively be served by phone. This is simply because the majority of her clients tend to be accustomed to such virtual, national to often global exchanges in their own industries, and with their own clients or customers.
Customarily, the initial agreement is for 12-sessions by phone (up to 1.5 hours each) or four to five months of scheduled appointments, accompanied with email-exchange. When useful, “coach-on-call” options can be included between such scheduled meetings in the agreement, primarily at no additional expense.
There is a written, but non-legally binding, baseline document co-created along with the client that will specify goals, purposes and intentions of the work together. This is revisited and updated regularly. It can then be used to benchmark against throughout the initial, contracted engagement. When contracts naturally extend or renew, it is common for the agreement/goals to also be revised.
Lowry relates to her clients as their business alliance or working partner, and generally assumes they are bringing the specific industry expertise in with them. Her role is more related to exchanges as to their business design, communications, relationships, goals, future-orientation, and planning for changes along with staffing and leading when they are part of a larger organization. In many cases, she also has a role in their marketing and outreach-planning, depending upon the goals they bring into the coaching (or mentoring) relationship.
When she does have specific industry expertise and background, she is willing to share this. Her primary purpose is to identify, surface, and actually name with the client what THEIR main contributions to their own business and career success may now best be. It is often this they target to build upon, and what else emerges often purposefully supports this.
It is important to note here that it is usually not necessary for talented clients to “get better” at anything. In contrast, most bring in enough strength in targeted areas that can be deepened, expanded and drawn from – and to date, she has never truly had a client who needed “a stronger weakness.” What they do together, instead, is figure out how they can better deliver their own assets to generate the chance to to delegate exactly this – by either:
- contracting for it to be managed
- passing it to someone great in that area who would be grateful for the chance to either barter for this opportunity or may already be on staff or otherwise accessible
This is where “Lone Ranger” clients soon learn to collaborate and network also.
Mentoring Of Other Coaches – Because of her teaching commitment, there may be good reasons to add mentoring to coaching in the case of aspiring professionals in her own industry. Most often, a useful expectation is they have — or will also be completing a formal coach-specific training program. She offers special rates and means of contracting with those who want the short cuts and benefits of working in close connection with an experienced business-design mentor within their own field.
There are notes from coaches on this website who now also are leaders in their co-joint industry. These reflect how they have found such partnering with Lowry to be beneficial. This work is particularly gratifying personally as a way to further enrich the field itself by honoring and creating traditions Lowry and close colleagues have already helped establish they are now carrying forward.
Small-Business Owner Mentoring – These seeking a formal mentoring relationship in taking their existing or new business to a new stage and level of operation – in combination with coaching. This may be invaluable for organizational executives following early retirement or “right-sizing” who previously were part of a large company and who are not “natural” entrepreneurs. There are hundreds of “knowns” to small business owners they may be clueless about and there is no rule they must learn of all these learn “the hard way” now that there are experienced professionals in this business.
Fortunately, we all DO bring whole selves (emotions included) to our work-day lives and our relationships. While Lowry does not specifically market to a “life coach” collective, the reality and the truth is ALL quality coaching includes “life” coaching behind closed doors and may well also be experienced periodically even as “therapeutic.”
Lowry does have training in all of this with many previous years within realms where such a major substance of her workday. In fact, that is exactly part of what led her INTO the business world with her work – and out of the therapy office. All quality therapy is actually coach-like, in contrast, and it became clear with her additional business background, it was expedient for her to bring her WHOLE LIFE experience more directly into ALL of her future work. That transition was completed in 1994 following almost two decades of including therapy in her own professional offerings. Coaching and mentoring replaced her career as a therapist thereafter and following founding and leading what grew to a 20,000 non-profit organization in between from 1984-1994.
Currently, the majority of Lowry’s work in this area is formally contracted within business alliances and collaborations with colleagues – some which have also been former clients or high-achieving, adult students. These entities are listed within this website.
The coach-contribution is most often in the eye of the beholder (the client) and those that person impacts. Results and outcomes are customarily assessed all along the way so adjustments and additions can be added to the coaching process, and timely so.
Both coaching and mentoring are processes and sets of experiences that enable the independent and corporate/organizational clients to achieve more of their full potential. They share many other commonalities, as well, in the process within which they engage with clients. Similarities can be vast — and may well include:
- facilitated exploration of needs, values, motivations, skills, and belief systems in such a way clients are better able to make real, lasting changes and more informed choices and decisions
- a vehicle for analysis, reflection, and action-planning and execution that ultimately lead to client-achievement and success in their designated area specified mastery of questioning techniques to spark more possibility for discovery for the client than would be possible through “advising” or “directing” by another (including the coach or mentor)
- observing, listening, while simultaneously creating a trustful environment for exploration of possibilities for future “stretch” that could have been considered risky even the week or month before but may now be feasible
- having at hand ready access to tools, assessments, and other instruments of useful nature when one-to-one debriefing, training, or competency enrichment is deemed important
- unconditional, positive regard for both the relationship they share and for the individual and both honor confidentiality and exist for the benefit of the client
- awareness of how to ensure clients develop personal capability and competency and at the same time avoid developing dependencies on the coach, mentor, or the relationship beyond that of what is truly proactively-constructive for their purposes (anything else arising is named and addressed directly and a co-solution is created or therapy or a different nature of support group may be recommended.)
- evaluation along the way of results as well as the effectiveness of the process they are using in meetings and in contacts between
- encouragement for continuous life/work and relationship balance as this is personally defined as desired and useful by the client (not the coach)
- working within their own areas of competence professionally and personally
possession of any required qualifications or pre-requisites or highly recommended capabilities suggested by their industries
- management of the relationship to ensure the client receives an appropriate level and depth of contracted service and that there is freedom and simple means at any time to alter or conclude the commitment together
Mentoring: There are many, many other distinctions that do set coaching and mentoring in separate camps. To Lowry’s point of view, Coaching that also incorporates Mentoring assumes the following:
Mentoring can be included when she actually has the content or industry experience historically to pass on directly or bring to the client. This can involve “How To’s” and can also incorporate more sharing directly of personal experience if the client requests this. Mentors should be expected to have directly related experiences. That is not the case for Coaches.
While she has never been a real-estate broker or agent or owner, she is able to effectively mentor all of those in terms of their company culture, client and staff and agent “people” relationships, their communications, their longer-term business vision, and their endeavors to develop fresh perspective.
However, she does not “consult” or advise in any way around the rudiments of real-estate itself such as involving contracts, permits, city codes, mortgages, loans, inspections, investment portfolio development, or anything else directly industry-specific to that field. For that, her involved clients attend conferences, are also part of industry, CEO Roundtables, and pursue specialized training and formal classes. In contrast, her background in forming successful collaborations and alliances could be easily called into play with such an owner seeing more industry-related, shared profit centers – such as with mortgage firms, remodeling companies, designer/decorators, bankers and other related businesses.
Mentoring may well include the provisions of materials, tools and process to aspiring coaches in her client-base, while that may not be useful at all to a corporate CEO or CFO. On the other hand, sharing a communication or time-management resource she has developed or has discovered may actually be useful to ALL her clients.
Consulting, in contrast, is best sought when the client wants a qualified professional to actually come in, design and deliver a very broad-ranging and often very specific “solution” to business problems and needs. The consultant most frequently does the complete job for the entity – rather than employees doing this – or may oversee the whole process for an organization. They are customarily skilled in doing this themselves, in either case. A Coach’s role in this case may well have been is supporting the executive staff in realizing it is a Consultant that is needed. Coaches can sometimes recommend competent consultants or other expertise-specific professionals such as trainers, H.R. specialists, accountants, etc.
The point that may be drawn from all this – if clients are truly seeking mentoring additionally, they are wise to then source a Coach who does have such literal, shared-field or industry experience in their background. It is entirely possible to “coach” without this – Lowry would not be comfortable mentoring someone other than in ways she actually has transferables to offer – beyond simply her coaching capabilities.
The work of consultants is quite different and is customarily not confused with that of a Coach. You may also find Coaches and Consultants working side-by-side within organizations, just as you well may find Mentors naturally emerging or pre-existing on staff in-house within those organizations.
Feel free to contact Lowry for a no-charge option to personally address your own possible interests in the type of Coach or Mentor to source. This is a service she often provides up to several hours weekly on request for the industry to those seriously ready to engage who are in their own research phase for best match.
She does know personally over 6,000 trained professionals in the field and often does have ideas as to who and what may be a good, potential fit. There is no “pitch” of her own services extended and because her colleagues know this, they do often refer their own friends and family to her for such research assistance. The process is to email or to call directly and she will promptly re-contact you to schedule if the two of you cannot address your inquiry easily by email exchange. (Direct contact information is on this site.)