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FAQs for Individual Coaching

Q: What is coaching?

Coaching is concerned primarily with concrete changes in your life, relationships and work. It is an iterative, targeted, interactive process designed to elicit powerful conversations. These conversations are intended to inspire new thinking, perceptions and behavior that actualize your potential, improve your performance, create focus and directional clarity, support the achievement of your personal and professional goals, and enhance the quality of your life.

Q: What is the objective of a coaching engagement?

The objective is to focus on your potential (your unrealized ability, capacity or possibility) by leveraging your strengths, uncovering what’s in your way, and targeting the areas you are most interested in addressing to help you reach your goals more effectively.

Q: Can I change through coaching?

Yes, you can. We've seen many clients change in powerful ways. And they’ve likely had ambitions, goals, concerns and challenges that are similar to yours. Coaching can be the catalyst to profoundly shift the trajectory of your life, enabling you to change the quality of your life and the direction of your career in ways you never dreamed of.

Q: What about confidentiality? 

What happens in our sessions stays in our sessions.

We fully understand the value of your trust, and we take every precaution to safeguard it. We will provide you with a detailed description of the ethical code that governs every client-coach relationship we enter. This document not only places our standards before you in plain text, but also codifies our commitment to you, the client, and your progress. 

Q: How often would I meet with my coach?

We meet with clients once a week. Through many years of experience and testing of different time frames, we've found that this frequency yields the greatest returns in terms of change. Meeting once a week offers time for reflection and application of learning between sessions, while maintaining the momentum of our work together. 


In order to make coaching as convenient as possible for you, we offer several options. Coaching services can be conducted in person at either of our two Chicago office locations or at our Atlanta office, on-site for corporate engagements, or over the phone for remote clients and busy executives. 

Q: How long does the coaching process take?

The time frame can vary greatly and depends on a wide range of factors: your goal(s), your commitment and openness to change, your capacity for introspection, your circumstances, how quickly and thoughtfully you complete homework assignments, and other unique factors. 

We have individuals who come in for a very brief engagement (e.g., one mock interview coaching session). We have others who come in focused on one goal, achieve that goal, and begin work on another goal and then another. Those individuals who partner with us in multiple capacities and for multiple goals work with us for a year or more.

Q: What if I want to end my coaching engagement?

You may choose to terminate work at any time, although it is helpful for your coach to have a week's notice in order to prepare a final session that focuses on review and closure. Ultimately, that decision is up to you.

Q: How is coaching different from psychotherapy?

The differences between coaching and psychotherapy are:

  • Coaches focus on the future. Therapists focus on the past.
  • Coaches center their work around the belief that clients are healthy. Therapists utilize a framework that is based on pathology and illness.
  • Coaches work with the conscious mind. Therapists work with the unconscious mind.
  • Coaches’ work is often time-limited with specific desired behavioral outcomes. Therapists’ work is open-ended with “understanding” as the primary objective.
  • Coaches work in person, as well as over the phone. Therapists usually work in person only.

There are similarities between coaching and psychotherapy as well. They are: 

  • Both are concerned with making concrete changes in your emotional state and life.
  • Both work to understand the self-limiting beliefs or behavior caused by thoughts and emotions that you may or may not be aware of.
  • Both practices help you grow, change and master your emotions.

We at JMA have coaches and seek coaches who have licensing and experience in both disciplines: coaching and psychotherapy. Having that broad, deep training and perspective allows us to help you understand and master your habits, thoughts and feelings that hold you back from achieving your most important goals.

Q: What is JMA’s approach to coaching?

Before we talk about our approach to coaching, we would like to talk about how our coaches approach you, the client. We believe that you are the expert in your life. We believe that you are whole, not broken. We believe that you are resourceful and capable of far more than you imagine. We believe in your capacity to change. 

Our approach to coaching is an emergent, iterative, holistic process designed to elicit powerful conversations. These conversations are intended to inspire new thinking, perceptions and behavior to improve performance, create directional clarity, achieve personal and professional goals, and enhance the quality of your life. 

Q: What is the JMA process like?

We start each coaching engagement with a comprehensive interview and, occasionally, a perceptual lens assessment. This allows us to develop a deep understanding of you, your life stories, and your underlying operating system in a short period of time. Armed with this knowledge, we then begin to help you think about your situation and your life in new ways.

We ask powerful questions, we assign individualized homework, we utilize proprietary exercises and processes, and we often evaluate individualized metrics to help you tap into your unique potential. Our process is invigorating; you will begin to find clarity, change your mood states and take powerful new actions in multiple areas of your life. 

Q: What is the coaching style that JMA coaches would employ in our work together?

The foundation of our coaching incorporates these primary styles:

Transformation-oriented: Although change in individuals is often measured on a behavioral basis, real change happens below the surface on a deeper level. Cultivating self-awareness, recalibrating your observational perspectives, and promoting paradigm shifts can yield huge personal and professional dividends and deep change. When systemic change occurs, it allows for adaptive, not technical application. That, in turn, allows for more masterful navigation of the complexities of your relationships, career and life.

Results-oriented: While all of our JMA coaches understand that it is process that will get us to the result, we are not attached to a particular tool, technique or approach. This means that if something isn’t working, we will quickly apply a new strategy or approach. Our primary style is emergent, iterative and results-oriented. Very pragmatic, targeted strategies and tools are often used to promote more effective action to achieve goals more quickly.

Direct: Honest, crucial conversations, when appropriate, are met head-on without reservation. 

Holistic: Currently, we live in a world that encourages specialization, reductionism and separation. While we may focus our work in a very targeted way, our coaching approach and lens is holistic, integrative and systemic. We know that a change you make in one area often influences and impacts another. We understand that once the underpinnings of a particular challenge are unearthed and effectively dealt with, it can have a domino effect, positively impacting many areas of your life. Then, the result is real, lasting change, not a superficial Band-Aid fix.

Q: Can you talk about the coaching methodologies applied by JMA coaches?

The foundation of our coaching incorporates these methodologies: 

Ontological and Systemic Change Approach: A dynamic, transformative coaching model that systemically addresses how you relate to the world through your language, moods and emotions, mental models, physiology and observational lens. Ontological coaching is often a catalyst for paradigm shifts. It is a bedrock model of coaching that addresses where real change happens: below the surface. In fact, behavioral change accounts for only 10% of your overall performance and results. 

Neuroscience and Neuroleadership Application: An emerging field of study focused on understanding the elements of change from the perspective of the brain. Having education in brain training and certification in neurofeedback, we apply the latest neuroscience discoveries to better leverage change in our clients. 

Cognitive Behavioral Coaching: This approach develops an awareness of the habitually recurring thinking patterns that create your mood states and reactions to events, circumstances and others. As negative thought patterns and moods can be personally and interpersonally destructive, we coach you to transmute destructive thoughts to minimize the impact on your performance, mood and results.

Mindfulness:This is a process of creating sustained awareness and focus in the moment to override reactive emotional tendencies and begin to change habitual neurotransmitter patterns.

“Competing Commitment to Change” Model: While individuals can change and can be taught to change, they often don’t change or resist change. The root cause is often a competing commitment outside their conscious awareness. This Kegan and Lahey model is a four-step process that exposes an individual’s hidden commitments that conflict with their conscious goal. 

If you’re ready to achieve your greatest goals, we encourage you to contact us


Up front, Jody focused on getting to know the professional environment in which I am immersed daily, as well as me personally. We then engaged in a coaching process that was transformational. Remarkable results, personal satisfaction, and a sense of harmony followed in an effortless manner.”

-- Frank Pacholec, VP of Research & Development, Corporate Sustainability Officer, Stepan Company
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