Frequently Asked Questions

There are at least as many answers to that questions as there are coaches! I like to keep things very simple, and very clear, so here’s my definition:

Coaching is a creative, two-way conversation designed to free you to make the changes in your life that really matter to you.

It’s a ‘getting to know you’ conversation, to help you decide if you want to work with me. You can ask me anything you want to know about me, my coaching, my life, how we’d work together, and anything else that comes to mind.

It’s also a chance for me to get to know you. I’ll probably have some questions about why you’re looking for a coach, and what it is you want to work on. Although this conversation isn’t a coaching conversation, I’ll probably be able to give you some idea of how I think we might start.

These conversations typically take 20-30 minutes. And at the end of the call, you can tell me if you’d like to work with me, or if you’ll think about it and let me know.

We can work face-to-face or online.  Face-to-face is great if you’re in London, although geography means that a lot of my coaching is online now.

How long our conversations are, and how often we talk, depends on you, and what we’re working on. Typically conversations are scheduled for an hour, and I usually recommend that we talk every 2-4 weeks; but both of those figures are flexible. We’ll find out quite quickly what works best for you!

At the end of each of our conversations, I’ll give you assignments to work on before our next session. The coaching happens in our conversations, but the action has to happen in your life.

I like to put together a personal coaching plan for each client, designed to suit you. We’ll design it together to fit your circumstances and what you’re trying to achieve. That means you can see where you’re going, and you know where you are on the journey. The coaching plans can include

  • Regular, scheduled coaching calls (the backbone of the programme)
  • Extra calls on request (for urgent questions or tricky situations!)
  • Email or Messenger coaching support (for questions or updates that don’t need a call or can’t wait)

Fees depend on the plan we put together, and how many scheduled calls we include. I guarantee you’ll be very happy with the results!

Alternatively, I can charge based on an hourly rate.

I can occasionally also offer reduced rates for people who can’t afford my fees.

Yes. Whatever we talk about stays confidential between the two of us.

However, I have one exception to that rule (which has never actually come up in practice)! If you were to tell me that you were planning commit a serious crime, to attempt suicide, or to act violently towards someone else, I reserve the right to break confidentiality.

There’s no ‘right’ kind of person for coaching, but I believe there are a couple of things that are necessary if coaching is going to work.

First, you have to actually want something to be different. It could be ‘the way I am’, or ‘the way my life is’; or it could just be ‘the way I feel about the way I am or the way my life is’. But if you want everything to stay just as it is, what would you want coaching for?

Secondly, you have to be willing to do the work to have things be different. You have to be willing to question yourself, and to be challenged. You have to be willing to try on new ideas, new perspectives, new ways of looking at the world. That can be uncomfortable! The good news is that when it starts to get uncomfortable, that usually means that life is about to look wonderfully, magically different!

Coaching isn’t for people looking for help with depression, or other mental health problems. I’m not a therapist or a counsellor; if you want or need therapy or counselling, you should see a qualified therapist or counsellor.

I’d say there are two main questions you should answer.

First, is this person credible as a coach?

Are they experienced? Do they know what they’re talking about? Is their website helpful and informative? And what do their clients have to say about them?

Membership of one of the recognised coaching associations, or accreditation, is a bonus. Look for the ICF (International Coach Federation) or the AFC (Association for Coaching). I’m a member of the Association for Coaching.

Secondly, do you feel really comfortable about working with them?

I strongly recommend you talk to them. Did they listen to you? Did you sense that they really got what you had to say? Did you get straight answers to your questions? Do you feel good about working with them? And are you looking forward to talking to them again?

Only joking! It won’t hurt, but coaching may not always be a comfortable experience. People come to coaching because they want something in their life to be different. We’ve spent a lifetime getting to be ‘the way I am’, and ‘the way my life is’; and changing things that feel like part of us, even if we don’t like them, can be uncomfortable.

There’s an analogy with exercise. If you’re a runner, you know that if you want to run further or faster, you need to push yourself. If you practise yoga, you know the value of stretching that little bit further. It’s when you go that little way beyond the point where it’s comfortable that you get the benefit.

No. What matters is that you want something to be different. It could be a ‘problem’. It could be ‘the way I am’, or ‘the way my life is’; or it could just be ‘the way I’m feeling’. But if you want everything to stay just as it is, what would you want coaching for?

Generally speaking, therapists and counsellors are concerned with healing, or helping people recover from past trauma, or deep-rooted psychological problems. The focus is on understanding and processing past experience in order to get to a point of being able to function in a normal, healthy way. Therapists in particular will be concerned with diagnosis of mental health conditions. Therapy and counselling are both about dealing with the past, in order to function effectively going forward.

Coaching is typically focused on the present and future; on improving the quality of life, relationships and experience. It’s about getting more out of life, whether that’s about defining and achieving your ambitions, experiencing life as more fulfilling, coming to terms with change or disappointment, or falling in love with life. That may involve looking at the past, and coming to terms with past sadness, pain or experiences; but the focus is on creating and living a life you love now and in the future.

If therapy and counselling are about the question: “How can I recover from what happened to live a normal life?”, coaching is about asking “How good can my life get?”

Of course! You can end the coaching at any time. I’d always recommend talking about it first though; don’t just ‘disappear’. If it’s something about the coaching that isn’t working for you, that may be something that can be fixed. But I’ll never try and pressure someone into continuing; if your heart isn’t in it, it’s a waste of time for both of us!

Yes! Ever since I discovered coaching almost 25 years ago, I’ve had a coach. Not constantly; there are periods when I’ll feel like I’m in ‘growth mode’ and use a coach, and then periods where it works for me to just get on with living. Similarly, there are coaches I’ve come back to and worked with repeatedly over the years, and others who have made a huge contribution to my life at a particular time, but I haven’t worked with again.

Coaching has made a huge difference to my life. For me, it’s a no-brainer. It would feel crazy not to work with a coach from time to time.

I coach because I love it. It’s creative, it’s fun, it lights me up! It connects me to people in a very deep way. Coaching allows me to give another person the gift of changing their life in ways that matter enormously to them. What could be more satisfying than that?

My approach to coaching is transformational. That means it’s not about incremental change. It’s about causing a complete shift in how you see the issue we’re working on; and when you see things differently, everything changes.

I draw on a number of different approaches, but my work is rooted in existential philosophy, and ontology and  phenomenology in particular.

Existential philosophy focuses on the big questions in life! How can I deal with the big challenges life throws at me? ? What makes life work for a person? What’s important to me? What matters? What do I value? And how can I have my life be about those things?

Ontology is the philosophy of ‘being’. How we’re ‘being’ in life matters, because our being shapes our behaviour, the way others see us, and the way we interact with other people and the world.

Phenomenology is the study of ‘phenomena’ – the way we experience things. And our experience is critical, because we interact with the world as we experience it, not as it ‘really’ is.

My roots in coaching are with a personal development company called Landmark Education. I trained with them, worked for them and led their personal development programmes for literally thousands of people during the 1990s.

Since then, I’ve had close to 25 years coaching experience, working with people in more than 35 countries either in 1-1 or group coaching programmes.

I’m currently studying for a Masters’ Degree in Existential Coaching with the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, and I’m a member of the Association for Coaching.


About me

Who am I, and why do I coach? Would we work together well? And what’s the best job I ever had?


About you

Over the years I’ve worked with all kinds of people, on all kinds of challenges. I’ve gradually come to specialise in three areas.

Who I work with

About coaching

What is coaching? What’s different about how I coach? How would we actually work together?

Understand More

Jonathan has a warm and generous personality, gives freely of his time and his deep commitment to high professional standards shines through. It doesn’t take much digging to find his incisive mind, keen intellect and willingness to engage at all levels. I would work with him again at any time.

John Keegan

Jonathan’s teaching and coaching have proved totally invaluable. Somehow he is able to hold up a mirror so that you can really see what you’re doing and how you’re working. For me, it’s translated into huge leaps in self-belief, becoming unstuck, effective and taking action in creating the life that I want. For that I could not be more grateful.

Iria Lopez

A very skilled coach, Jonathan entirely tailored his approach to what worked for me as an individual. Extremely generous with his time, he started with helping me to gain a profound and accurate insight into my behaviour, before taking me on a remarkable journey… I am hugely appreciative of Jonathan’s contribution.

Alex Brans

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