A Few Thoughts on the Coaching Relationship ... When Does Coaching Begin?

Whether an internal or external coach, a leadership, career coach or life coach, our engagement with a client follows a process codified in our coach competencies and our ethical standards.  The twists and turns that a conversation can take with a client who is anxious, confused, upset, obfuscating or hyper-distracted can be challenging and frustrating for both the coach and coachee.  Having a clear roadmap for the coaching relationship and intentional focus on the coaching engagement goals increases the likelihood both the coach and client will have confidence and trust in the process.  It is also more likely that when the process of coaching is honored, the goals of the coaching engagement will be met and the client in a better place than where you started.

Our May speaker, Jane Creswell will speak about the importance of the initial contracting process between coach and client.  Launching a new client engagement is like anything else in life, the end is only as good as how well you began.  We certainly want to meet the client where they are, be sensitive to the social, emotional and development needs they present and set a pace with which the client is comfortable.  So how do you know that the contract between you and your client is solid?  One of the most critical factors to consider in answering this question is the level of commitment to coaching the client confirms in your initial contracting conversation. 

What other factors have you found are critically important in your contracting conversations?

I want to hear from you, ICFTN coaches. 

What if you could reimagine your coaching practice?  How would you like to connect in new ways?  Your ICFTN Board is discussing the varied ways we can facilitate connection and professional development for chapter members. In April we began quarterly new member orientations. In June we will begin offering virtual professional development sessions in addition to the robust line up of live, face to face chapter meetings. This first session will be on the subject of Ethics. We have other ideas we are discussing but would like to hear from you about what else would make your membership in ICFTN valuable.

  • What do you feel you are missing? What are your searching for?

  • What are you being challenged to address in yourself? What new experiences do you need to have?

  • What new story could you tell about your work if you stepped outside the usual discourse?

Let me hear from you at  We are anxious to deliver maximum value for your membership. 

Another way for you to provide feedback will be in the annual ICF coach survey. You will be receiving a link from ICF to a survey in May. PwC conducts this comprehensive survey of the coaching industry exploring topics including:

  • Industry size and revenue

  • The business and practice of coaching

  • Perspectives on industry trends, including technology, regulation and more

This research will yield insights that can help you grow your coaching business and understand where you fit into the marketplace, better understand the coaches in your community and make strategic decisions to contribute to the success of the Middle Tennessee coaching community. The research findings also help ICF lead the future of coaching, with data that informs resource allocation and provides clarity on how to best move the mission and vision of ICF forward.

Please look for the link and participate in this important research.

Donna Yurdin, ICFTN President

Donna Yurdin

Spotlight: Debra Radish-Respess, Invisible Horizons Coaching and Consulting VP, Human Resources

1 - Where are you from, and how did you choose to live in Middle Tennessee? 
After vacationing in Nashville in 1990, in August, in 100* weather, I was bound and determined to make Nashville my home. I moved to the Nashville area in 1991 and have called middle Tennessee home since then (minus 1.5 years in Orlando, Florida).

2 - What is your professional background, and why did you become a coach?
Having been in corporate organizations in multiple disciplines, specifically, warehousing, logistics/distribution, supply chain management, information technology, and most recently as a human resources executive, coaching was a natural progression. I was called to coaching in 2017 and completed the Newfield Network program, which specializes in somatic.

3 - How did you choose your specialty area?
My passion lies with middle management in organizations. Supervisors, managers, and directors play a key role in profitability, productivity, culture, company brand, among numerous other things… I feel that this level within organizations has been neglected despite its direct and significant influence on profits, retention, customer satisfaction, etc., that I am called to work with this level within [any industry] organizations as an extension of the executive business strategy. 

Leadership coaching and team coaching/development are my specialties.

4 - What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career?
As the new business owner of Invisible Horizons, my greatest rewards are my clients’ “a-ha” moments and being a part of their journey of transformation.The main challenge, as a new business owner, is getting clients. 

5 - What is something that most ICFTN members would be surprised to learn about you?
I ride my own motorcycle and went on a 5,000-mile roundtrip honeymoon trip with my husband in 2012. We went to Yellowstone and camped with the gear we had packed on the bikes!

6 - How do you enjoy spending your free time?
I’m very active in our small country church – reaching our community for the Kingdom [of Christ]. We call it our “ROCK” ministry. I also enjoy spending quality time with family and friends.