I have one trick:  I train leaders to monitor and manage their thinking.

You may be looking at all this documentation and wondering to yourself, “Boy, this is a lot of work up front.” Yes it is. I think it is important that you know a little bit about how my practice works and my theory of change before we begin working together. It is imperative that you have a clear understanding of what an Executive Coaching Consultation is all about before you sign on. I’ve put together this information to help you know what you are agreeing to. I hate busy-work as much as the next person, but I’ve created all this documentation so that you can have clear expectations about how I work. I’ve also created it so that I can gather as much data about you as quickly as possible so that we can dive in quickly. I’m not interested in spending lots of consultation time getting information that you can prepare ahead of time. After reading this information, I think you will be better prepared to agree to work with me and feel comfortable signing the consultation consent form.
It seems that there is a flurry of people taking on the moniker of “business coach.” You can probably find business coaches who are experts in law, finance, organizational development or any number of other specialties. If you are looking for a person who is a legal beagle, a captain of industry or has built seventy different businesses, then I am not the person you want to speak with. I am not an attorney, so I don’t give legal advice. I am not an investment broker or financial planner, so I don’t give financial advice. I haven’t built any huge companies, so I can’t claim expertise in that area either. What I do well is train people to think better. If you have intellectual wattage to spare, but can’t quite figure the subtleties of why people react poorly to you, then I may be your guy. If you have a thinking problem that manifests itself in fear, then I may be your guy. I train people how to think better, solve interpersonal problems and overcome mental barriers. I am in the business of training people to change (for the better).

Psychologists are in the change business. Specifically, psychologists are licensed to treat “mental disorders” – to help people who have lost or lack “the capacity to adapt his/her own behavior to effective ends of survival, satisfaction or comfort,” (quoted from the Ohio Revised Code, 4732-3-01 (J)). If you seek treatment for a mental disorder, then I encourage you to discuss a referral to someone who does that kind of work.  (In the past I have done psychotherapy, but it is no longer a part of my work.) If you are satisfied, comfortable in your life and surviving quite well, but would like to improve, then we are talking about an Executive Coaching Consultation. I was trained as a Counseling Psychologist. Besides our niche in Career Psychology, we Counseling Psychologists are known for working with healthy people who want to improve.  After starting my career, I hired a consulting psychologist to help me get the training and experience to solidify my work as a consulting psychologist.

An Executive Coaching Consultation is designed for the person who is successful, thriving, but wants to turn it up a notch. It is designed for the person with a history of success, but who is having trouble leaping over a recent hurdle. I can train you to use your mental power to overcome the hurdle and continue on a path of success. I define success in a number of ways. It isn’t just wealth, position or power. It can include all of those things. I think success is a proper balance of all aspects of life.

Sometimes supervisors, boards of advisors or directors, and CEO’s will contact me for one of their employees who has promise, but can’t quite sand off one particular rough edge. Before they fast track the person, they want to make sure he or she is prepared. In our work, we will work on that rough edge so that the person can achieve his or her potential.

When I am hired by an organization, that organization or company is the client.  The individual, in those cases, is receiving the benefit of the work, but the company is the client and as such, the company owns the information.  After discussion, I will discuss the process of his or her Consultation with those sponsoring the Consultation. In addition, with permission, I will gather information from his or her family, friends, co-workers, supervisors, mentors, and employees.

I am a psychologist. Not everyone who “coaches” in business has this training. As such, my behavior is regulated by the state. I am licensed in Idaho, Ohio, and Indiana. Because of that, I have to obey laws that regular people do not have to obey. Most of the laws are designed to protect consumers – the people who seek out the services of a psychologist. They govern things like keeping records, saving the records for a certain period of time, or getting your consent to work with me. (I don’t walk up to people on the street and say; “You need my services.” You have to want to work with me.) . It tends to muddy the waters.

There is a legal obligation I have as a psychologist that I want to discuss in detail: it is confidentiality. I am obligated to keep private what we talk about in the consultation. I don’t go to parties and tell people “You know, (insert your name here) told me this.…” I do consult with other professionals to keep my thinking sharp, but when I do, I don’t tell your name. I sometimes use examples from my practice in workshops, but when I do, I am obligated to change some of the details so that no one could ever recognize it was you. Generally, if I give examples, it is a blend of information from a number of clients. I like to let you know this in advance, because I think you should know what to expect. If you have questions or concerns, please ask me about them.

With Executive Coaching Consultation, there are often lots of people affected by your desire to enhance your performance. With your permission I will gather data from and share information with them in order to improve your life.

The other thing about confidentiality is that there are exceptions to confidentiality. There are times when I am obligated by law to break the confidential relationship. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. If you are a danger to yourself or someone else:
    If you are threatening to kill yourself or cause yourself grave bodily harm, I am obligated to do what I can to keep that from happening. If you are threatening to kill someone else or cause someone else grave bodily harm, I am obligated to try to keep that from happening. This includes my trying to contact the intended victim.
  2. In cases of child abuse:
    I am obligated to report child abuse when there is a child currently in danger. If you are an adult and were abused as a child, I do not need to report that unless there is a child currently in danger.
  3. In cases of vulnerable adult abuse:
    I am obligated to report if a person who is elderly, infirm, mentally or physically disabled is being abused or neglected.
  4. In cases of a court subpoena:
    Usually, this is not a problem. In fact, it is so rare, that most psychologists never have to deal with it. It does happen sometimes, so I thought you should know. Most judges recognize the importance of confidentiality and will not subpoena a record. However, on rare occasions, a judge will decide that this information is relevant. Sometimes in a court case, an opposing attorney will subpoena the record. In those cases, a terse letter from my attorney usually ends the request.
I am probably not like the psychologists you see on TV or in the movies. I probably won’t say things like, “So what I hear you saying…” or “I feel your pain,” or “Talk to the empty chair….” I have never made a person lay on a couch and look at the ceiling while we talk. In Executive Coaching Consultation, we won’t spend hours dissecting your potty training. Our focus is on your current functioning and your future progress. I think people change by modifying the way they think. I believe that changing a person’s thinking process is the most reliable way of changing behavior and emotions.

When a person contracts with me for an Executive Coaching Consultation, we agree on a quarterly commitment with meetings spaced about once a month or in some cases, every two weeks. It all depends on your goals and ability to devote the time to the work.  We’ll meet for an hour at a time to hammer at the issues. At the end of the period, we examine if our work has helped you achieve your goals. Then we ask if we should continue. The continued work is predicated on how useful it is to you. If your goals are easy to attain, then our work will be brief. If your goals require a great deal of input, our work may last longer. All along the way, we will be looking at how helpful it is to you. What we do will be fundamentally different than the kinds of conversations you have with your friends.

I don’t have any desire to be your paid professional friend. I hope you have friends that you can talk to without having to pay them. If you don’t, then it will be one of our priorities to help you develop the skills to make some friends. I think it says something very bad about our communities, churches, and friends if we have to pay a professional to be a friend. I do not want that role in your life. I am a paid consultant. I am not your friend. I will be friendly and we will talk about things that you typically only talk about with your friends, but at the end of the day, you had to pay me. I want to train you to make good decisions on your own rather than needing me to make all your important decisions. I want you to go back to your life and live it.

I tend to be direct and somewhat directive. I figure you hired me because you think I know something that you don’t know and you would like my perspective and information. I think it is my job to give it to you. It is not my model to let you squirm and struggle until you discover it on your own. There are a great many successful and competent psychologists who work that way. For many people it is remarkably powerful. It is, however, not how I work.

Because I am direct and have an efficiency model, some have said, “Gosh Roger, you’re blunt.” Well, in my professional role, I am blunt. In real life, I’m not as blunt.  However, as an executive coach, you are hiring me to tell you about things you have not or cannot observe. The more power a leader has, the less people tell him or her the truth.  Presidents are the least well-informed, most lied to person in every organization. It is my job to tell you the truth as best as I see it.  I don’t do it because I get a thrill out of it or because I am an insensitive clod. I do it because that’s why you’ve hired me. I will try to do it with sensitivity and tact. I do not want to hurt your feelings, but I will tell you the truth.

The initial consultation is pretty much spent with me gathering as much information about you as possible in as efficient a way as possible. Some people feel like they are getting drilled with questions and can sometimes be intimidated. Let me assure you that while the first consultation meeting does include lots of procedural stuff, future consultation meetings will not. Future consultation meetings will be more conversational and less procedural.  Most following sessions will last an hour or two – depending on our agreement. In an Executive Coaching Consultation, I may have you fill out a survey as well as interview your co-workers and family. It allows me to quickly figure out the areas in which you would like intervention. This helps me to make better decisions on how to help you. In some cases, I will administer other behavioral or personality inventories. I only administer the inventories when I think that they will aid in our work together. I’ll tell you ahead of time how much the inventories cost, how long it takes to administer them and their purpose.

When you come for our initial consultation, please be prepared with questions to ask me. Be prepared to tell me what you want to accomplish in your work with me. One of my responsibilities as a psychologist is to see that you find the best service possible for you. If I am not the best guy for you, I’ll do my best to connect you to another person who could help you. Sometimes, all you need is a little information. I regularly do workshops and seminars in the community. If one of those would be best for you, I’ll be sure to let you know.

If your concerns are related to mental disorders, then an Executive Coaching Consultation is not the appropriate intervention for you. If we discover that you have some diagnosable disorders that require treatment, I will refer you to another professional who will assist you in resolving those concerns.

I’ve learned a few things about what makes for a successful Executive Coaching Consultation. Mutual trust is essential. I’ve found that a few things are necessary for there to be mutual trust.

The first criterion for trust is honesty. I will be honest with you and I expect you to be honest with me. If, however, I find out that you have been lying to me, I’m going to ask, “Why are you wasting your time and money and my time by lying to me?” I’ll refer to you someone who (a) you either won’t lie to or (b) has a better lie detection system than I do. I don’t do it because I am miffed because you pulled the wool over my eyes (it has been done so often that it doesn’t miff me much), but because as a psychologist, I am obligated to help you get the best intervention possible. If am not that guy, then I need to refer you to someone who will be better at building that trust. In this way, I fulfill my goal of helping you get the best consultation.

The second is related to behavior in our meetings. Some behavior impairs the mutual trust necessary for a psychological consultation. In the past, less than half a dozen people have done something that has shown that the mutual trust is gone. I now tell people, “If you do this thing, I will refer you to work with someone else.” The thing is this: If you decide that I need to be cussed out in the following form: “Roger, you are full of ‘this’, you need to go ‘there’ and when you get there, do ‘this’ with yourself.” If this happens, I will refer you to someone else. Not because my nose is out of joint. I have been cussed out by the best (in real life) and lived to tell the tale. Nor is it because I am so thin skinned that I can’t take criticism, or that I am so offended by such words. In reality, it is because I know my track record. I haven’t been successful in consultation after that point. My obligation as a psychologist is to connect you with someone best qualified to resolve your concern. If I do not think I can be successful, I am responsible to connect you to someone who you either (a) won’t cuss out or (b) has been successful after being cussed out. Let me emphasize, in the cases of the hundreds of people with whom I have worked, this has occurred in less than half a dozen cases.

I know the limitations of my abilities. You should know them as well. I work well with successful people who want to improve themselves. I work well to help them become more successful in their lives. An Executive Coaching Consultation is not the type of intervention you need if you are: chronically suicidal, are actively struggling with an eating disorder or are having trouble staying connected with reality. I do care very much about people with those problems. I know, however, that an Executive Coaching Consultation is not the best intervention for them, because these are mental disorders. An Executive Coaching Consultation is not the way to address such concerns.

People who succeed in their work with me are motivated, work hard and do their homework. Let me illustrate by explaining the opposite: I often begin our time together with the question, “Where do we begin today?” People who, time after time, respond with “I don’t know, where do you want to begin?” do not succeed. These people have not thought about how they want their lives to change. They want me to be the one to change them. The way I work and this kind of thinking don’t fit together. If I give you homework to do, I expect that you will have done it. I don’t have a red pen to mark off points, but I do expect you to try out what you’ve learned with me in real life. If you spend a few hours a month with me and then fritter the other 716 hours of the month away, you can’t expect to make progress. Those who use the time with me to springboard into work outside of our meetings make faster progress and graduate sooner. People who succeed with me take notes on what we discuss and review the notes between meetings. People who don’t succeed won’t think about our work in the intermediary time.

People who succeed with me come to their appointments on time and call 24 hours in advance if they aren’t able to make it. If you are going to be more than 30 minutes late, it is usually better to simply reschedule the appointment than try to do all the work in half the available time.
If you must miss an appointment, please call me as soon as possible. Should you fail to keep an appointment without calling to cancel the session 24 hours in advance, you may be charged for that missed appointment.

You can call me. If I am available, I would be happy to speak to you. Otherwise, please leave a message. I will typically return phone messages shortly after I retrieve them. As I mentioned before, Executive Coaching Consultation is not designed for emergency services. If you are prone to needing frequent emergency service, an Executive Coaching Consultation is probably not the best for you. I will be happy to assist you in finding a more appropriate intervention.

You can contact me via email at hall@compassconsultation.com.

About email: It is not a guaranteed confidential form of communication with me. I do not offer encryption of my emails nor can I guarantee that all email packets sent to me won’t be lost or viewed in transmission. If you wish to communicate via email, I may respond. I do not guarantee immediate response of email. If you send email to me, you consent that I may respond via email, knowing it is not a guaranteed confidential communication. I will not conduct Executive Coaching Consultation via the Internet. I wish to have more direct access to you than email will provide. If your use of email goes beyond basic communication, I reserve the right to charge for reading and responding to your messages. I will tell you if your email use becomes time consuming and warrants payment.

It is not uncommon that I bump into people who have consulted with me. In those cases, I will interact with you at the same level you interact with me. If you want to discuss your concerns with me out in public, I cannot guarantee confidentiality of the communication. If someone overhears what you are saying to me, I cannot control that. Please use good judgment in such cases.

Occasionally, people with whom I do Executive Coaching Consultation intersect a little into my social circle. In all cases, I need to be objective in my thinking about you. If I see the potential for my thinking to become less than objective, we’ll discuss another arrangement.

Mine is a fee for service practice. People pay me at the time of our initial contract. Payment is also made at following contract periods. I accept cash, checks or credit cards. For information about my fees, please contact me personally.

My policies are in place to prevent problems from arising in the future that could impair the Executive Coaching Consultation. Nonpayment or payment refused by the bank may be may be followed up by a collection service.

Because an Executive Coaching Consultation is, by definition, not addressing mental disorders, I do not believe that any insurance company would cover the expense. Consult with a tax professional to determine if my fees are tax deductible as a business expense.

Many people seek out my services because of my faith commitment. However, a significant number of people seek me out for other reasons. If you would like to integrate faith issues in our work, please discuss this with me in person. If those are not issues you would like to involve in our work, no problem. I do not see my role as a psychologist as an evangelist. If faith issues are important to you, please initiate a discussion with me regarding their role in our work.