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  1. Writing a Professional Coaching Bio: a guide for occupational and business psychologists

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    DB7DE5CC-12CD-4F26-A4DE-6F86CC0C43F8Writing a Professional Coaching Bio: a guide for occupational and business psychologists

    By Dr Michelle Hunter-Hill, Chartered Psychologist, Scientist, and Coach

    It is common knowledge that coaching is a highly competitive field to enter. There were over 90,000 coaches worldwide in 2021, and that number continues to grow. The question is, how does an individual coach stand out in the crowded coaching landscape? A professional coaching bio can bridge the gap between a coach and coachee. However, most people do not have a bio that is readily available - they stress to create it on demand. So, what is a professional bio, what purpose does it serve, and what should a good one look like? 

     A professional bio offers a brief snapshot or story of your experiences, including who you are, what you so, and your background so far. As well as being useful when applying for jobs, bio’s are useful for seeking new clients.  Having a bio is one way of ensuring your professionals and credibility to clients and customers, as they are also a way to market your brand. As a consultant who pitches for work, I am often asked to send over a copy of my bio to potential clients. Because of this, as a professional practice educator and supervisor of psychologist and coaches, I make it a point of duty to teach them how to write one.

    Professional bios usually include details about education, employment, consultancy experiences, achievements and relevant skills. Therefore, as well as providing information about what you have done in the past, it can help potential clients to understand what you are capable of doing. Stop for a moment - reflect on what you are able to do.  Bios can also be used by clients to gather what type of work/engagement would be of interest to you.  Thus, when writing a bio, honesty really is the best policy. Highlighting key points in your career history is essential also.

    It is important to tailor your bio so that it reflects your goals, and the people you want to reach out to. For example, if you are a coach you may have a preference to work with certain client groups, or you may be trained/experienced in this area. These elements should be highlighted in your bio. Besides this, it is essential to remember that your clients want success, growth, or results with something they are struggling with. They want to develop, and change behaviours to become a better version of themselves. They want to find the best coach to help them do that. You may well be the perfect coach to do this, although clients will not know this if your bio does not reflect you, your experiences, and interests well.

    Your bio should be unique so potential clients get to meet you.  Write your bio with your ideal client in mind.  Begin by reflecting on who you are as a person. Consider the following areas for inclusion in your bio:

    • Name
    • Occupation/profession/job title
    • Skills and expertise
    • Passions and goals
    • Education
    • Achievements
    • Professional accreditations 
    • Work/consultancy sector 
    • Work history
    • Geographical/catchment area
    • Values and personality, and how they shape your approach 

    Bios can be written from a first-person, or third person perspective. If you are building a personal brand and want clients to get to know you, the former is most appropriate. In the first-person perspective, your aim is to tell your story to your potential clients. Do not see it as an opportunity to overuse the word “I”.  Don’t just tell your clients what you do, show them what you do. Include hobbies that relate to what you want to do. Take a look at an example of a good 1st-person bio:

    When writing in the third-person, it is necessary to keep an objective stance.  Your aim is to create distance between potential clients and yourself. This type of bios is useful for formal industries whereby title and skills matter.  Nonetheless, as well as being objective, this type of bio should be friendly also. When writing it, you should do so from the perspective of someone you know and trust.  Show the reader why entry should trust your opinion. You should include relevant facts that clients resonate with, although it is best to avoid jargon. Tell your story with conviction, and humour. See Chimaamanda Ngozi Adiche’s bio ( )for inspiration of a great 3rd-person bio.

    When written well, a bio can tell an interesting and worthy story about you, which can be highly useful to those who are considering to partner with you for personal, professional, or business purposes.  In fact, you never really know who is reading your bio, although you always want it to be ready for when the right people read it. It is a tool you can leverage when you are networking. Are you ready to write your bio? Use the guidance provided above, and if you get stuck feel free to contact us at the Practice. Have a look at my sample bio below:

    "Dr Michelle is a professional practice/performance coach who helps upcoming occupational and business psychologists make the transition from student to experienced professional practitioners. A Chartered and HCPC-registered Psychologist and Scientist, Dr Michelle started her coaching business in 2021 to help early practitioner psychologists with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting out as a consultant, or seeking employment as an occupational or business psychologist while still acting as a chartered psychologist, and directing an occupational psychology consultancy, and a BPS and ABP-accredited Masters programmePrior to directing professional practice, Dr Michelle spent over ten years as an applied psychologist, senior lecturer,  corporate trainer and workshop leader working predominately in the UK and Middle East. She serves as a coach to those considering international assignments, particularly in the Middle East region, namely Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia. Today Dr Michelle offers a wide range of programs and services - from individual coaching, to seminars and keynote speeches. To contact Dr Michelle, please contact her at [email protected] or [email protected])."

    About the author: Dr Michelle Hunter-Hill is a chartered psychologist, scientist, and coach who works within higher education and professional practice. He main focus is to identify potentially talented individuals, and develop them. She achieves this in her roles as supervisor and practice educator.

  2. How to Plan and Deliver an Effective Coaching Session

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    How to Plan and Deliver an Effective Coaching Session  Dr Michelle Hunter-Hill, Chartered Psychologist, Scientist, and Coach


    A fundamental aim of coaching is to move the coachee from where they are to where they want to be. The aim is to guide the coachee is such a way that eventually they will feel empowered to take the reins and direct the process. While this may sound straightforward, it can be a difficult task to navigate. Having a strategy can help though.- use this period to prepare yourself for the coaching session. Are you ready and fit to coach? Are you adequately prepared for your session? Have you provided your coachee with your bio? Have you created a coaching contract/agreement? Have you assessed your coachees readiness for coaching? 

    Delivering an effective, engaging coaching session takes experience and planning. One way to maximise executive and career-based coaching is to create a session plan. A coaching plan can be useful to beginners, and to seasoned professionals also. Plans help to remind us about the importance of following ‘best/good-practice’ guidelines. Delivering effective sessions, inlcudes having to make informed choices about which coaching model, and tools to use to meet coachee needs.


     Every coachee is different, and no two coaching sessions are the same. While it may seem onerous to create a detailed plan to guide the coaching session, a semi-structured framework might help to keep coahes on track by focussing on the non-negotiable elements of the coaching sessions. However, it is still possible to tweak sessions on a case-by-case basis to ensure coachees achieve their goals.


     In this guide, Dr Hunter-Hill offers a 7-step process, which includes a pre-coaching, and a post-coaching phase. 


    The 7-step of an effective coaching session


    This generic framework below offers an effective way to structure your coaching sessions. However, it is important to note that the structure of coaching session will depend on many factors, including the type of coaching you offer, the models you use, and the goals of your coachees. Nonetheless, you can refer to this framework as a ‘work-in-progress’ document because you can build upon it, add, and transform it into a signature coaching experience that works for you and your coachees.


     7-Step Process


    Step 1: Pre-coaching. Use this period to prepare yourself for the coaching session. Are you ready and fit to coach? Are you adequately prepared for your session? Have you provided your coachee with your bio? Have you created a coaching contract/agreement? Have you assessed your coachees readiness for coaching?




    Step 2: Preparation warm up. Use this session to engage your coachee. Find out what they have been up to. Use small talk, and open-ended questions for exploration. Readiness can be assessed in this session also.


    Step 3: goal-setting. Find out what your coachee plan is for the session. Make sure that you and your coachee are aligned. What is their desired outcome. Remember, the coaching session is coachee-focussed so this information should come from your coachee and not from you.


    Step 4: Coaching tool-box. During this part of the session you will be using a range of tools and strategies to facilitate the session. As a coach your role is to assist your coachee to feel comfortable about getting out of their comfort zone to help them reach a point of ‘readiness’ to lay the groundwork for initiating behavioural change and to ensure new habits and learning takes place. (Please search for our infographic entitled ‘Coaching Questions’ on our website/Linkedin page for more information of further questions you can ask while coaching.)


    During this stage, it is important to use this step to ask the right questions. Being an active and present listener matters most here. Your role is to lead the conversation in a purposeful and constructive manner. Yes, this involves taking note of what your coachee is saying, and being ‘present’ enough to notice what they are bit saying. Experienced coaches make use of a range of resources to facilitate this step of the process, including role play scenarios, worksheets, roadmaps, anecdotes and examples from previous practice.


    Step 5: Pledge. How will you ensure coachees commit to the habits you have identified for them to develop to achieve behavioural change? You will have to find a way to ask them to write the commitments down.


    For example, you may suggest that every time the coachee is faced with a specific scenario, they should apply their new learning to it, and be mindful of it also.


    Step 6: Reflections. Reflection is a key element of all coaching sessions as including it can support lasting change. In fact, do not end the session without asking them to reflect on the breakthroughs achieved in the session. Again, the information that stems from you should not stem from you. It should be coachee-led.


     It is equally important for coaches to reflect on their performance during the session also. For example, you should reflect on how effective the session was for helping the coachee to achieve their goals. Did your approach work? What would you stop, start, and continue doing to improve your session next time?


     Step 7: post-coaching evaluation. It is important to find out from your coachee how they received the session. Did the session meet their expectations? In their opinion, what worked and what did not work so well? You can use a standard evaluation form to collect information on this.


    About the author
    Dr Michelle Hunter-Hill is a Chartered Psychologist, Scientist, Coach, and supervisor. She specialises in the professional development of psychologists and coaching professionals. Dr Hunter-Hill is Programme Director of MSc Occupational and Business Psychology at University of Roehampton, and she assesses and develops talent internationally, particularly in the UK and Middle East).