Program FAQ

Learn more about The Coaching Fellowship Program. What the program consist of, how to apply and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Nightingale Fellowship and the Coaching Fellowship program?

The Coaching Fellowship is a 6-month program consisting of 11 one-on-one coaching sessions for young high-potential women leaders in the social impact space. Each Fellow brings their own leadership development goals and co-designs their experience with their coach. Group workshops and collaborative experiences with other Fellows are optional.

The Nightingale Fellowship is a 4-month COVID-response program for leaders working in healthcare, education, behavioral health, food security, and other direct practice professions impacted by the pandemic. The program consists of 4 group workshop opportunities focused on COVID recovery, personal well being, and resiliency building as well as 8 one-on-one coaching sessions. The group workshops and collaborative experiences are a core component of the program.

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What is a coach?

A coach is NOT the same as a mentor, consultant, or career counselor.

A mentor/consultant will set out to train or give you direct advice in support of the professional goal or project you are attempting to accomplish. A career counselor will help you to hone professional development skills such as creating a resume or cover letter, and give you direction on your career path.

A Coaching Fellowship coach, on the other hand, will work with you to reach your personal and professional goals. They will guide you and help you to focus on your strengths, rather directly advising you. They will enable you to grow, motivate you and hold you accountable to your goals.

Here’s a helpful chart to further clarify what a coach is:

Your coach will:

  • Guide you in your personal and professional development
  • Support you in understanding your strengths and blindspots
  • Help you unfold your authentic leadership style
  • Hold you accountable for reaching your personal goals
  • Challenge you and provide feedback on your progress
  • Give you actions and inquiries to work on in-between sessions
  • Discover your unique personal values and purpose
  • Help you set clearer goals, take action, and make better decisions
  • Identify self-limiting influences and beliefs and create new pathways for success

Your coach will NOT:

  • Give direct advice on a specific skill (such as strategy, fundraising, branding, presenting, or career development)
  • Work with you to create a business strategy
  • Work with you to develop a professional project
  • Identify business development pipelines or processes
  • Make introductions and help build your network
  • Give advice or training on creating a resume, or interview techniques

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How are Fellows and Coaches Matched?

We match a fellow with a coach as much as possible based on timezone compatibility, and also consider a coach’s experience and fellow’s needs. Note: a coach may be in a completely different country than the fellow - so far our coaches are based in 23 countries and we continue to expand with each program.

All our coaches are professionally trained, highly experienced in leadership development, and very dedicated to supporting our fellows. They come from very different backgrounds than our fellows, and are experts in helping our fellows help themselves. Our coaches are completely committed to our fellows’ success and growth. They are here to help our fellows gain better understanding of their strengths and blind spots, both personally and professionally.

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How do Fellows and Coaches Work Together?

All coaching sessions are held on the phone / Zoom / WhatsApp / Google-hangouts, whichever fellows and coaches prefers. Fellows and coaches generally discuss this in the first meeting and design together what works the best.

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Who is Responsible to Set Up Coaching Calls?

It is customary for fellows to initiate the call/Zoom connection for each coaching session.

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How Long is Each Coaching Session?

A fellow and her coach decide together how frequently to coach, and also how long each coaching session will be. We recommend meeting regularly and have sessions either each week or every two weeks, because the most change and transformation happens with consistency.

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What Happens in a Typical Coaching Session?

First, fellows set the pace and bring a topic or focus area she’d like to look at for that specific session. It could be tightly connected to one of her goals or focus areas identified at the beginning of the Fellowship, but it might be something different that feels immediately important to explore.

The coach will expect the fellow to bring discussion topics to each coaching session. What this means is, keeping the overall coaching goal in mind, each fellow should come to each coaching session prepared with micro-topics she’d like to discuss or share with her coach. It could be something that happened during the week; a thought that has been bothering her; an idea that just came to her; an observation of herself. Bottomline, a fellow needs to bring the topics to get the conversation started.

During the coaching session, the coach will be there to guide the exploration alongside the fellow by asking powerful questions, conducting exercises, and helping her to clarify what she wants and how she feels. Fellows can count on her coach to help unfold new perspectives to challenges, highlight her strengths, and champion her and her growth.

Every coach has their own unique approach, but expect coach to check in with the fellow on the approaches and tools that work best for her. Through it all the coach will help the fellow to work on the specific topic for that session, and at the same time help her work towards her larger goals for coaching.

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What is a Discovery or Launch Session?

In the first coaching session, a coach discusses with his/her fellow her goals for coaching, and areas like strengths, values and challenges. We call the first session a ‘Discovery’ or ‘Launch’ Session. The coach will also guide a conversation about how you will work together - timing, frequency, ways of being, and more. We want to ensure that each fellow has a clear idea of what she’d like to accomplish with her coach before getting started.

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What Kind of Coaching Goals do Fellows have?

Coaching goals may be very specific or broad, but ideally contain what the focus area is and also outline what it would look like if a fellow were to make the change or accomplish her goal.

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What Happens Between Coaching Sessions?

With coaching there is usually homework or next steps to focus on. At the end of each session, a coach will ask the fellow what she wants to do as next steps or offer an inquiry/further questions to consider. The Coach is likely to give a fellow something to work on or to reflect on. Coaching is always focused on ‘Forwarding the Action and Deepening the Learning!’ The coach will also discuss what kind of accountability support the fellow wants and if she would like to design a system for checking in with her coach between calls.

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Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Each coaching session is private, personal, and confidential. We have a contract agreement with all our coaches whereby they must keep the confidentiality of their fellows unless required to do so by law (e.g., illegal activity, pursuant to valid court order or subpoena; imminent or likely risk of danger to self or to others; etc) Visit the International Coach Federation Code of Ethics Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy for further explanation.

Fellows do not share the contents of their coaching sessions unless the fellow wants to specifically outside of the coaching relationship. Fellows are required to complete pre and post-program surveys for us to understand how effective the program is and how we can best support the fellows. However, we do not expect fellows to divulge any details if they do not wish to disclose.

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Is There a Curriculum for the Program?

No. Coaching is extremely personal and individualized. Each fellow and coach work on very different topics from session to session depending on the fellow’s needs and goals. During the program, we send out a weekly E-mail guiding fellows along the program.

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How do Fellows Meet Other TCFS Fellows and Alumnae?

Over the years we have learned that having allies maximizes our Fellow’s coaching experience and deepens their learning. Opportunities to connect with other Fellows in small groups are offered in a variety of ways throughout both the Coaching Fellowship and Nightingale Fellowship programs.

Alumnae of both the Coaching Fellowship and Nightingale Fellowship programs become part of our community of more than 1,000 women world-wide. We have an active online community, monthly virtual events, and local chapters that our Fellows and Alumnae are invited to engage with both during their Fellowship program and beyond.

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What Happens After the Program?

Once a fellow completes her coaching program, she automatically becomes part of our alumnae network. She will continue to be on our mailing list, receive invitations to our future events, have access to opportunities such as online workshops and trainings, and stay connected with the other alumnae members.

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Is there an age limit to become a fellow?

No, we have no age limit. However, 95% of our applicants and fellows are aged between 25 and 35. Our mission is to support younger women leaders on their journey. We do not discriminate against age. Our evaluation criteria is based on the scope and scale of impact, and where the individual is in her career to maximize her growth.

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Why is a fellow required to be emotionally and mentally stable to join the program?

We have a requirement that a fellow in the TCFS program is emotionally and mentally stable before joining our program. If you have experienced significant emotional trauma, a traumatic event, and have been in recovery or treatment in the last 12 month, we recommend that you consider applying for our fellowship program after at least 12 months post-recovery.

Coaching is a wonderful process for opening up transformation and going deep, but the serious concern is that it can also trigger traumatic emotions if you are recovering and healing from trauma, and because our coaches don’t have therapeutic training to support that, it could potentially harm you, and we would never, ever want that for anyone.

If you have any questions regarding this requirement, please reach out to us at [email protected].

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What is our hope for the Allies Pod experience?

What is being in an Allies Pod like?

Looking for more details on our program that aren't answered here?

You can hear personal stories from our fellows who have completed the program on our blog. Or reach out to us with your questions at [email protected].

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