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Frequently Asked Questions

How is language coaching different than teaching English as a Second Language?
Language Coaching incorporates the best from teaching English as a Second Language with the newest ideas from coaching. It’s an integrated approach to helping people improve their communication skills and cultural awareness. So much of language is connected to culture, and it is crucial that learners are aware of the cultural norms and “rules” of language.

Regular English Language training teaches effective communication skills, however, there is no follow-up to see if people are transferring the knowledge from the classroom into real life situations. Coaching helps clients take the skills they are learning and integrate them into their daily lives. A coach will help clients identify their goals and then support, challenge and hold those clients accountable so that they attain and surpass their goals.

Language coaching encourages clients to explore any blocks that might be impeding their progress, such as lack of confidence, discouragement, resentment, lack of knowledge about how to learn, etc. It’s imperative to address these issues so that the client can move beyond them and succeed in the learning process.

Please see the case studies for examples.

What other kinds of communication challenges can you help me with?
Catalyst Communication has worked with people on some of the following issues:

  • developing confidence
  • being assertive, not aggressive
  • developing interpersonal skills
  • effective and win-win negotiating
  • presenting information clearly
  • working effectively in a multicultural environment
What is the Return on Investment on coaching?

“The Xerox Corporation carried out several studies, one of which showed that in the absence of follow-up coaching 87% of the skills change brought about by the program was lost. That’s 87 cents in the skills dollar. However good your skill training in the classroom is, unless it’s followed up on the job, most of its effectiveness is lost without follow-up coaching. For example: Most sales people try out the new skills for a few calls, find that they feel awkward and the new method isn’t bringing instant results, so they go back to their old ways. We’ve done lots of research over the past three years, and we’ve found that leaders who have the best coaching skills have better business results.”

V.P. of Global Executive & Organizational Development at IBM.

“Coaching is the only cost-effective way to reinforce new behaviours and skills until a learner is through the dangerous results dip. Once through the dip, when the new skills bring results, they will become self-reinforcing.”

Training and Development Journal

“The coaching programs delivered an average return on investment of 5 -7 times the initial investment in a typical executive coaching assignment according to executives who estimated the monetary value of the results achieved through coaching.”

Business Wire, January 2001

What is the investment?
One of the key components of language coaching is training participants to take responsibility for what they learn and to become self-directed learners. Your investment goes a long way. It does take a long time to master a language and to improve communication skills. For that reason, we recommend at least 3 sessions of 12 weeks over a year. There are several for pricing. Please talk to Andrea to explore these options.

How do I bring up the topic of language coaching? Will my employees feel insulted?
As Canadians, we truly want to embrace diversity and avoid discrimination. Sometimes this makes us reluctant to acknowledge that someone has a language problem. However, most English as a Second Language speakers realize that they have some communication challenges and want to improve. They know that their chances for promotion are often tied to their language skills. When clients realize that their company values their contributions and is prepared to invest in them and offer them personalized instruction at their workplace, they often leap at the opportunity and feel an increased sense of loyalty to the company. Catalyst Communication can work with you to determine the best way to convey the language coaching opportunity. It is important to note that participation must be voluntary and participants must commit to spending at least 4 hours a week working on their language and communication skills.

How can our company support the learning that our employees are undergoing?
We offer two that address what managers can do to support the language and cultural learning that some of their employees need to undergo in order to be even more effective contributors. These workshops are also useful to develop the cross-cultural knowledge that we, as Torontonians, need in our work and personal interactions in this multi-cultural city. These workshops are interactive and designed to raise awareness.


“We tend to promote our top performers, and our top performers essentially have to be good communicators as well as good workers. By ignoring our mutual communications barrier with some of our brightest workers, we are unintentionally holding back their careers, and robbing ourselves of their best performance. This is a lose-lose scenario.”

A.Currie, Executive Director

“I found the English course very helpful. Before I was shy to speak and communicate with
others. After taking the course for a year, I am more confident to speak with my colleagues
and in group discussions.”

J.Chan, CGA