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Frequently Asked Questions

Want to get as much information as possible before getting in touch or asking questions? I get it. Have a read of the Q&As below, and send me a message if your question is not covered here!

  • What languages (and cultures) are you actually fluent in? 我真係可以同你講廣東話?
    I speak both English and Cantonese to a native level, having lived, studied, and worked in Hong Kong, the US, and the UK. I also understand enough Mandarin to get certain concepts and phrases for which there aren’t English equivalents. The cool thing about working on Zoom is that you can always type Chinese (Traditional or Simplified) into the chat when my Mandarin fails me. Beyond that, I work with multilingualism with sensitivity, informed by the work of Dr Beverley Costa. I’ve worked with many non-native English speakers. And to Cantonese readers: 係呀!我喺香港讀書時有讀中國語文及文化科。
  • What do you think about Ted Lasso as a coach?
    My answer is going to be a bit spoiler-y (up to S3E6 as of this writing), so continue reading at your own risk. For the most part, I like Ted as a coach, such as: how he really cares about helping his players be better people off the pitch as well; his moments of vulnerability that lead to impactful speeches (i.e. using his own experiences in a helpful way); his willingness to see the good and the potential in people; his treatment of everyone as a fellow human, regardless of their status; his (sometimes correct) judgement call of letting people rise to the occasion rather than intervening himself; his humour, musical references, and use of language; and how he doesn’t blame or shame people as a way of motivation. Where I hope to see him grow: his lack of knowledge in his area of coaching (this was cute in his first season, but after so long?); when his positivity veers into toxic territory; a common issue: trying to help others while ignoring his own problems, even when his struggles clearly leak into and impact his work; related to the above, his inconsistent relationships with the people he influences (sure, those people are grown-ups who we can rightfully expect to state their own needs and concerns, but I also expect that Ted, as a coach/leader, to notice when his people are struggling); and his tendency to avoid confrontation. But yes, as he admitted himself, he’s a ‘work in progmess’. We all are to one degree or another. So let’s help each other along.
  • How long/often should I be coached?
    It really depends on what your needs are and where you’re at on your journey. People usually come to me with a specific-enough goal for which there is: some kind of timeline built in (e.g. finding more-fulfilling work within X number of months); some degree of progress that they’re looking for (e.g. becoming 10% more confident to handle conflict, disagreement, and negotiations); some degree of flexibility as to when coaching is considered finished (e.g. developing and fine-tuning a personal toolkit that’s sufficient to meet most challenges you face when running your business); or some tangible outcome (e.g. getting clear on the real issue and untangling the yarn of emotions, so that you’re no longer overwhelmed and are in a better place to make some important decision). Generally, I’d recommend a block of 4 sessions to start, usually at a frequency of one session every other week with an accountability check-in in between sessions. That way you get to take advantage of the power of pre-commitment, and we work together regularly enough to inspect and adapt and keep the momentum going. I also offer single-session/one-at-a-time coaching. This is a way of working where: We meet for one session of coaching. You take time after the session to reflect and digest what you’ve learned, take action, experiment, then decide whether to book another session. More support is always available! We can discuss more during your initial, free consultation.
  • What is needed from me as a client?
    You’ll need to be open to self-reflection, take responsibility for your learning and development, and be willing to commit the time and effort required to make your goal happen. Yes, I’ll support you, but like a personal trainer, I cannot exercise for you if you want to get fit. I am by no means saying that coaching ought to become just another place where you have to perform, because it’s really not! For the most part, if you bring yourself, you’ll be fine. A practical note: Once we decide to work together (after an initial consultation and before our first session), I’ll ask that you sign a coaching agreement covering basics such as: acknowledgement of what coaching is and is not; confidentiality and its limits; consent for your basic details to go on my coaching log, which may be submitted to a professional body for accreditation purposes; and any minimum commitment, frequency, and fees.
  • What’s the difference between coaching and mentoring?
    The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), of which I’m a member, defines coaching and mentoring jointly as follows: “It is a professionally guided process that inspires clients to maximise their personal and professional potential. It is a structured, purposeful and transformational process, helping clients to see and test alternative ways for improvement of competence, decision-making and enhancement of quality of life. Coach and Mentor and client work together in a partnering relationship on strictly confidential terms. In this relationship, clients are experts on the content and decision-making level; the coach and mentor is an expert in professionally guiding the process.” Separately, the EMCC has the following definition of mentoring: “Mentoring is a learning relationship, involving the sharing of skills, knowledge, and expertise between a mentor and mentee through developmental conversations, experience sharing, and role modelling. The relationship may cover a wide variety of contexts and is an inclusive two-way partnership for mutual learning that values differences.” When I say that my services are usually 95% coaching and 5% mentoring, I’m referring to how I’m focused on drawing out your inner resources and being your thinking partner (coaching), and if you’re like most people who’d choose me as a coach, chances are good that I do have the skills, knowledge, and expertise that are relevant to your goals and that my experiences may be of interest to you (mentoring). I will always work with you on that balance, and you’re of course welcome to choose 100% coaching. You can find the EMCC definitions here: EMCC Global Competence Framework, Glossary V2, Revised January 2018.
  • What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?
    “Therapy is primarily concerned with alleviating distress and suffering, and coaching is primarily concerned with the development of potential. Coaching can sometimes be therapeutic, but that shouldn’t be its primary purpose.” – David Britten, dual-trained therapist and coach, “How Coaches Can Better Support Clients’ Mental Health”, The AC (Association for Coaching) Podcast “Coaching is . . . an integration of cognitive-behavioural/solutions-focused/positive psychology approaches together with a motivational theory within a humanistic tradition.” – Julia Vaughan Smith, Therapist Into Coach There are many types of therapy. Some are focused on the past, problems, emotions, and/or insight. Some, like cognitive-behavioural therapy and solutions-focused therapy, have more similarities to coaching. I’m passionate about demystifying and destigmatising therapy and helping people find the right support. We can find out through a discovery call or a one-off coaching session what may be a good next step for you. It’s totally fine with me if you end up working with a therapist rather than with me; I really do take your mental health seriously. See also this article: “How to figure out if you need a career coach, a life coach or a therapist”.
  • What’s your availability like? What time zone are you in?
    I’m based in London, UK, so my time zone is either GMT or GMT+1 depending on the time of year. I’m generally available throughout the week except Monday and Friday. Depending on the day, the earliest slot is 10:30am UK time, and the latest slot is 7:30pm UK time. This allows me to work with US-based clients who are available in the morning or early afternoon. Between 31 March 2024 and 26 October 2024, I’m on British Summer Time (GMT+1), which is: 5 hours ahead of EDT; 8 hours ahead of PDT; 1 hour behind CEST; 7 hours behind Hong Kong Time. I recommend World Time Buddy for figuring out time differences. My booking calendar can also show the appointment times in your time zone.
  • Do you coach virtually or in person?
    Our coaching sessions are virtual. Zoom is the default platform. If you’re in London, UK and would like to have at least one in-person session, we can try to arrange it. Walk-and-talk sessions are great!
  • What are your rates?
    As of June 2024, my usual rates for online coaching are: Starter package: £599 / US$899 1 x kick-off, clarity session (1 hour) 3 x personalised coaching/mentoring session (1 hour each) 4 x post-session accountability check-in via email 1 x 15-minute call for when you could use a boost (e.g. before an interview or after a difficult conversation) Payment by debit/credit card (via Stripe) or by UK bank transfer. Single-session: £179 / US$269 1 x personalised coaching/mentoring session (1 hour) 1 x post-session accountability check-in via email Payment by debit/credit card (via Stripe, payable on booking through Calendly). We can discuss rates for longer-term work, any extra support (e.g. CV/résumé review/editing), or different ways of working (e.g. longer or shorter sessions).
  • What are your qualifications?
    I did my coaching training at the University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education and earned an Advanced Certificate in Life Coaching with distinction. The training included over 100 contact hours (mostly in-person), covering ICF Core Competencies, personal development, and coaching practice done in both English and Cantonese. In addition, I have an Advanced Certificate in Counselling with distinction from the same institution, and I am working towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of East London. For more on my academic and professional background, including what I bring outside of coaching and counselling training, please visit my LinkedIn profile.
  • Do you adhere to a code of ethics?
    Yes, I do. As a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), I adhere to the EMCC Global Code of Ethics. I also work with an EMCC-accredited supervisor.
  • Mel? Maloney? What’s your name, man?
    🎵 Alexander Hamilton! 🎵 (Sorry, I’m a musical theatre kid.) Maloney is on my passport, but to my friends I’ve always been Mel (or some ‘Konglish’ version of Maloney). For many years I’d kept my professional life almost entirely separate from my personal life, choosing to introduce myself as Maloney in work-related situations and Mel outside of work. Now I just want to integrate both. You can call me by either name. My last name, for the record, is Liu. Feel free to look me up on LinkedIn to make sure I’m a real person. I have recommendations going as far back as 2009.
  • How can I support your work apart from being a coaching client?
    Aw, thanks! I would really appreciate it if you could: refer a friend; share my content with your network; leave a tip; follow me on LinkedIn; and/or leave me a message. I would love to hear from you!

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