What is the difference between Language Coaching and traditional language training?

While traditional language training focusses on teaching the mechanics of the language (e.g. grammar, syntax and vocabulary), Language Coaching addresses the emotional, motivational and practical side of learning a language. Research into the way our brain works and learns new information has shown that learning (of any kind) does not take place in a vacuum. Learning is affected by emotions, opinions, past experience and knowledge. In other words, “learning engages the entire physiology. Everything that affects our physiological functioning, affects our capacity to learn”. (Caine and Caine, 12 Principles of Learning, 1994). As a language learner I have also had this experience and I’m absolutely convinced that effective language learning needs to take these aspects into consideration. Simply feeding the brain with a new language is not enough.

What kind of qualifications do you need to be a Language Coach?

This is a tricky question to answer as the industry is still relatively new and there is no standard in place. I have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification and a AC (Association for Coaching) accredited coaching qualification. Both types of these qualifications should be the minimum when a trainer decides to call themselves a language coach. I’ve also recently started training to become a certified Positive Psychology Practitioner.
In addition, I also have a degree (BSc.Econ) in European Union Studies with German and Spanish, over 20 years of experience as a trainer AND importantly I have also learned numerous foreign languages and am still learning! In my opinion, this is something that is often overlooked when people are looking for a language trainer. You wouldn’t take swimming lessons from a person who had never got in the water! Someone who knew the theory but hadn’t tried it themselves. Why learn a language from someone who doesn’t speak a foreign language themselves i.e. an English teacher who only speaks English?

Can anyone call themselves a coach?

Unfortunately, yes. Coaching in general is still unregulated and pretty much anyone can call themselves a “coach” for anything. However, there are many professional organisations who are striving to bring standard practices and qualifications to the industry. That’s why you should always look for accreditation when hiring any type of coach.

How many hours will I need to do?

That depends of course on what you want to achieve. A key aspect of coaching is to assess the current situation and then establish where the client wants to go. Like any goal in life, the number of hours that need to be invested depends on the target, time available, budget and commitment. For example, perhaps you have an important presentation coming up and just want to focus on that: 2-3 x 90 minutes might be enough. However, if you need to bring your English up a whole level, say from CEF level B1 to B2+ (perhaps for a new job) the number of sessions would obviously be much higher. Click here for more information on CEF Levels.

Why should I pay to hire a coach rather than use an app like Duolingo?

Duolingo is the top education app for learning languages and has a lot of great features. It makes learning fun and is easily accessible. However, it has its limitations. A lot of the exercises are mostly passive practice and can’t replace direct interactions between a native speaker and a language learner. Duolingo have introduced chatbots so you can have conversations with a computer. Better than no conversation practice at all but certainly not a replacement for a live conversation with a native, experienced coach. Talk to any successful language learner and they will tell you that live conversations with native speakers, the chance to ask questions, having an experienced trainer to explain something in as many different ways as possible until you get it; these things are essential resources when learning a language. Apps can definitely support your learning and are improving all the time; I use them too (see below). But apps alone won’t give you fluent conversation skills.

I’m responsible for organising training at my company. What kind of corporate training do you offer?

I offer intensive coaching workshops, one-to-one coaching, online coaching, homework coaching or any combination of the above depending on your individual needs. Please see What I offer for more details or feel free to contact me directly for a free consultation.

How much does it cost?

I offer a variety of training packages from one-to-one Skype training to in-company workshops. Prices are calculated per session or as a package e.g. Bonus cards (10 lessons at a discounted price with flexible conditions). For details on pricing, please go to What I offer.

Do you offer translation and proofreading?

Yes, I also do translation work (German > (British) English) for 21 cents per word (plus 19% VAT) and proofreading for 11 cents per word (plus 19% VAT). Extra charges may be added for express/weekend work requests. Please contact me for references and examples of my work.

Can I just book a couple of sessions to work on a specific skill/issue?

Absolutely! Everyone has different needs at different times in their life when it comes to English training. Maybe you already have lessons at work and just want some extra sessions to work on a specific topic. Or perhaps you are looking for a new job and want to get your CV and interview skills up to speed (see Job Application Coaching). A few sessions with a specific and relevant target can be highly effective.

What does a typical session look like?

We start with a free 20-minute consultation to establish what you would like to achieve and where you are now. After this, sessions would be a combination of coaching (goal setting, motivational support, brain coaching tips for effective learning) and traditional language training (cleaning up grammar mistakes, fluency, correction, vocabulary input). Homework of some kind is given at every session and is a key aspect of the training.

What is Presentation Coaching?

Over the last 20 years as a Language Coach I have literally seen hundreds of presentations. Sometimes I see really good ones. Sometimes they are so terrible I consider asking the people if I can buy the presentation and sell it as a sleeping aid to insomniacs!! But mostly they are somewhere in between i.e. not awful but not great. I’ve seen presentations on every possible topic you can imagine from lift shafts to ice-cream sales. And one thing has become very clear. It’s not what you present, but how you present. Find out how my experience and coaching can help you and book a free 20 minute consultation today!
Please go to Presentation Coaching for more details and prices.

What is Job Application Coaching?

In addition to helping people with presentations, working on CVs and interview skills is one of the most common requests I get from clients. These days, most employers want to have a CV in English and require the candidate to do at least part of the interview in English. This is often because some of the decision makers are not natives, or the information has to be reviewed by the international headquarters or just that the company wants to check how good your English is. Whatever the reason, there is no need to panic. I offer CV proofreading and/or translation, general tips to improve your CV and interview coaching.
For more details please go to Job Application Coaching.

Will I have to do homework?

If you want reach your goal, the simple answer is YES! But I will help give you tips on how, what and even when to learn. In addition, I also add your vocabulary to your own personal list in a learning app called Quizlet. This is a great app that I use for my own learning.

What are CEF levels?

CEF is the Common European Framework for languages and is a guideline used in Europe to describe the level of a language learner. There are 6 levels ranging from A1 (complete beginner) to C2 (near native) and are widely used throughout Europe to assess language skills. Click here for more details.

Do I need a Life Coach?

“Need” is maybe the wrong word. Do you “need” to change something in your life, or do you also “want” to change something? Without the “will” there is no way.

In general, everyone can benefit from coaching. There is always something you can improve or work on if you choose to do so. Take a look at experts or people who are at the top of their field. They still have coaches. Roger Federer is considered the most successful tennis player of all time. Yet he still has a coach. Why? What can you learn from someone else when you are already number 1? People seek out a coach because they “want” to improve and reach the next level. You might be number 1 but it doesn’t mean you have no more ambition. Roger could have stopped after winning Wimbledon 7 times. But he didn’t. He could have stopped when he suffered from injuries in 2016. But he didn’t. He came back in 2017 and won Wimbledon again for the 8th time. That is not just due to talent and training. It is also due to a strong will.

A coach is someone who helps you maintain and build that will. A coach can help people see things from a different angle, make us challenge our current way of thinking and observe things from a neutral, non-emotional perspective when our view may be clouded by emotions and make it difficult for us to see solutions. They provide structure and techniques. Finally, a coach provides motivational support and positive encouragement. Something we can ALL benefit from at some point in our lives. Still not sure if Life Coaching is for you? Why not contact me and book a free 20-minute consultation and find out.