New Beginnings Coaching FAQs

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Iris F. Litt, M.D.

Associate Dean
Marron and Mary Elizabeth Kendrick Professor in Pediatrics (Emerita)

Newton Cheung

Program Manager



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What is retirement coaching?
“Retirement coaching is a process whereby client and coach explore all aspects of designing a dynamic and rewarding retirement lifestyle and serves to guide the client towards implementing a plan of action.  Broadly defined, it is the process of helping clients prepare for and transition into everyday retirement life.” -- Robert Laura

What can I get coached on?
It is a myth that planning for retirement is only about sound financials.  The process of coaching for retirement is an exploration of other important areas of high impact in late career that include spiritual, mental, physical, and social domains.

What can I expect from a retirement coach?
A New Beginnings Coach is a faculty colleague who is trained in the discipline of coaching.  She or he respects any of your misgivings and will hold a safe space for you to share about preparing, transitioning, and fully retiring as a Stanford faculty member. Your coach is emotionally mature, intelligent, relatable, and discreet.

The coach will confidentially facilitate gains for you that include:

  1. Enhanced self-awareness: Impactful questions and helpful tools
  2. Clarity on your goals and the paths to take towards achieving them
  3. Self-Management: Resources
  4. Overall high-quality plan for your transition to emeriti and/or retired faculty status and what follows

What does the New Beginnings Coach not do?
A New Beginnings Coach is NOT:

  • A mentor, therapist, couple’s counselor, financial or logistical planner
  • Prepared to assess if you are ready to retire or not; nor tell you what to do, or give you their recipe for success

New Beginnings Coaches do not give financial advice or other types of counseling (e.g., mental health).  They do not advocate for you with the division/department or with Stanford Benefits; or mediate for you with spouses or family members.

Are New Beginnings Coaches committed to confidentiality?
YES!  The program coaches are committed to confidentiality and do not share any of your plans and thoughts with anyone, except for mandatory reporting or concerns of harm to self or others.

Why did the School of Medicine start this program?
The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) has been building the professional development and coaching portfolio for School of Medicine faculty for the past several years.  This entails developing programs and support services for faculty at all career stages. With programs for early career faculty now established, the current focus is now on the mid- and late-career stages.  The New Beginnings program was specifically developed to address the needs of interested senior faculty in the pre-contemplation and contemplation stages of transition to emeriti and/or retired status.

Is there a fee?
There is no fee for the program.

How long?
Faculty may receive up to 5 one-hour coaching sessions.  There is no prescribed cadence or timeline.

How to start?
There are two ways to initiate a coaching request:

  1. Browse the New Beginnings coach bios and identify a coach that you may be interested in engaging.  Feel free to contact the coach directly for a “chemistry” call.  If you decide to proceed with the coaching, you will need to complete a coaching agreement online as associated by coach.
  2. Contact Rania Sanford, the internal faculty coach at the School of Medicine, for an appointment.  Rania will find out more about your goals and coaching needs and will suggest one of the New Beginnings coaches for you.

Can my spouse join my coaching sessions?
Initially, we conceive of the coaching as a 1:1 relationship between you and your coach. However, it is often the case that spouses are a significant contributor to planning for retirement.  Because of that reason, spouses are welcome to attend the coaching sessions after you discuss their inclusion with your coach.  It is the coach’s discretion to include spouses in the coaching sessions. Please understand that coaching cannot take the place of mediation, negotiation, or counseling that some couples require.  In those instances, your coach will advise that you seek other more appropriate resources.

Can I test it out and not continue?
Yes.  We encourage interested faculty to setup a “chemistry “call with the coach.  This doesn’t count in the 5 sessions of the program. This call can be a short 30-minute exploratory meeting or the faculty member to understand the coach’s approach and the faculty member’s needs.

After the coaching starts, the faculty member may decide to put a hold on future sessions.  The faculty member may resume the coaching at a later stage.  There is no time limit.

How do I evaluate if this is working for me?
Coaching is a goal-oriented process of exploration and commitment.  Coaching works when you start to identify options and next steps, then start implementing those steps.  If the coaching isn’t working for you, we encourage you to do a process check with your coach.  Describe in which ways the coaching is not meeting your needs.  The coach will be open to discussion with you about modification or change that could help you reach your goals or may have other suggestions depending on the situation.

Where do I go for concerns?
If you have concerns related to your coaching experience in the New Beginnings program, you may confidentially contact: Rania Sanford, EdD, PCC, Director of Faculty Professional Development, or Iris Litt, MD, Associate Dean, Office of Academic Affairs.