A professional coach is an individual who has the training and experience to support you, the client, in clarifying your goals. According to the International Coach Federation (IFC) “Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole.”
Many of us have big ideas about what we want to do and be, but we don’t know how to move forward with those ideas. A coach can help you find ways to achieve your dreams and live a fuller, richer life. Coaches are often able to see patterns, confront fears, and offer objective feedback and advice that you might not otherwise receive. A coach can enable you to achieve your goals more efficiently and find more confidence that you are on a path that is right for your unique needs. A coach can help you identify:
- exactly what you want to achieve
- your best strategy for getting there
- the obstacles keeping you from getting there
- how to overcome those obstacles.
How can you determine if coaching is right for you?
If you enjoy collaboration and find it helpful to consider new perspectives, coaching may work well for you. Also, before entering into a coaching partnership, you should consider whether you are ready to devote the time and the energy required to make real changes in your work or life.
Why work with a coach instead of relying on the advice of friends?
Good coaches understand how to ask good questions and remain unbiased as you explore the details of the problem at hand. Friends are important for support and companionship and may give great advice, but they also tend to tell you what will make you feel better rather than what you need to hear. They often don’t have the expertise to guide you in a way that allows you to be fully authentic.
Coaches don’t necessarily have all the answers either. What a coach offers is an understanding how problems are solved. A good coach will know what tools can help you make independent choices that feel right for your unique circumstances.
Many coaches specialize in certain areas, so they can offer better support for specific problems due to their experience with what works and what doesn’t with that specific problem. Types of coaching include life coaching, executive coaching, corporate/business coaching, small business coaching, group/team coaching, career coaching, relationship coaching, parent coaching, retirement coaching, sports coaching, youth coaching, publishing coaching and specialty or niche coaching.
How do I know if a coach is right for me?
A brief conversation of 10 or 15 minutes will enable you to see if you feel comfortable with the coach you are considering working with. Good coaches will ask you questions about your situation rather than simply telling you about themselves. It’s important for you to feel that the coach wants to know who you are and understand the issues involved. Don’t hesitate to talk with a few coaches before making a decision.
What kind of results can I expect from coaching?
The main result you can expect from coaching is empowerment. If the coaching process is successful, you will have greater clarity about the problem and its dimensions and confidence in the strategy you have chosen for tackling it. You will have an organized approach that makes the problem manageable.
What has caused the tremendous growth in the coaching industry?
One reason that coaching has grown significantly in recent years is that the world has changed a lot. Coaching is useful in dealing with changes like today’s challenging job market. At this time we are seeing more job transition, more self-employment and more small business. Some of the real life factors include:
- rapid changes in the external business environment, such as downsizing, restructuring, mergers and other organizational changes
- a growing shortage of talented employees in certain industries
- a widening disparity between what managers were trained to do and what their jobs now require them to do in order to meet increasing demands for competitive results
- unrest on the part of many employees and leaders in many companies
- the need for companies to develop inclusive, collaborative work environments, in order to achieve strategic business goals, and to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction
Individuals who have experienced the excellent results of coaching are talking to more people about coaching. In short, coaching helps people focus on what matters most to them in life: business and personal. People today are more open to the idea of being in charge of their own lives. Coaching helps people do just that; so the industry continues to grow.