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Is Coaching for You?
By Molly Gordon
Coaching, an emerging profession in the human potential and
business development fields has been written up in publications
ranging from Working Woman to Inc. It has been touted as the
key to success in everything from management to marriage. What's
a person to make of this? And how can we evaluate coaching for
our own lives?
Molly Gordon, an artist, writer, and business consultant has
been practicing as a business and personal coach for the past
eighteen months. In this article she gives a brief overview of
how to determine if coaching is for you and, if so, how to pick
the right coach for the job.
Why get a coach? The answer was obvious to me after my eight
years as a self employed creator of wearable art. I learned in
those years that it was nearly impossible to simultaneously hold
a vision, map out a path, walk that path and measure my own
progress. I was so often distracted by the apparently
conflicting demands of the marketplace and of my heart. Even my
body seemed to throw obstacles in my path as tendonitis or other
ills appeared to contradict my vision of right livelihood.
As I thought about the kinds of problems I faced I came to
understand and accept that it would always be difficult to have
both an overarching view of my long term goals, a cogent
undersanding of my near term strategies, and a confident and
simple approach to walking my daily path. Once I thought about
it the reason was obvious: each of these activities requires
that I adopt a different perspective. And guess what, it's hard
to be in more than one place at a time, so often I would be
conducting one activity from the perspective of another. No
wonder I felt confused and overwhelmed.
Coaching offers a solution by providing objective recognition,
validation and reinforcement. A coach helps you to clarify your
goals, test your plans against your resources and your
intentions, and measure your progress. A coach asks you to live
up to standards you set together while reminding you to enjoy
the grace of being a human being and not a 'droid. Coaching
deals with the human condition: it's not about being or even
I think of the kind of business and personal coaching which I
practice as motivating, instructing, focusing, correcting and
encouraging my clients to find solutions to their problems and
to achieve a fundamental way of being in the world that flows
organically and authentically from who they really are.
It's easy to see that successful coaching requires a good match
between coach and client. If you are interested in getting a
coach, start by asking yourself these questions:
1. What are my goals and expectations around hiring a coach?
2. What's my time frame for achieving them?
3. What's my learning style? What kind of person is likely to support that style?
4. How much can I afford to invest in coaching?
Find at least three coaches to interview. The International
Coach Federation has extensive listings of its members coaches
at http://www.coachfederation.org/crs. Another resource is The
Coaches Training Institute at http://www.thecoaches.com. Not on
the web? Ask around among your professional colleagues, inquire
at the local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration
or business schools.
Select two or three coaches to interview. In addition to the
following sample questions, ask any that reflect your personal
priorities and concerns. It's a good idea to write out your
questions in advance.
1. Ask about their experience coaching people who have goals and challenges similar to your own.
2. Do they work by phone, in person, by email? How long are the sessions? How frequent?
3. What do they charge? When is payment due?
4. What support do they offer between sessions?
5. Are you required to buy any support materials (books, workbooks, etc.)?
6. What kind of commitment do they require? Many coaches ask that you commit to a preliminary two or three month period after which you decide whether or not to continue working together.
7. Ask for a couple of references and follow up by calling them.
Coaching can introduce you to the self you were meant to be.
The time you invest in choosing your coach will be amply repaid
by his or her greater ability to recognize, nurture and evoke
Molly offers more information about coaching and business or
personal development at her website
http://www.coachladybug.com/. Molly is also the moderator of
Call and Response Coaching at Women's Connection Online,
http://www.womenconnect.com. Send your comments and questions to
email@example.com or call her at 206-842-1619.
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Tags: Wisdom and Life Skills