About Professional Coaching

What is Professional Coaching?
Professional Coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives.

Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life. In each meeting, the client chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This interaction creates clarity and moves the client into action. Coaching accelerates the client’s progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where clients are today and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be tomorrow.

Where did Coaching start?
Coaching has been around as long as people have been around. As an industry, coaching’s roots go back at least to the early 80’s. The self-discovery movement of the 60’s and 70’s was showing up in office suites and boardrooms. Consultants started asking clients about commitment and personal vision. People became more health conscious. They still wanted to be professionally effective and successful, but they wanted balance and fulfillment too.

Here and there, consultants from various specialties broadened their practices. They took on a more holistic view of their clients. Some began to call what they did coaching. The first “coaching schools” got started in the early-to-mid 90’s. Coaching started getting press and notice around 1998-99 and became trendy at the turn of the century.

Why does it work?
Coaching works because…
People naturally move towards their goals, especially the ones they really want. Coaching starts by clarifying what the client really wants.
Coaches are trained to recognize both their client’s natural talents and their self-defeating patterns. That input greatly accelerates development and performance. Coaches tell it like it is without blame or judgment. There’s nothing like it to enhance one’s performance and life!

Who hires Coaches?
The individuals seeking coaching tend to have a history of success, and are very committed to some current goal. They have heard their call.

Who works best with a Coach?
Fundamentally, the coachable person has three qualities:

  • They have a goal they’re committed to achieving.
  • They’re frustrated by something that is getting in the way of their success.
  • They’re open to getting input from another person.

What if I’m not too clear about my goal?
No problem. You do not need to be completely clear about what you want and you don’t need to have any idea of how you’ll get it. Much of the value of coaching comes from the clarity coaching provides.

Do Coaches just work on business issues?
My practice has always centered around business, professional and career objectives. Other coaches focus more on personal issues. Despite my business focus, all coaching is always at least partially personal in focus. We set our target on your objective, but our conversations will go wherever they need to go to reach that objective. That’s really what makes coaching special.

How is it different from therapy?
One answer is that therapy is about understanding why you are the way you are while coaching is about taking action to be the most that you can be.

The therapist’s traditional role has him/her supporting their client’s mental health. That assumed the individual was not completely well and needed therapy. The coach assumes the client is healthy, whole and able to live their life successfully.

Why do people hire coaches?
If the purpose of coaching is to bring out your best in support of your goals, is there a type of goal that best suits coaching? Yes. Coaching is the most useful when you’re taking on big stuff.

Imagine that there are three levels of improvement, change or growth.

  • The simplest change is to do what you’re already doing differently (better or faster).
  • The next level involves fundamentally reshaping yourself within your current work by doing different things.
  • The highest level of change is where you reinvent yourself by transforming who you are.

Coaching has its greatest impact when you are taking on either level two or level three change.

How should I choose a Coach?
Look for great chemistry. The chemistry between you and the right coach will feel right almost instantly. You should be in action almost immediately. You should sense that your coach has something in his or her life that you want in yours.

What about experience and credentials?
Coaching became popular as a profession starting around 1996. Anyone with three or four years of experience was part of that first wave of new coaches. Anyone with five or more years’ experience was one of the industry’s pioneers.

The International Coach Federation provides credentialing at two levels. One, the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) requires a bit over a year’s experience plus training. The other, the Master Certified Coach (MCC) requires four years’ experience and additional training. In addition to these credentials, each coaching training organization provides its own credentialing.

Should I only look for coaches who, like you, are pioneer Master Certified Coaches?
Like in any profession, credentials and experience do not guarantee excellence. Likewise, youth and inexperience do not preclude it. When considering a coach, consider experience and credentials, but do also consider the chemistry you feel with that person.

What else should I look for?
If the coach has less than three years’ experience, ask about their background before coaching. Look for experience or training that is relevant to coaching. When it comes to coaching, the “genuine article” is someone with significant relevant experience and training.

Even though business people can get a bit squeamish if a coach stresses the personal side of coaching, it is the integration of professional and personal viewpoints that distinguishes coaching from consulting. If you’re interviewing someone who says little about the personal side of coaching, you may be talking with a repackaged consultant. Not bad, but not a coach.

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