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 becoming perfect.
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:
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.
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 that self.
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Molly offers more information about coaching and business or personal development at her website http://www.halcyon.com/molly. 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 protected] or call her at 206-842-1619.