A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Personal Coaching - Part I
Dear Sue: I’ve heard a lot about personal coaching, and am
wondering what working with a coach entails. There seem to be many
different types of coaches; business coach, life coach, personal coach,
leadership coach, career coach, etc. and it has me confused. What exactly
does a professional coach do? - Interested in coaching
Sue Says: I discovered dozens of definitions for coaching. The
most concise and encompassing was provided by The Ken Blanchard Companies,
which defines coaching as "an intentional process that creates a
compelling environment for growth and effective action."
Just like a professional athletic coach, a life or business coach will
first help you identify the goals and objectives that are important to
you, and then walk you through the process of closing the gap between what
you want and what you have.
As in any industry, coaches tend to specialize; some concentrate on
career and business, while others focus on the personal foundations of
life and health. Kate Larsen, a Minneapolis based business and life coach
and president of Winning Lifestyles, has found that most coaching involves
some blend of both life and work because people bring all of who they are
Many people flounder during periods of transition, which is a natural
springboard for engaging a coach. People hire a coach when they are
reevaluating life choices and direction, making a career change, starting
a new business or desiring to become better leaders. Working with a
trained observer and partner helps people sort through their options and
determine the steps to take to move forward in their lives.
Larsen says that coaching works because coaches help clients increase
their awareness about their assumptions, beliefs and limiting behaviors.
Awareness is a powerful catalyst for change, and a coach enables a person
to develop an action plan that is strategic, practical and effective.
Coaching is not therapy; the focus in coaching is about developing
people, not fixing them. A coach will help you identify where you are
today, and determine what it will take to get where you want to be
tomorrow. The increase in focus and greater awareness of choice
accelerates the progress people are able to make.
Larsen has found that that the results people have working with a coach
are sometimes surprising. The accountability inherent in the coach/client
relationship and the sense of freedom people feel to pursue the more
significant aspects of life and work is a powerful combination, and can be
a life-changing experience.
There are personal coaches and coaches who work in a corporate
environment. Depending on the area of expertise, a corporate coach can
work with you in a variety of areas including general business skills,
performance and communication issues, problem solving, creativity,
leadership, team building and cultural issues.
Selecting the right coach to work with shouldn’t be done in haste.
week’s column will be a continuation of this week, and I will include tips
for finding a coach and how to determine if someone is the right coach for
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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