Coaching: Fad or Find?

By Constance B. Wolf

Like a professional athlete, performing artist or CEO, high performers are always looking to improve themselves and add to their development. The common ingredient these high-achievers all share is coaching. After working with a coach, people often find they take themselves more seriously, set better goals and create a momentum that speeds up results.

What is coaching? Coaching combines the best from psychology, business, finance and spirituality to help individuals achieve their business and personal goals faster and easier. While it may be related at times, coaching differs from consulting and therapy. Consulting generally provides skills or capabilities which people lack or do not have the time to provide for themselves. Therapy is used primarily to help a person deal with past issues which are unresolved or behaviors which habitually limit his/her ability to achieve life goals. Coaching, on the other hand, is most beneficial for healthy managers, professionals, entrepreneurs and individuals who desire to fix, solve, create or plan something.

Many people work within a tight budget and may resist the idea of hiring a professional to help themselves work on their own self development or deal with a problem situation. This is especially true for people working in professional or smaller sized companies. Today, a new type of affordable help is available in the form of Professional Coaching.

How can coaching assist you? In coaching, the client and the coach form a synergistic team where the coach is fully dedicated to the success of the client. With focused intent on their particular goals and needs, clients are able to accomplish much more than they have in the past.

Topic areas of particular interest to professionals or managers might include:

1) annual planning, budgeting and goal setting

2) organizing work and time management

3) leadership challenges

4) managing change

5) training, developing and managing staff

6) moving forward on a project

7) handling business or personal problems

8) time management

9) balance of work and personal life

10) strengthening one’s personal foundation

Coaching can be delivered by telephone, e-mail or in person. People bring their issues or concerns to each meeting and the coach provides a structure in which to tackle the items faster and more effectively than the client could have done alone. Often the coach can see things the client has not and can help the client reframe their thinking to overcome what were once roadblocks to their progress.

What will coaching cost? Coaching is usually arranged on a per month basis with contacts occurring anywhere from 2 to 4 times a month in :30 to :90 minute intervals. Most coaches invite short calls between sessions or e-mail correspondence. Costs generally range from $300 - $1000 per month depending on the frequency, length of meeting, and location. To deal with the high demands on executives' time and flexibility, retainer arrangements which allow more flexibility can also be arranged.

Summing up Whether to deal with a short-term specific situation or to work on longer term development, coaching can offer a flexible, low risk way to deal with one's challenges. If the growing demand for coaching across the world is any indicator, this new profession looks like a find that will be around to stay.

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Connie Wolf is president of Sounding Board®, a service of CBW, Inc. She holds a master's degree in Organization Development and is a graduate of Coach University and the Gestalt Therapist Training Program. She is the creator of the Sounding Board® approach to professional coaching and consulting and can be reached at Connie@SoundingBoardCBW.com  or 480-607-1960.