What is Coaching?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is coaching?

Coaching is a relatively new profession. Coaches: Help people set better goals and then reach those goals. Ask their clients to do more than they would have done on their own. Focus their clients better to more quickly produce results. Provide the tools, support and structure to accomplish more.
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What exactly does a coach do?

A personal coach does just what an athletic coach or music teacher does, only in a more complete and bigger way. A coach challenges you and takes the time to find out what winning in life means to you. A coach is your partner in living the life you know you can accomplish, personally and professionally. A coach is someone to hold you accountable for your life, to make sure you really do live up to your potential. No matter where you are in life, there is always a desire for more. More success, more money, closer relationships, a deeper feeling of meaning in life, etc. It is the nature of people to want to become more, attain more, and give more, and we all struggle with how to achieve this. Most people believe that "hard work and doing it on your own" are the keys to finding the life, success, money, or happiness that they seek. They believe that a price must be paid to attain what they want, and often that price is poor health, not having enough time to enjoy life, strained family relationships or lessened productivity. The saddest part is that, even though this effort may result in more of something, it is often not the something you had in mind, and you are back where you started, or worse, further from your real intentions. Athletes and performers know about this trap. They know they need someone else, a trained someone else to help them set goals, discover real needs, and work effectively toward ultimate goals of excellence. So, they are willing to hire a coach or a teacher. No serious athlete or musician would expect to progress very far without one.
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How is coaching different from consulting? Therapy? Sports coaching? A best friend?

Consulting: Coaching is a form of consulting. But the coach helps the client to find his or her own best answers rather than handing answers to the client. And the coach partners with the client over time to continue to resolve issues and also to hold the client accountable for the commitments he or she makes. Therapy: Therapy typically focuses on the past, while coaching focuses on the present and the future. Coaches help clients move forward and set personal and professional goals that will give them the life they really want. Sports: Coaching includes several principles from sports coaching, like teamwork, going for the goal, being your best. But unlike sports coaching, most business and personal coaching is not competitive nor win/lose based. Coaches strengthen the client's skills so that the client can be more effective, whether working alone or with a team or organization. The process is win/win. Best friend: A best friend is wonderful to have. Not all best friends are professionally trained in coaching, and may find it difficult to help you bring out your own best answers and then hold you accountable for the commitments you make to yourself. Have a best friend and a coach.
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What is the basic philosophy of coaching?

Simply put, we humans are great, that we're all discovering what we really want and that we can get what we want faster and easier by having a coach who's been there and who can help us.
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Who hires a coach and why?

People hire a coach because: They want more. They want to grow. They want life and work to be easier. It's as simple as that. Coaches help a client get all three. Quickly!
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What happens when you hire a coach?

Many things, but the most important are: You take yourself more seriously. You take more effective and focused actions immediately. You stop putting up with what is dragging you down. You create momentum so it's easier to get results. You set better more focused goals than you might have without the coach.
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Does the coach work on personal goals or business/professional goals?

Both actually. And with the line between personal and business life blurring, trained coaches are prepared to work with all aspects of you.
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Why does coaching work?

Coaching works for several reasons: Synergy between the coach and client creates momentum. Better goals are set -- ones that naturally pull the client toward the goal rather than goals that require the client to push themselves to the goal. The client develops new skills, and these skills translate into more success.
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Why is coaching becoming so popular?

Coaching is becoming popular for many reasons, some of which are:
  1. Many people are tired of doing what they "should" do and are ready to do something special and meaningful for the rest of their lives. Problem is, many can't see it, or if they can, they can't see a way to reorient their life around it. A coach can help them do both.
  2. In the business environment, people who used to provide solid advice, like mentors, aren't available in any great number anymore. Friends and family can be wonderfully supportive but not necessarily available or skilled in helping a person resolve the issues that are critical to them. Yet the world of work is becoming increasingly complex and pressured. A coach is a trained professional that helps clients develop the perspectives, skills and interpersonal behaviors that let them stand out in the crowd.
  3. Spirituality. If you've tracked the phenomenal success of James Redfield's The Celestine Prophecy, Gary Zukav?s The Seat of the Soul, and Thomas Moore?s Care of the Soul, all NY Times best-sellers, you get a sense of just how many people are looking at the issue of spirituality. Many coaches are spiritually based -- even the ones who coach IBM and AT&T. Americans are becoming more spiritual. The coach helps the clients to tune in better to their core truths and deeper spiritual needs within the context of living a full, meaningful life.
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What about people who are already doing great in their lives. Why would they need a coach?

They might not need a coach. But it is helpful to find out: Are they doing what they most enjoy? Are they tolerating anything? Is life effortless? Are they going to be financially independent within the next 15 years? Do they have what they most want? Often people can expect more out of their lives than they are currently working toward. A coach can help in this process.
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Can I hire a coach just for a short-term, special project?

Yes. Some clients hire a coach to help them accomplish specific goals or projects. Usually, however, the client keeps working with the coach after that because there are even more interesting things to accomplish.
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How long must I commit if I start working with a coach? And is there a contract?

Most coaches ask for a three- to six-month commitment but usually let you stop immediately if coaching is not working for you right now. Some coaches ask for a written agreement or contract; others do not. For the corporate client, however, a signed agreement is simply good business.



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