|BUSINESS COACHING -- A
By Suzi Pomerantz, MCC, MT
Successful professionals in
every industry rely on coaches
|Business Coaching is a powerful system of specific conversations
directed by a highly trained professional. Your coach carefully observes your
performance from the sidelines to help you determine those actions or
non-actions which define your current performance ability. Businesses thrive in
this action-based, commitment-oriented partnership.
In our partnership,
we will work together to create productive business relationships which foster
increased responsibility and motivation. Imagine the difference an experienced,
fresh perspective could make in your ability to excel and win in your business.
Coaching reaches into corporations and organizations, not just the
lives of individuals. The coach helps his or her clients set and reach higher
goals, asks more of them than they would have done on their own and focuses
them to produce results more quickly. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and
personal discovery to build the client's level of awareness and responsibility,
and provides the client with structure, support and feedback. Coaching is a
form of consulting, but the coach stays with the client to help implement the
new skills, changes and goals to make sure they really happen. However, coaches
do not try to "fix" a client--it is entirely up to the client to take the
action in order to change their life.
Coaching as a profession has been
around for more than 25 years, and recently it has caught the attention of
national news broadcasts and publications. Coaching is a performance
improvement technology that can powerfully advance the careers and results of
people at all levels of the organization. To learn more about coaching as a
leadership development tool, please contact us.
business coaching has a highly
measurable impact on clients.
The coaches of Innovative Leadership
International, LLC, are members of the International Coaches Federation and
therefore adhere to the ICF's
definitions and ethical guidelines for coaching.
|Executives, managers, supervisors and team leaders find that
they must guide and lead their people and projects with little or no
preparation or support. In many organizations politics guide a leader's
decisions and actions more than vision. Who (or what) is guiding you along your
path to success? Do you find that your company or industry is changing so fast
that you fear you'll be left behind? Are your daily activities so demanding
that it is hard to focus on where you are going? Is it difficult to motivate
yourself consistently enough to achieve all the goals you've set for yourself?
Are your relationships at work powerful in terms of communication? Coaching is
a tool for business success
one that is critical for powerful leadership.
WHAT IS COACHING?
Coaching is a profession that provides
individualized consulting for people of all ages, in all industries and
professions, and of all positions within organizations. In the early 1980's,
individual business coaching was only available to high-level executives. In
recent years it has become increasingly popular with professionals seeking a
competitive edge over their colleagues and co-workers.
coaching is executive, professional, personal, or career development, delivered
on a one-to-one basis. Work is organized around projects. People set goals for
the outcomes they intend to achieve, and use a coach to motivate them, to keep
them focused and on track, to inspire them to excel, to enhance their personal
or professional growth and development, and to provide partnership for their
Masterful coaches empower people to identify how past
behaviors, thought systems, and ways of being produced unintended results and
consequences and to transform these old systems into more effective or more
powerful choices. Armed with this knowledge, clients use the coaching
relationship to fundamentally shift their frames of reference, thereby
producing winning results in the areas of their lives that they targeted with
A coach is a visionary, a change agent, and a person who
enables others to exceed past performances and tackle their challenges with
freedom, creativity, choice, and power. It is continuous, individual,
change-management consulting rather than a one-time effort, quick fix, or
Coaching is often used as executive intervention to
help executives change, improve their performance, and develop as leaders.
Coaching has gained media exposure:
NBC Nightly news featured coaching
in February 1996, calling it "the cutting edge in this country in business
consulting...to get ahead in the nineties, to get control... get a coach".
The Wall Street Journal (October 1995) stated that coaches number over
1000 in the USA alone. There have been recent articles about the coaching
profession in most major publications and newspapers across the nation.
The International Coach Federation offers the following definition of
coaching: "Professional coaching is an interactive process that helps
individuals and organizations to develop. It is an ongoing relationship which
focuses on the client taking action toward the realization of a vision, goals
or desires. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build
the client's level of awareness and responsibility, and provides the client
with structure, support and feedback."
DO I NEED A COACH?
5, 1996) quotes a New York bank executive as saying, " In the next five years
people are going to say 'Who is your coach?' not 'What is a coach?' " Star
athletes, top executives, high-priced lawyers, and performing artists are not
the only ones who improve with the insight, guidance, skill, and inspiration of
a professional coach. Something as simple as one coaching call a week for
thirty minutes can eliminate procrastination, sharpen your focus, enhance your
creativity, heighten your effectiveness, and increase your power to achieve
Coaching is a doorway to innovation and creative thought
that empowers people in all industries to exceed the limitations of what they
currently consider to be realistic and allows them to produce outstanding
results. It is an action-based, commitment-oriented partnership for excellence.
HOW DOES COACHING WORK?
Coaching is a relationship that is based on
commitment. It takes place in person, on-line in cyberspace, or over the
telephone. Usually it's one-on-one, but occasionally there will be cause for a
coach to work with two people at once or groups (work teams, etc.). If you were
to watch a coaching session, what you would observe is talking and listening; a
Coaches are trained consultants from varied backgrounds:
education, human resources, change-management, organizational development,
ontology, financial planning, and others. Although some might have
psychological training, it is not requisite to the trade.
in the business of making a difference with people by guiding them to make a
difference within themselves. A coach is a vehicle for you to achieve your
grandest vision of life.
HOW DO I SELECT A COACH?
the tricky part. There are many folks selling coaching services who are not
trained, professional coaches. How do you go about choosing the right coach for
you? Here are twelve tips for selecting your own personal coach:
1. Ask the prospective coach about her philosophy of coaching. A
good coach will be able to express to you her values and core coaching
philosophy. It should include a commitment to integrity, service, partnership,
and a fundamental belief in fostering your independence. A coach's job is to be
fully committed to your commitments. She should be able to completely align
with your vision, and commit to doing whatever it will take to have you narrow
the gap between your vision and reality.
2. Ask for references
and a list of clients. What types of executives, entrepreneurs, and
professionals has the coach worked with? Check out how long it took, and what
structure of coaching was involved. Make sure your coach has a stable track
record and contact a few of these folks and get the honest truth about the
impact your prospective coach had on their lives, and in what domains.
3. Determine if the coach's style is one that will support you.
Is she a taskmaster, or a gentle nudge? How rigorous is she? How supportive,
nurturing, compassionate? Identify what style of support you need in order to
fulfill your goals. How clearly does the coach articulate the objectives and
outcomes of the process? Is she out to create significant change in your job
4. Does the coach provide practices, projects, and
assignments for you, or will you generate your own? What assessment methods
will be used?
5. What kind of accountability structure does the
coach provide for you? What format does she adhere to for helping you attain
your goals? What consequences (if any) are there for failing to fulfill a
promise to your coach?
6. Change takes time. What does your
coach recommend as the average length of a contract? Depending on your project,
three months is a healthy minimum and six months is a recommended acceptable
duration. You might question a coach's rationale for suggesting a coaching
contract in excess of one year -- projects usually do not require that much
coaching in order to be accomplished. Depending on the areas in which you want
to be coached, you might hire a coach to work with you daily, weekly, or twice
monthly. The coach should be willing to customize a structure to match your
needs. Ask how much time the coaching process will take and which coaching
methods will be used.
7. There are many techniques that are used
by the well-trained coach, and different methods work for different people.
Review these options with your prospective coach to determine what will work
best for you. Role-playing, written journal work, homework assignments, games,
charts, and other examples are worth investigating. Does your coach custom
design the client learning program, or does she rely on pre-packaged material?
In order to achieve lasting change, sophisticated methods are necessary.
Coaching programs often employ simulations, testing, teaching,
conflict-management training, problem-solving, and in-depth work in the areas
of interpersonal issues and relationships.
8. Most coaches will
not charge for an initial consultation. You can engage a prospective coach in a
brief coaching session that will give you a taste of what she can do for you.
If she is willing to do this, it is a good way to determine if a particular
coach is best suited to meet your business needs.
into the coach's personal history and training in coaching. Where did she learn
to coach? How many disciplines does she incorporate in her coaching? Coaching
is a holistic, interactive, experiential field. Find out what she knows about
adult learning and personal transformation. Find out the credibility of the
organization(s) that trained her. A coach need not have a doctorate to be
effective, but should have some behavioral training. The best combination is a
coach with graduate work in psychology, business, organizational development,
and/or education with special training and certification as a coach and
hands-on experience working within organizations.
is a relationship-based profession. The most important factor is whether or not
you like the coach, feel comfortable working with her, trust her, and genuinely
believe she has something to offer you. The nature of the work coaches do is
very personal, so choose your coach carefully. Make sure she has similar values
to you and that she inspires you to be your most powerful self -- the greatest
11. Coaching affects matters other than business.
Coaching relationships often uncover personal, vulnerable areas as the
conversations weave through the domains of your life and work. Your coach must
assure you of the confidentiality of your conversations. Trust is key. Coaches
coach the whole person, and usually do not separate the work you from the real
you. Thus, although it may begin as a business relationship, often times other
life issues come into play.
12. How much does coaching cost?
Some coaches charge by the hour with a minimum deposit. Others require up-front
payment. Others bill clients monthly. A six-month engagement could run you
anywhere between $750 to $5000. You can usually find telephone coaching for as
little as $50 a week to upwards of $250. Another option is to have your
employer pay for your coaching.
Increasingly in the workforce,
employers hire coaches for their employees as non-monetary compensation. These
employers recognize the benefit: your productivity increases, and your
increased accountability contributes to the organization. Good luck finding
Suzi Pomerantz, Master Certified Coach,
consultant and owner of Innovative Leadership International LLC, has trained
and coached over 1000 clients in leadership development and personal
She's available during business hours at (301) 601-1525
or by e-mail.