Is Coaching For You?

More and more people have less and less time, but have greater demands both personally and professionally. This situation has resulted in the emergence of personal coaching within four basic areas: Financial, Physical or Fitness, Life or Career and Executive Performance.

FINANCIAL COACHES help individuals with the myriad of financial decision facing today's working and retired population. Just a few years ago, these people viewed themselves as financial advisors or consultants. Coaching appears to be less intimidating and more supportive.

PHYSICAL COACHES assist individuals to build or rebuild their physical health.

CAREER or TRANSITION COACHES help individuals to identify the obstacles that prevent future growth and excellence. Many career coaches promote their credentials because they have achieved some certification program.

EXECUTIVE COACHES also, assist people in reaching that next level of excellence and growth. However executive coaches differ from career coaches in that pre-determined benchmarks are identified. These coaches identified specific measurable benchmarks and help to align the personal and professional lives of their clients. Additionally, there is research that suggests this type of coaching can deliver significant return on investment and dramatically improve productivity. In one Fortune 500 company, the absence of coaching after training demonstrated a potential loss of new skills by 87%.

If are you considering coaching, these 10 tips may help you select a coach to best fit your needs.

1. Identify - Before you pick up the phone, search the Internet or ask a friend, identify why you desire a coach. Be as specific as possible. Try to answer the following question: What has kept me from achieving or getting me to where I want to be or go?

2. Referrals - Ask for someone who can validate measurable results. If you are thinking of hiring a coach and believe that you have found a coach to your liking, then ask for referrals. Your questions to the referral may be: Did you achieve your desired results? How long did it take for those results to be achieved? What was the best experience from this coaching process? Are you still a client of this coach? Would you recommend this coach? Why did you hire this coach over another coach? Were the sessions engaging and fun?

3. Time frame - Begin with a minimum of 1 hour sessions to 2 hours. Sessions should be scheduled to provide opportunities for reinfocement, feedback and practice. Coaching is usually scheduled before or after the workday for the "coachee." This type of scheduling respects the productivity of the "coachee."

4. Curriculum - Relevant, proven and promotes measurable growth. If possible, audio reinforcement should be available to maximize the forthcoming coaching session. Research suggests that a one time exposure to a learning event generates 50% retention after 24 hours, 25% after 48 hours and 2% aftr 16 days. Space repetition or what some call rote memorization strengthens cognitive, long term memory retention. We all know what 10x10 is without thinking, but answering what 23x24 is takes far more time.

5. Tools - Provide a means for turning the words into positive measurable outcomes. A well structured Action Plan helps to build balance and provides a place for all written goals and reflective journaliing. Additional handouts or activities help to make the necessary connections between learning (the acquisition of knowledge) and performance (the application of knowledge).

6. Opportunity - For ongoing sessions after initial sessions have been completed. Reinforcement is critical as it takes time to change 10, 20 or even 30 years of the previous, conditioned behavior. These sessions are shorter usually 15 to 30 minutes and provide a vehicle for accountability.

7. Fees - Range from $50 to $200 per hour and up. Determine what your benchmarks are and use those benchmarks to help determine your return on investment. Ask if a money back guaranteed is available. A positive return on investment should be secured within 6-12 months.

8. Credentials - Use references because the "proof is in the pudding." Many coaches promote their credentials, but research suggest that many business, career, transition or executive coaches actually earn less than $25,000 annually. The focus should reside on the outcomes from the coaching that you are expecting and not the credentials of the coach.

9. Complimentary Session - Ask for a complimentary session to see if you like the coach and feel that the coach understands what you are attempting to achieve. In many cases, these sessions are at no charge.

10.Check - Before you hire a coach, check to make sure that you are committed to doing what you need to do. Coaches are a resource for individuals and not what some believe are a magic pill. The success of any coaching relationship is dependent upon both individuals.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, The Process Specialist. With over 25 years of business and education experience, she partners with her clients to connect the 3P's of Passion, Purpose and Performance to affect sustainable change in 4 key areas: financials, leadership, relationships and growth & innovation with a variety of industries. Her ROI solutions align the strategies, systems and people to develop loyal internal customers leading to loyal external customers. She is the co-author of M.A.G.I.C.A.L. Potential:Living an Amazing Life Beyond Purpose to Achievement due for June 205 release. Leanne also speaks nationally to a variety of audiences. Please call Leanne a call at 219.759.5601 or email if you are seeking sustainable results for your business or yourself.

Copyright 2005 Leanne Hoagland-Smith,

Permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way (grammatical corrections accepted).

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