WHAT IS COACHING? The terms Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Career Coaching and Personal Coaching all refer to a process of helping normal or high functioning people achieve to their full potential. Coaching may be applied to work related or personal goals and may be used with an individual or with a group of people working as a team. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is a consortium of professional coaches and organizations that have joined together under its auspices to shape and govern the profession of coaching. It defines coaching as: “A partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
WHAT IS THE BEST PROFESSIONAL TRAINING TO BE A COACH? Many people represent themselves as "executive coaches" or "life coaches" without any real training, especially training in psychology, but they do a good job of "marketing" themselves. Licensed therapists, especially PhD level therapists, are uniquely qualified by their training to develop skills as a coach. My training includes the study of normal human personality, motivation, learning, thinking and behavior and the variables that enhance or interfere with these qualities.
CHOOSING A COACH.One of the first things to do is to know the training of the coach you wish to get.The ICF recommends that you get a coach that has received professional training from a program specifically designed to teach coaching skills in alignment with the ICF Competencies and Code of Ethics. They advise that “If you are considering hiring a coach, be diligent in asking the coach if they have been specifically trained in coaching skills and currently hold or in the process of acquiring an ICF credential. Don't be misled to think a coach is a competent coach because they have other professional credentials or set high fees.”If you are thinking of hiring a coach remember that you will get out of the coaching experience what you put into it. It is your effort and desire to change in order to lead a happier and more fulfilled life that will determine your results. Life coaching will only help you go as far as you are determined to go.  
TYPICAL COACHING GOALS: WHAT IS ACCOMPLISHED IN COACHING SESSIONS? Positive goals for improvement may be professional, career, education or work related. Goals may be to improve work performance or to expand upon or make changes in career or profession. Goals may also be personal, life style or quality of life related. Coaching is focused upon heightening ability to achieve potential, to promote optimal level of functioning and to enhance the effective application of motivation to achieve specific goals.
WHY USE A COACH? If we think about the role of a coach in sports it helps to clarify what a life coach may offer. A world-class athlete already has the talent and skill to compete in the top echelon of his or her sport. Why would such a supremely talented athlete need to have a coach? Because top athletes know a coach can help them identify certain training or performance actions that will help them achieve up to their maximum potential. The coach helps the athlete make full and efficient use of his or her talent and skills. A similar principle is involved in Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Career Coaching or Personal Coaching.  
WHAT DOES THE COACH DO? Coaching is a cooperative and interactive effort. The professional coach evaluates, clarifies, challenges and supports a client in actions to achieve performance goals and to achieve greater satisfaction in work related and/or personal related areas of life.
WHAT ARE THE INITIAL STEPS TAKEN IN COACHING?One thing particularly empowering with coaching is the belief that the client is naturally creative and resourceful and also has the best answers to their own challenges in life. It is the coach’s job to elicit these solutions and strategies from the client. The coach's job is simply to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has through listening, observation and customizing of their approach to individual client needs.
Evaluation: The coach will help you specify answers to these questions:
Where are you now?
What is your current level of performance?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are your areas of skill and competence?
How can you identify your values, purpose, principles and priorities?
Are you ready for coaching?
Setting Direction: The coach will help you clarify your vision, priorities and goals. The coach will help you clearly define the objectives, results or outcomes desired by you.
Implementing a Defined Plan of Action:
After helping you define the goals and challenges, the coach will help you establish an action plan and timetable, identify likely obstacles and remedies, and support your commitment to follow the timetable to achieve your goals.
Following Through:
The coach will help you evaluate your progress realistically, give you feedback, and help you modify or enhance your plan of action as needed for greater effectiveness.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COACHING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY? Psychotherapy is a method of treatment for symptoms of emotional disturbance, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, obsessions or compulsions. Treatment may be directed at the overt expression of the symptom or it may include exploring personal family and history information in order to determine the cause of the symptom. It involves dealing with mental or emotional suffering, or dysfunction, internal conflicts, and psychodynamics. It is usually conducted in face-to-face meetings in the office of a licensed therapist, typically for 45 minute weekly sessions. Treatment is directed at a diagnosable mental or emotional disturbance and is often covered as a benefit under a medical insurance plan. In Coaching we are not addressing symptoms of an emotional disturbance. We are working with healthy, well-functioning individuals who want to improve and expand upon their level of functioning rather than upon treatment of an emotional disturbance. It is future oriented, progress oriented and action oriented. The basic assumption in coaching is that an achievement oriented person wants to function at a higher level, to be more effective and to make positive changes in his or her life. Although life coaching can involve an element of counseling it is a totally different experience. It is more focused on the future and moving you forward with your life. You could say: therapists are the archaeologists, and coaches are the architects.”
HOW DOES COACHING WORK? Coaching is a way of helping a person expand upon his or her perception of new possibilities and thereby upon an awareness of freedom to make choices. The coach does not tell people what to do, but helps them define the changes they want to make and the goals they want to achieve. It helps them take the step from wishing, yearning and hoping to actually taking practical steps in a realistic, productive way. Coaching focuses upon future possibilities, not past mistakes. It enhances a new learning process and implements effective action through a deliberate process of observation, inquiry, dialog, and discovery. It helps a person recognize and draw upon their strengths and under-utilized psychological resources and to overcome limitations, frustration and disappointment. In other words, a coach helps a client recognize options for becoming a more effective person. The coach facilitates experiential learning that results in positive, future-oriented action and helps the client clearly define and strengthen his or her commitment to making positive changes. Coaching is a collaborative, goal directed form of cooperative planning between the coach and a healthy achievement-oriented person.  

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