By Sharon Davis
If you think all coaches wear sweat suits and dangle whistles around their necks, think again. There's a whole new breed of coaches who have nothing to do with zone defenses or corner kicks.
These coaches help businesses and individuals focus on goals. They are hired by their clients to guide them efficiently through their business and personal problems and help them achieve their aspirations. They serve more as personal-business trainers than as typical financial or management consultants.
Gail Ginder, a professional coach, said coaches begin helping clients by asking them: "Where are you now? Where do you want to be?" and the assist them to determine "How do you get there?"
Ginder comes to coaching with a bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degrees in counseling and public health. She said, "A coach is an experiences partner who's right there beside you, advocating, encouraging, challenging - helping you identify and accomplish what you want in life."
Professional coaches do most of their work over the hone, although some also utilize e-mail or conduct fact-to-face sessions. Charges to clients vary. Some coaches charge by the hour - $75 to $100 per hour is not unusual. Others charge by the month. This usually includes regular weekly phone conferences and access to coaches when unique business or personal situations develop. Monthly fees generally run between $300 and $500. Coaches often do research on client's problems during the month so they can contribute helpful information during the regular phone sessions.
Professional coaches are not licensed by any state or national agency but they often belong to national organizations such as the International Coach Federation.
There are approximately a dozen schools around the country that teach coaching skills including Coach U, based in Steamboat Springs, Colo., which offers a two-year training program over the telephone and the Internet.
There are approximately 10,000 coaches across the country, a number that has doubled each of the past three years. Business- and career- coaching has been recognized as a professions for only 15 years.
"First there were consultants, then there were therapists. Now, if you need help sorting out your personal and professional problems, you can hire a coach." trumpets Coach U on its Website.
Thomas Leonard, a Bay Area financial planner who later founded coach U, has suggested that the role of coaches is to help people se priorities and then "act as sort of a compass to steer them on whatever course they choose." Leonard predicts that by the year 2002 it will be as common to have a coach as it is now to have a personal fitness trainer.
He says a coach is like a small voice saying "Are you really doing what you want to do? What have you done this week to accomplish your goal?"
Gary Yates, with Effective Environments, likes to quote a recent Newsweek magazine article in which a coach is depicted as part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist, and part rent-a-friend.
Where to go for more information:
Secrets of a Ceo Coach : - Your Personal Training Guide to Thinking Like a Leader and Acting Like a Ceo.
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