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By Robert Pagliarini
Personal coaching is all the rage.
First, what is a professional coach?
Second, who's using coaches? In a 2009 study of the professional coaching industry by the
As with any growing profession, there can be a lot of confusion. To help distinguish fact from fiction, here are the top 5 personal coaching myths:
Myth #1: Personal coaches are professionals who can help you achieve your goals.
Fact: Some, but certainly not all, coaches are professionals who can help you reach your goals. One of the problems in the coaching industry is that anyone can call themselves a professional coach, life coach, personal coach, etc. Jennifer Corbin, the president of Coach U, one of the largest and oldest coach training organizations in the world, said, "Technically, anyone can hang up a shingle as coaching is not regulated. Many people 'coaching' have no idea what coaching is as they haven't been trained or haven't been coached by a professionally trained and credentialed coach. There are 'schools' that will offer a credential after three hours of training, and people read a book or watch a TV program and decide, 'I'm a coach!'" As a result, the quality of coaches varies dramatically. I strongly suggest working with a coach that has been accredited by the
Myth 2: Coaching is a nice employment perk.
Fact: Coaching is as much a perk to your employees as their computers are. Employees may view coaching as a value-added benefit, but successful organizations see coaching as something much more than a perk. Done right, professional coaching can drive sales, employee engagement, creativity, workplace satisfaction and bottom-line results. Wellness programs have been shown to provide approximately a 300 percent return on investment (ROI). In other words, companies who spend $1 in a wellness program (e.g., exercise clubs, personal trainers, smoking cessation workshops) earn $3 as a result of decreased turnover, fewer sick days, reduced health insurance costs, etc. It's no wonder wellness programs have experienced such tremendous growth -- it makes financial sense!
The ROI from professional coaching is even more astonishing. According to a
Myth 3: Personal coaches can only help you reach personal goals; professional coaches can only help you reach business goals.
Fact: A good coach is someone who is an expert at helping others create positive change in their lives. For some clients, the positive change they most want may be focused on personal goals such as relationships, time management, work-life balance, stress reduction, simplification or health, but other clients may be more interested in professional or business goals such as leadership, getting a promotion, starting a business, etc. An effective coach works with the client to help them live a better, richer life -- regardless of their specific types of goals.
Myth 4: Coaching is for "problem" employees.
Fact: Coaching used to be a euphemism for, "you're doing lousy work, but, before we can fire you, we need to show that we've done everything we can to support you so we don't get hit with an employment lawsuit." No mas. According to Paul Michelman, editor of
Good coaching focuses on an individual's strengths and aims to help the client achieve what they want more of in life and at work. The goal? To help the client identify and achieve their greater goals and to help them live a better life. A good coach isn't there to "fix" anyone, but to help the client navigate toward a more engaged and compelling future.
Myth 5: Personal coaching takes too much time.
Fact: Professional coaching is a high-leverage activity. Clients can achieve remarkable progress toward their desired future in less than an hour per month of coaching. There is a wide spectrum of how coaching is delivered. Some coaches prefer to meet one-on-one with clients in an office, but most recommend telephone sessions for the ease of use, minimization of distractions, better privacy, greater efficiency, and for (yes, apparently) better connection to the client. Best practices in coaching call for between two and four sessions per month that last at least 20 minutes and up to 60 minutes. A sweet spot for many coaches and clients seems to be three sessions per month for 20 to 45 minutes a session -- a miniscule investment of time for the results achieved.
Careers - Top 5 Personal Coaching Myths
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