Five Things You Should Know About Coaching

As coaching increases in popularity, many wonder how it differs from therapy and other more traditional models of counseling. Following are some basic facts about coaching and what it offers:

Coaching is a growing profession. Some psychotherapists are becoming full-time coaches or added coaching to their practices while universities, including Georgetown and George Mason, offer coaching courses. And the American Psychological Association (APA) sponsors coaching workshops for continuing education credit.

Coaching assumes you are healthy and whole. While many people seek therapy to heal their past or overcome an incident of trauma or disappointment, coaches help people who are already functioning well to function at a more optimal level. It’s forward-thinking and action-oriented simply asking, “What do you want to do with your life?”.

Coaching champions personal growth and leadership. The coach’s role is to help them access that inner knowing, since they what is best for themselves. Coaches hold their clients to become the best person they are capable of being through life-work balance; goal setting, from losing weight to switching careers; personal fulfillment; and negotiating your personal “edge”. Coaches help people see what’s possible while identifying behaviors and attitudes that may be self-limiting.

Coaching can be customized. While many coaches are generalists, there are corporate coaches, coaches for small business, life/personal coaches, executive coaches, and specialty coaches, like parenting or working with young adults.

Coaching should be selective. When selecting a coach, ask the same kinds of questions you would when hiring someone to be a key member of your company or team. Check credentials, check references, and then check your own instincts. The best coaches are those whose clients work with them because they click together.

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