Clearly, coaching isn't just for sports anymore. Increasingly, professional coaches are making huge differences in people's lives. While most people have their basic needs met (food, water, shelter, clothing) they are often stymied by the changing world of work, busy lifestyles, and a lack of personal fulfillment. That's where professional coaches have the greatest impact. Their mission is to assist people in setting and attaining personal and career goals.
Who are professional coaches? The seven most common backgrounds of coaches are:
(1) consultants of all types,
(2) trainers, speakers, presenters, educators, teachers,
(3) helping professionals including therapists and counselors of all types and religious leaders such as ministers and rabbis,
(4) professionals such as accountants, attorneys, dentists, physicians,
(5) corporate employees, administrators, managers and executives,
(6) entrepreneurs, including small business owners, and
(7) sales professionals and brokers.
The average age of professional coaches is 46. Fifty-seven percent of them are women. They all share the desire to improve other people's quality of life.
How does it work? There's typically an agreement to work together for a specified period of time, usually 30 minutes weekly for three to six months. The average coaching fee is $250 for four 30-minute telephone sessions. Initially, you and your coach establish a focus and goals for your work together. What is it you want to accomplish? What kind of help might the coach provide? While some coaches specialize, most help in areas ranging from assessing, confronting, and creatively solving problems to issues on time-management, staying motivated, and dealing efectively with emotional ups and downs.
As you might conclude from the paragraph above, coaching often leads to:
- Clearer goals and roles. It provides a perspective which is often lost when you're in the middle of things and can't always separate the forest from the trees.
- Greater personal insights. Coaching brings to the surface your strengths, weaknesses, and the issues with which you struggle. Another benefit is increased awareness of areas which must be priorities if you're going to be truly effective in the short and long-term.
- Increased and consistent support to achieve current goals and for ongoing development. Your coach is there consistently, on a weekly basis, providing increased understanding of your issues and offering support and suggestions for improvement.
John Bloom, M.D. (the name and some of the specifics have been changed to assure confidentiality) works in a teaching and research capacity at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Bloom's position requires him to deliver his team's research findings at professional meetings and conferences. He knows his presentation skills are week, and he's extremely introverted. He also realizes that he's not held in as high regard as he would hope, since he comes across as stilted and less than confident when delivering the material. In addition, numerous opportunities to network with other professionals and gain potentially valuable information and insights have been missed.
Dr. Boom made the commitment to work with a professional coach. He wanted someone with expertise in presentation skills and a solid understanding of how to move an extremely introverted person to perform more extroverted activities such as as networking. After talking with a number of colleagues, he received the names of some possible coaches. He chose Judy Kaplan Baron, a seasoned corporate trainer who specializes in interpersonal communication skills, including effective presentation techniques. She is also considered an expert in all facets of career development, including networking. After committing to the coaching process for three months and setting goals together, they went to work.
After the first couple of weeks, Dr. Bloom realized he had been operating under some false assumptions regarding what makes a presentation interesting and how he would need to change. He began revisiting the format and the delivery style of his presentations, and spent about 10 minutes each day practicing his new delivery style. In addition, after some discussion regarding how to initiate conversations with others, he also started practicing networking skills on a daily basis - while eating lunch, attending faculty meetings, and even at his son's soccer games.
By the end of the second month of coaching, Dr. Bloom was feeling significantly more confident in his ability to master both skills. It was at that time that he chose to add a new goal -- how to exert influence over other professionals. Dr. Bloom believes that the coaching is already positively impacting his career and enhancing his personal life as well.
If you believe you might benefit from coaching, contact Judy Kaplan Baron at 858 558-7400 or email at