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University of Massachusetts Amherst

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COACHING: What's in it for you?

By Diane Mandle

I raised two boys and the image of a coach for was for me, of this big guy standing on the sidelines of a baseball field, yelling at my kid because he missed a catch, or screaming at him to hit the ball a certain way. I never liked what I saw, even though the boys didn't seem to mind as much as I did. Maybe they just didn't know what coaching could be like.

Today, a lot of adults are turning to coaching as a way to get and keep on track. There are many styles and types of coaching available- sports, business, performance development, personal growth, and self mastery to name a few. Whatever the type of coaching you are seeking, there are important considerations to make in order to determine who is best for you. You choose your coach- a luxury most 10 year olds don 't have!

Are you ready for coaching? That's the first question. Coaching is not therapy. Coaching works well with people who are ready to make shifts and leaps in their lives, eager to move to a higher level of functioning, seeking more balance in their lives and designing their future. Coaching holds that the client is already whole and healthy and focuses on present and future action. I also believe that coaching focuses on helping clients access their own inner wisdom and answers.

Are you a team player? You need to be because coaching asks for an alliance between coach and client. You will be held accountable for being on time and following through on your goals and agreements. It is up to you to renegotiate the contract with your coach if it needs tweeking. Because coaching is greatly client-focused, advise is only given with client permission–– you have to ask for what you want and need.

How do you choose a coach?

As in many arenas, chemistry is key in selecting a coach. It's a good idea to seek out a coach who has expertise in your area of interest in much the same way you would choose a lawyer. It is perfectly acceptable to interview a coach and also ask for a free 1/2 hour coaching session.

Give the coach as much information about your present situation and your desired outcome as possible. Ask about what type of clients they have and how they have been helpful. Find out about their fees and openings. Many coaching agreements are for a minimum of 3 months, so be sure to assess if you are able to make the commitment. You should feel relaxed, challenged and comfortable with your coach.

Coach qualities to look for.

Your coach should ask you powerful questions, provide you with unconditional encouragemen and hold you accountable to your agreements. A coach should hold the vision of you at your best and mirror that back to you. He or she should be a facilitator rather than a director, and always tell the truth. A coach should encourage you to maintain excellent self-care in all areas of your life–– because you come first!

How do you find a coach?

There are several good avenues to take in trying to find a coach. You might consider the good old fashioned "mentor. A mentor might be a good friend or business person you respect who agrees to consult with you and help you develop your skills. Don't be afraid of approaching someone you don't know personally if you feel that they possess the skills and background you need. Many people feel quite flattered to be asked and are more than willing to step up to the plate.

You can also contact Coach University by e-mail at Coachuniversity.com or call them at 1-800-48coach. They provide many coaching related services including referrals and classes by phone or internet.

There are also several good coaching newsletters to subscribe to that are good sources of coaches and questions. Majordomo@Web.WebCoach.com . Write "subscribe coachingmall-list" in the body of your message. Also try Majordomo@salesacademy,com or Majordomo@themarketingcoach.com for newsletters and free teleclasses on sales and marketing your business.

Coaching helps strengthen an individuals ability to see self-defeating patterns, create short and long term goals, and raise the level of physical, emotional and mental self care. Coaching helps people get un-stuck fast.

Are you ready for a coach?

Diane Mandle is the owner of Life In Progress, Unlimited, an Amherst based business devoted to helping people define, create and live their lives on their own terms. Her services include personal and professional development coaching, Polarity therapy and workshop facilitation. Diane was the former Director of t e Amherst Chamber of Commerce and the Western Mass. American Cancer Society. She is also a performer and co- artistic director of a community theater in Amherst.

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