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-- by guest writer Tony Davies

If you are anything like me, you may have noticed a tremendous increase in the number of coaches that have appeared recently. Traditionally, coaches existed primarily in the world of sports and the corporate arena, but you could also find voice, acting and singing coaches.

Today however, this has all changed. Lifestyle, relationship, personal development, business, soul, life, leadership, executive, career and countless other types of coaching are now widely available. So what can these coaches do for us?

The dictionary defines the term "coach" as "someone who instructs or trains others". From this definition, at least we can draw a potential connection between the coaching profession and ourselves. So how do you know if you need a coach? Basically, if there are areas of your life which you would like to improve or enhance, the opportunity exists to employ a coach.

The Dream Team in everyday life, we all employ "specialists" to perform various functions because we have neither the skills nor knowledge to do the job. You wouldn't consider attempting to fill a tooth if you had a toothache - you would go to your dentist. Would you complete your own tax return if your objective was to minimize tax exposure - no, you would visit an accountant. If you were feeling ill, you wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) self-medicate - you would contact your doctor.

It all comes down to the fact that these professionals have skills and knowledge that provide faster, better, safer and more satisfying results than you could possibly achieve on your own.I refer to this group of people as a "Dream Team" – a group of professionals to help you achieve that which you want – in the above-mentioned cases, a nice smile, more disposable income and good health.

So why stop there? If there are other areas that you want to change, the same principle applies. For example, if you had a desire to improve your levels of health & fitness, you could join a gym. The problem is that the novelty quickly wears off and, unless you are incredibly disciplined, it is difficult to keep going on your own. There is also the dilemma of not knowing which equipment to use or which exercises to do. In fact, a real issue is not having specific goals at all, which will leave you lost. The result? You stop going to the gym and your membership fee is wasted. Even worse, you will feel like a failure which in turn will lower your levels of self-esteem, negatively impacting many areas of your life.

The solution? Get yourself a personal trainer! Make this person part of your Dream Team. Your trainer (or coach) will help you define your goals, provide a specific program to follow and will also give you moral support. This approach offers a much higher likelihood of accomplishing your goals in this area, and at a much faster rate.

Other areas that most of us want to improve, include our key relationships, levels of success or financial freedom. Time management and career counseling are other potential areas for improvement. The problem is most of us don't know how to improve or make things better in these areas. We have our own ways of handling things, which of course, has us where we are now! Remember Einstein's definition of insanity; "doing the same things over and over and expecting different results!" If you don't want to qualify as being insane, then something must change. The solution of course, is to change your approach, and that could mean finding someone that can help you in the specific area you want to improve – in other words, a coach, to become part of your Dream Team.

But Whom Do I Choose? As in all professions, it is a fact that not all coaches are created equal! Not every coach will be a fit with every client. In order to select a coach, I would recommend spending some time to identify your objectives, create some "interview" questions for potential coaches, define your budget and do some research to compile a list of potential candidates. There are a number of coaching organizations and associations on the web, that have lists of their coaches names, complete with biographies, qualifications, areas of expertise and contact information.When interviewing your prospective coach, think in terms of how comfortable you would feel working with the person. Are they someone to whom you would be comfortable sharing personal information? Do you like them? Do they seem to have an action plan and strategy process that will help you achieve your goals? What is their fee and what can you expect for that level of investment? Can you work with them? Is their interest and commitment mainly around helping you or collecting their fees?

Interview 3 – 5 candidates. Once you are comfortable, make a selection and get started! You will quickly be on the road to achieving your goals.Please note one thing; hiring a coach to help you improve the various areas of your life, requires commitment!

The process is likely to take several months and you must be prepared to "do the work" that goes along with affecting change in your life. If you are not fully committed to the process, the result will be frustration (for both of you) and failure, not to mention a bunch of money spent on nothing! Affecting meaningful change will take time.

Old habits will need to be broken and new, supportive habits created. It took you years to get where you are today, so it is unreasonable to expect that accomplishment of your goals will occur in just a few weeks! Coaches are not miracle workers; they cannot do the work for you or wave a magic wand to make things easy. What your coach can do is help you to define what it is specifically that you want, work with you to develop strategic and tactical plans of action, provide guidance and moral support in your quest and keep you accountable for following the plan. With commitment, dedication and a good coach, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish!


Just so that you know, we ALL need coaches. By anyone's standards, the success I'd achieved prior to two years ago was awesome. However, I knew I had much untapped potential. I brought two life coaches into my life (I still work with two to this day!) and I'm thrilled with how they've helped me expand into my natural abilities. Could I do the same for you?



"When I played with Michael Jordan on the Olympic team, there was a huge gap between his ability and the ability of the other great players on that team. But what impressed me was that he was always the first one on the floor and the last one to leave."

-- Steve Alford



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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Written by Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW, CEC
President, CounselingPros.com, Kenosis Counseling, Inc.
622 W. Valley View Drive
Indianapolis, Indiana USA 46217
(c) Copyright 2005 CounselingPros.com, Inc.