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How to Choose a Business Coach

'Newsweek' was one of the first major publications to begin exploring the coaching phenomenon, describing it as an entirely new, distinctly 90’s profession. In the new millennium, thousands of coaches - who can be described as part consultant, ultimate resource, motivator and trusted guide - work with those determined to continually enrich their lives, resolve conflicts, improve their decision making skills and overall communications - those challenging themselves to achieve healthy, balanced, satisfying lives.


 
 
“My work as a Coach started over a decade ago,” says Executive Business Coach Joyce K. Reynolds, “first as a corporate mentor, then to associates who I helped parlay fledging freelance careers into major sole proprietorships and, ultimately, to CEO’s, business executives, entrepreneurs, entire corporations and others who are determined to get the most out of their business and personal lives.”

Coaching is a highly sensitive profession, Reynolds asserts. “A Coach is often called upon to tell ‘bosses’ that they may be their company’s biggest problem or may have to help others realize that they are operating in a self-defeating manner. This is where the Coach must bring much more than education and business acumen. The highly successful Coach will also have keen, highly-diplomatic communications skills which will allow her to address sometimes painful issues without losing the client,” Reynolds continues. “A Coach must be positioned to help even highly-driven, very successful people learn how to communicate better and how to listen well. On all levels, a Coach has the opportunity to teach more effective living.”

As significant as client/Coach chemistry is, Reynolds points out that there is also the matter of appropriate backgrounds to consider. This means that, as the Coaching ranks grow, it is increasingly important to determine the qualifications of the Coach under consideration. “One of the primary assets I bring to my clients is my formal background,” notes Reynolds. “Along with my sociology degree, I also have significant corporate experience as a former Senior Vice President of Marketing for international companies. This expertise has proven invaluable to CEOs and senior executives who are growing businesses as they grow themselves. It also clearly positions me as someone who knows corporate politics and has in-depth knowledge of the big picture,” Reynolds continues. Ultimately, Reynolds’ dual background helps companies improve corporate culture, productivity and profitability. “In its most successful business form,” claims Reynolds, “Coaching becomes a company-wide benefit.”

Employing a Business Coach to help realize professional and personal goals is like announcing to the world the readiness for more - more success, more money, more rewards along with more leisure, more personal satisfaction, more freedom. These things together all contribute to good life balance.
“I am that considerate but firm voice saying, ‘Be sure you’re really doing what you want with your life and stay focused on being true to yourself.’ I keep my clients on track," Reynolds continues.

In determining whether or not a Coach is in order, here are some key questions to ask: Do you want to feel more fulfilled, plan a more productive, well-balanced, satisfying business and personal future? Do you want to work smarter, not harder? Would you like to lead and communicate better in your workplace? Have more free time without disrupting your business? If you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, you may be ready to hire a Coach. “People are tired of figuring things out for themselves,” says Reynolds. “They want support, encouragement, validation and for a reasonable monthly fee - typically $500-$700 - they can get the support in their lives that they deserve."

As the profession grows, it has been suggested that by the year 2002, it will be as common to have a coach as it now is to have a therapist or a personal fitness trainer. Like therapy, coaching costs $150 to $250 for 45-minute weekly consultations, e-mail access, brief interim calls and faxes. But there the similarity ends. "Coaches develop a personal partnership with their clients which is very different from the relationship they have with a therapist," Reynolds says. “It is not unlikely - or unethical - for the coach and the client to become quite close in the process.”

It is the comprehensive nature of the experience that seems to be the most compelling aspect of coaching. Reynolds further explains that often a client will begin by voicing serious professional concerns only to realize, in talking matters through, that the problem has its origins in some other area of life - family, relationships, personal attitudes or biases. “Progress is really made,” Reynolds offers, “when a client is willing to totally bring an outsider into their life - their whole life, that is. In order to do the best job, a Coach has to be able to advise on strategies for dealing not only with business associates but spouses, parents and siblings. I am at my most effective when I become a trusted advisor. In fact, it is the all-encompassing aspect of Coaching that makes it so effective,” says Reynolds. “Coaching is not for the faint of heart,” Reynolds cautions. “You have to want a better life enough to change to get it - that’s why my Coaching maxim is “If you’re ready for the challenge of your life, get a Coach!”

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