A number of coaches have a specialty area or concentration, although many work in several areas. Some of the different types of coaches you may encounter are:
Life coaches work with various aspects of a client’s life. Life coaches focus on assisting clients to achieve life-improving goals, managing and making the most of transitions, finding balance, and making progress in other areas of personal well-being and growth. For example, if your goal is to achieve balance between your work, personal and family life a life coach could support you in these goals.
Career coaches specialize in assisting clients with achieving their career goals. A career coach might assist their client in discovering their ideal career or attaining desired results within the career they have chosen. Unlike packaged job or career training programs, career coaches start with their client’s gifts and sources of motivation to help them get to their goals. Career coaches often work to uncover the client’s true avocation that will allow them to “Go to Play” as opposed to “Going to Work” every day because they are doing what they love and are good at.
Business coaches primarily work with entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals (like Medical Doctors, Attorneys, and Consultants) to help them improve their businesses. Business coaches work with clients in a variety of ways. They might help them determine how to convert passion for an idea into a business start-up, or identify actions that would generate greater profits for an existing business. Business coaches often function as a vital ‘silent’ partner in supporting and enlightening business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve business and personal success.
Executive coaches work with executives, upper management, and board members in business, non-profit and government sectors. In the ever-changing — and sometimes lonely — environment of upper management, executives often lack an objective sounding board, reliable source of performance feedback, or safe environment to explore new ideas about management and leadership. Executive coaches assist their clients to overcome obstacles within and around them to tap into their hidden strengths and talents so they can achieve success in their role or advance to higher levels. Executive coaching has become popular because it is a way of accelerating growth of professionals, improving leadership skills and enhancing managerial performance.
Sales coaches assist sales professionals and sales managers to identify the steps that will contribute the most to their sales and other goals, providing accountability to stay on course to completion. Sales coaches might assist clients to be able to take time away from selling and enjoy a balanced life.
Generally, are recognized as experts in their field, who either sell their advice or perform their expert actions (or both) to complete a task or project on their client’s behalf. Credit or acclaim for the work done or the achievements is often given to the consultant. Consultants typically maintain a certain professional distance and rarely form a close enough relationship with a client to surface the behaviors that might be getting in the way of achieving goals.
Coaches focus on their client to achieve the goals chosen by the client and work with them to develop their own expertise and take actions necessary to achieve their goals. Coaching supports tend to be fully customized around the client’s unique needs, strengths, and aspirations and typically clients and coaches form a strong confidential and open relationship.
Therapy usually focuses on helping clients overcome past problems that encumber their ability to function in a normal day-to-day manner. In therapy, clients often revisit past life events to discover and resolve conflicting issues. Coaching focuses on the client achieving future goals chosen by the client. Therapists have specific expertise that varies from that of a coach, and are trained to deal effectively with a range of mental health issues. Coaches and therapists are usually pretty good at determining with a client when one or the other option is most appropriate.
Among the numerous benefits of coaching are:
- Being listened to by someone who listens with your best interests in mind.
- Being challenged to go beyond where you would go yourself.
- Having someone you can explore options with.
- Having a safe protected space in your life to try out new ideas.
- Arriving at an action plan that suits your life.
- Being able to change direction and try something new.
- Acquiring greater satisfaction from your life and work.
- You are already thinking about taking positive action to change some aspect of your career, business or life.
- You want increased fulfillment and meaning in your life and are willing to take necessary steps.
- You hunger for greater clarity and focus about what you want in life.
- You want to shift from reacting to events to being proactive.
- You want to align your livelihood with your life goals.
- You want to set priorities so that you have time to nurture yourself and others you care for.
- You want to realize your dreams and aspirations sooner rather than later.
There are several steps in finding or selecting a coach. It is important to understand that coaching is all about you: your life, goals, needs, wants, desires, and dreams. It is not about the coach. There are many coaches available, and you should be able to find the one that is right for you. If you feel you are ready for a coach, it is important to:
- Do some research about coaches in your area of interest.
- Be as clear as possible about what you want to get out of coaching.
- Understand the basics about what to expect from a coach.
- Interview more than one coach.
- Have your questions prepared.
- Commit to the process and retain your coach.
Some areas of inquiry are:
Coaching experience – The number of people the coach has worked with or number of years of coaching experience or the types of coaching experience.
Coaching specialty – The area or areas that the coach is proficient in.
Specialized skills – Skill, experience and/or training that the coach can bring to you.
Coaching philosophy – Specific coaching success stories or examples of individuals who have done well or examples of value they have added.
Length of time the coach typically works with individuals who have situations similar to yours.
Fees – How much and how are they normally paid?
When you are ready to retain your coach, be prepared to sign a “Coaching Agreement.” Most coaches have an agreement that specifies the number and length of sessions per month, the initial duration of the coaching arrangement, agreed upon fee, etc. You may also be asked to sign a credit card authorization to make payments convenient. Many coaches have several startup documents they gather into a “Welcome Packet.” These documents usually aid the coach in getting to know you more quickly and efficiently.