by Judy Papio Mastracchio, CC, CDC®

For most of our lives, a “coach” instructed us or our children in sports. In the past couple of decades, however, the whole process of  being able to achieve a goal in something other than baseball, football, track, soccer, etc. has been transferred to everyday life.

The now expanded definition of this concept  reads: “Coaching is.. a teaching, training or development process via which an individual is supported while achieving a specific personal or professional result or goal…and may be designed to facilitate thinking or learning new behavior for personal growth or professional advancement…The purpose of the coaching is to help them move forward in whatever way they want to move, not to ‘cure’ them.¹

So, if you enter into a coaching relationship, what can the coach do for you?

The answer is nothing.

Sounds odd?

That is the answer because the coach isn’t doing anything for you; you are working on you!

He or she is helping you determine what your goals are, what the reality of your situation is, what options you may want to consider and what actions you are willing to take to achieve those goals. In coaching, this is called the “G.R.O.W.” model. The coach is your unconditional supporter, your sounding board, your measuring stick, your reason to be accountable to someone and in so doing, improve the quality of your life. A coach is someone who is not afraid to send you a wake up call and put you into a “reality sandwich.”

Why would someone choose to work with a coach?

Some of us just get “stuck.” We may be somewhat successful but never seem to be able to get to the next level in business, in our social life, within our family dynamics. Sometimes circumstances out of our control puts us into neutral, like a death in the family or divorce or some other traumatic incident in our lives. The right coach can give you a jumpstart to that next level.

What do you look for in coach? 

First, make sure he or she is certified through a school approved and certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF). In many cases, your coach may have gone on to become further certified in a particular area (e.g., a business coach, a life-skills coach, a divorce coach, etc.) Check out every level of education they’ve pursued.

Secondly, ask for references. Make sure that the coach you choose to work with has had success with his or her clients. Ask them what they liked most about their coach and what they liked least and how they were able to measure their results.

Third and most importantly, make sure that you and your coach are a good fit! Sometimes it may be necessary to interview several individuals before you find the person right for you.

Remember, in a coach/client relationship, it truly is all about you