life-coaching-qualifications-300x225Whether you call it life coaching, success coaching or personal coaching one thing is clear — lots of people are turning to coaches to help them recharge their personal and work lives.

With its history rooted in sports and business, coaching has evolved to the point that one can find a coaching expert on just about any subject: leadership, spirituality, success, parenting, writing, performance, relationships and fitness are all examples of specialized coaching. You want a coach for your biggest challenge? You don’t have to look far!

What is this coaching bandwagon and how can it help you? Let me start by stating what a coach is not.

For starters, a coach is not a therapist. Therapists and counselors are trained, certified and licensed to diagnose and help client with emotional challenges and mental dysfunction. Therapists want and need to hear your history to understand your emotional state of mind. Coaches, on the other hand, may be certified but are not required to be licensed. Nor do they need to understand how you got to where you because their focus is where you are and where you want to go.

Secondly, a coach is not a mentor. Mentors are generally recruited or assigned as a senior, trusted advisor whose experience far outweighs that of the mentee. Mentors share their perspectives and make suggestions to help the mentee grow and develop professionally. These relationships are often long-term and informal. Coaches, on the other hand, don’t need to be subject matter experts in the field of the client, they only need to be subject matter experts in coaching and facilitating the client toward the agreed upon objectives. Furthermore, coaching appointments are typically structured, focused and scheduled on a regular basis over the short-term. A good coach will help you determine the right course of action, see that you’ve got a solid start and then step out of the picture until you need him or her again.

Lastly, a coach is not a consultant. Consultants are called in to provide professional or technical advice or opinions based on their expert understanding the situation at hand and the needs of the business. Coaches facilitate the client to answer their own questions.

The International Coach Federation (ICF), defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Founded in 1995, the ICF is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by establishing a common set of high standards.

Now that you know what a coach is (and isn’t), when might you benefit from hiring one?  Simple: coaches are expert facilitators who are trained to guide you through decision making processes that help you determine exactly what you want and how you want to get there.

Here’s an example: let’s say you were passed over for promotion and now you’re feeling stuck. Do you…

  • Stay where you are or look for a job in a different organization?
  • Go back to school and get a new certification or degree
  • Apply for every job that opens up just to get your point across that you are ready for something new?

A coach provides impartial insight and asks the right questions so you can decide on the best next steps.

Are you in a place where you’re not sure what to do next? Coaching could be just what you need to jump start your future. Want to learn more? Ask the coach of your choice for a complimentary session. Not only can you learn a lot about yourself in one session but you’ll get to see, first-hand, how a trained coach can recharge your path to success.

Sheila Callaham is an author, motivational speaker and certified success coach. Sign up to receive a complimentary 30-minute coaching session.

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