What is Personal and Professional Coaching?

    Like sports coaches, life and professional coaches teach and support individuals and teams in their efforts to reach goals. Instead of athletic goals, this kind of coaching aims at career and life goals such as increased effectiveness, leadership development, better work-life balance, or achieving financial success. By temperament and training, coaches are insightful and intuitive individuals who can pace their guidance to the needs of the client. They are like therapists or spiritual directors but instead of working with clients on mental health or spirituality they help clients live better lives at home and at work. They often have business, therapy, or coaching training.

    What kind of people benefit from coaching?

    Just about anyone who is motivated to work on their life can benefit from coaching. In cultures around the world and in different centuries, people have always sought wise counsel from experts or elders. Sometimes, the wise elder might be a tribal elder or a clergy person or a shaman. But in a fast paced, highly mobile culture, the connection to those resources no longer exists so coaches fill the role of guide.

    In my coaching practice, I am most likely to have clients who want to:

    • Lower stress and busyness while increasing productivity;
    • Experience more love, money, fun, and harmony;
    • Discover their strengths and use those strengths in work they love;
    • Navigate transitions in work or personal lives;
    • Find a new job or career;
    • Develop a structured plan and a clear sense of direction to balance leisure, relationship time, and work;
    • Improve on faculty specific goals such as teaching, scholarly productivity, and meaningful service.

    How does coaching work?

    Usually clients schedule complementary introductory sessions with several coaches to see which one might match the client’s needs and pacing. You need to feel comfortable with your coach so trust your instincts.

    When I first meet with clients I ask them what their current situation is about and what their goals are. I zero in on one aspect for a brief sample of what coaching with me would be like. If we decides to work together, we explore a plan with a time and fee structure that will meet the client’s goals. The coaching takes place on the phone.

    In between coaching sessions, clients work on agreed upon assignments relevant to their goals. I am available between sessions for phone and email to provide feedback and encouragement. A coaching relationship can last as long as years or as short as a few months. Some of my clients take a break from coaching and then come back when they are ready to take action on new goals.

    How is coaching different from therapy?

    Therapy usually works on healing emotional difficulties while coaching works on designing and living your ideal life. Coaching can help you with career transitions or with reaching your dreams. If personal issues interfere with your moving toward goals, coaches recommend therapy either at the same time as the coaching or in preparation for entering into coaching.

    How is coaching different from seminars or workshops?

    Educational programs are offered by experts in a content or skill area in which a group wants to improve. The presenter or facilitator brings expertise in the desired content and an expertise in delivering such programs. I usually offered coaching as a follow up to such programs to deepen the learning of the program to an individual's needs.

    How is coaching different from consultation?

    Consultants usually bring some specific expertise to their clients and offer them assessments and solutions to their problems. Coaches are experts in the change process and can coach clients in a wide span of settings. Their work with clients is co-created with the coach holding the client's agenda and accountability while their clients test out solutions to their problems.

    What can coaching offer you?

    Coaching can help you to get more of what you want out of life. To listen in to what some of my clients say about working with me:

    • Susan helped me to focus my teaching, research, and clinical work on a few key elements at a time. I protested that I would not keep up my productivity. I shouldn't have worried. The strategy helped me get more done because it helped me decrease my frantic unproductive multitasking.

      Woman faculty member.
      John's Hopkins University Medical School


    • I went to Susan when I had the fortunate—and difficult—challenge of choosing between two positions, both of which offered unique opportunities. Susan provided exercises that helped me clarify what I thought would be the advantages and disadvantages of each position, helping me to sort through many issues. My goals and my worldview provided the framework for her coaching. She made efficient use of our time and quickly narrowed in on the most essential issues. During negotiations for the positions, she taught me strategies that significantly increased my confidence. I would strongly recommend her to any woman considering a new opportunity or career change.

      A non-profit development director.
Copyright © 2024