This article was originally produced for The Effect, Coach Effect’s Newsletter, 3Q04.
Copyright © 2004 Coach Effect. All rights reserved.
Leadership Sherpa is a trademark of Coach Effect.
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Author: Jennifer Mounce
President, Coach Effect
05 September 2007
Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 10, 2007
Leadership Sherpa is a term used to define an executive coach. Many people are surprised to hear that coaching has been around as an established profession since the early-1980’s. Everyone has heard of a football coach or a basketball ball, but how many people know what an executive coach is and does?
Coaches are Sherpas in that they guide, support, acknowledge, and provide the tools their clients need to reach their next peak.
It’s time to get clear on what coaching is all about. Coaching is an extraordinary profession in that the sole purpose is to support someone in achieving what they want. Coaching is a “high touch” service business. Coaches often will ask their clients to do more than they may have done on their own. They help their clients stay focused in order to produce results faster. Clients are provided with the tools, support and structure needed to accomplish more. While most coaches would agree with these statements as a general base for what they do, we will look at some of the distinctions between different forms of coaching. We’ll review executive, business, and corporate coaching; personal and life coaching; and sports coaching. Then, we’ll identify the distinctions between coaching, consulting, and therapy. Last, we’ll provide tips on how to select a coach and conclude by summarizing the benefits of coaching.
Executive, business, and corporate coaching are grouped together based on their commonality in dealing with business and the workplace. Typically, people looking to reach new heights with their career or business will seek out an executive, business or corporate coach.
Personal and life coaching are both focused on supporting individuals who are looking to develop personally. There are many niche areas for personal and life coaches from finances and work/life balance to image and relationships. People typically invest in a personal or life coach because they are ready to take action on a change they want to make.
Sport coaching is a type of coaching that everyone seems to understand. The one big distinction between a sport coach and other coaches is the competitive nature of sports. It creates a win/lose environment. A sport coach is not just pushing for someone to be their best. They are pushing for the person or team to win which means someone loses. In business and personal coaching, the coach is helping their client get to win/win solutions not win/lose solutions.
Often the discussion around “What exactly is a coach?” includes identifying the difference between a coach and a consultant or therapist. The definitions, while oversimplified, should help bring clarity around the distinctions between the three professions. A consultant is typically hired for their expertise in an area. They are brought in to help solve a problem and advise you or the company on what to do. The consultant then leaves you to implement the solution on your own. A coach will do less advising and more questioning to help you find the answer that best works for you. A coach will stay with you and support you as you implement the solution.
A therapist is typically hired when someone has a problem they want to overcome. The focus is in exploring the past. The therapist helps the person identify the root cause of the problem by delving into the person’s past and exploring from a human behavior viewpoint how the problem came into existence. The focus of a coach is future-based. A coach supports you in achieving your goals. There doesn’t have to be a problem to work with a coach, just a goal, desire or dream that you want to make a reality.
So, you may be wondering, “Who uses a coach?” The value of coaching has proven itself when two things are present:
- a person or team has a desire to grow or develop, and
- there is a gap between where they are and where they want to be.
With those two ingredients you have what is needed for a coach to successfully help you reach new heights.
So the next question becomes, “Who’s the right coach for me?” The coach and client relationship is that of a partnership. It is critical for you to be able to be open and honest with your coach in order to truly receive the full value of coaching. Consider interviewing your coach just as you would a new partner in business. Here are some questions to ask yourself before interviewing a coach1:
- What do I want to use a coach for?
- Do I care if my coach is male or female?
- What kind of background would I prefer in my coach?
- What will I expect of my coach?
- What should my coach know about me?
Next, here are some questions you can ask a coach during an interview:
- Describe your coaching style.
- What’s your specialty or niche?
How long have you been coaching?
- Are you a certified coach?
- If so, what certification?
- If not, what are your coaching qualifications?
- What is your coaching format?
- What is your fee structure?
To conclude we’ll summarize the benefits of partnering with a coach which have been interwoven throughout this article. You can get clear about what you want and set the right goals to get there. You can have more money either personally or for your business. A coach can help you focus on making better decisions for you or your business. You can increase your energy so you can do more of what you want. With a coach as your Sherpa you can reach new heights by realizing the successful life you desire!
Questions from Coach U © 2002.
Coach Effectwas created out of a passion for working with senior leaders, high potentials and business owners who are ready to set big goals, climb high and reach extraordinary places. President, Jennifer Mounce, SPHR is a leadership sherpa, and has been partnering with leaders to increase their organizational effectiveness since 1994. She prides herself on a strong work ethic and her ability to provide powerful business solutions. Jennifer's industry background is diverse including high-technology manufacturing, an Internet start-up, and professional services. The companies ranged from a Fortune 500 to a national advertising agency and at one point included being on a team of 9 entrepreneurs that grew a start-up to 60 people within 2 years. Jennifer is uniquely qualified with her years of corporate background and hands-on experience to specialize in working with leaders. Jennifer's corporate experience began in the field of human resources and strengthened into a mix of organizational development, process improvement, coaching, human resources, communication, and training. She can be contacted at 773.580.8360 andwww.coacheffect.com