Simply put, people want more out of life. A quality of life, if you will. They are turning to external sources namely coaches, to assist them in achieving their personal goals and outcomes. Coaches have ventured beyond the boardroom when selling their services. Individuals at all levels and walks of life are turning to this new wave of organizational and personal development. Coaching cannot however be construed as a fad or new age trend.

That's exactly what James Olson-Murphy, President and CEO of the Olympia based James Olson-Murphy Companies thought six years ago when a company providing coaching services approached him. "I thought these so called coaches where there to charm me, sell me snake oil, or take my money, and when I really needed them they would be gone like the wind with my hard earned cash." However, James was so impressed with the results he received from his coaching experience he become one himself.

As coaching proliferates, the competencies of an effective coach are increasingly important to define. When choosing a coach, one should choose a coach that you can development excellent rapport with, and one that you know will help you to achieve your goals and outcomes. A better question might be what exactly does a coach do? Coaches become involved with their clients in setting individual goals and objectives. Once theses goals are set a coach help to determine the order of importance of those goals. The number of those turning to personal coaching is an indicator that many people unable to reach goals on their own need guidance and feedback.

James offers this explanation: "Coaches work with clients needing assistance in a variety of ways, from setting goals to providing feedback on reaching organizational, personal and time management outcomes. Coaches essentially offer support when you need it. A kick in the seat of the pants if you will when no one else has the honesty to let you know you're on a path to failure.

We work with our clients to assist them in accomplishing more in their lives and/or how to do things better than they would have done on their own. James further adds that "just like personal trainers help people improve their physiques, having a coach helps you go from ordinary to extraordinary." Coaches act as personal trainers for the mental, spiritual and social/emotional aspects of life. "As a coach, I help to provide clients with the tools, support and structure to accomplish more."

Much like the coach of a sports team, the client and coach work together on a regular basis. Personal coaches often work with their clients over the phone, however a locally based coach will usually meet with clients face to face. They converse between two and four times a month about whatever business and/or personal issues the client needs to discuss.

These discussions range from the mundane (how to improve communications with subordinates) to the cosmic (what do you want to get out of life?). Fees can be charged in various ways and are often invoiced on a monthly basis. Cliental are very open to coaching and usually wish to remain anonymous. Most lists of cliental are highly confidential and usually include corporate executives, business owners, athletes and artists.

The expanding field of coaching should send a loud and clear message to organizations. Employees are demanding more out of life and work, and will go to great lengths to achieve a healthy balance. Coaching, mentoring and developing your staff are key components of excellent management. These components must be emphasized in management and leadership development programs.

Organizations highly benefit from internal training programs that teach coaching skills to managers. Research suggests that employees who are coached create more satisfied customers than non-coached employees and enhance your organizational performance. Internal personal coaching helps retain employees because coached and developed employees are more loyal to their employers.

According to Workforce Magazine, so called "soft skills" are now proving to be more valuable than previously thought. The ability for managers to coach and develop employees and to help them reach their professional goals is a win-win situation for both the organization and the employees. Coaching has been utilized for over twenty years by organizations. Regardless, organizations should pay close attention to the fact that so many people are looking to personal and professional coaching as a way to help them attain their goals.

In today's competitive market, having the edge can make all the difference. It's a reminder that people won't run on autopilot or by remote e-mail. No matter how much the world has changed, people on the job still need mentoring, monitoring, and some meaningful interaction. If workers can't get this in-house they're likely to outsource it. "Your organization may be in for a rude awakening if one day you realize you no longer have your customers, clients, or employees. That is, if you do not create the ability to be a key player in today's global market. And, if you don't realize that coaching is what will separate those who strive for excellence from those who just want to make a profit!"

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