"When choosing a personal or executive/business coach, clients should ask questions about experience and expertise."
-- Pat Seaver, Feb. 2003
Life Coaching: A Resource for Positive Changes
The practice of professional life coaching emphasizes
action, growth and utilization of personal strengths.
Many theories and techniques used in coaching to
achieve more functional and satisfying lives are drawn
from psychology, clinical social work, mentoring, and
organizational development. With the focus on the
future, a coach works with a motivated client to
identify and clarify important goals and to create a
strategy or "action plan" to reach these goals. In
partnership with the client, the coach provides a
framework for support, education, and skill-building. A
successful outcome is positive and sustained change in
the client's personal or professional life
and an increased sense of balance and satisfaction.
Coaching and psychotherapy differ in many ways.
Coaching focuses on mental health not on treating
mental illness. The assumption in coaching is that the
client is able to take actions which will move him/her
further in a positive transition process. Much of
coaching takes place on the telephone not in an office
setting. The coach may teach skills in communication or
problem-solving and suggest tasks to gather information
needed for decision-making or behavioral change.
Psychotherapy is a health care service. Its primary
purpose is to identify, diagnose and treat nervous and
mental disorders. The goal is to alleviate symptoms by
understanding the underlying illness or personality
dynamics and to change dysfunctional behaviors.
Like a psychotherapist, a coach should have
professional experience and credentials, and training
to be a coach. Professional ethics, strict adherence to
confidentiality, and a good rapport are also necessary
qualities. When choosing a personal or
executive/business coach, clients should ask questions
about experience and expertise. Confidence in the
coach's knowledge and interpersonal skills is a strong
foundation for a successful outcome.
Editorial published in newspapers in Essex and Union
Counties February, 2003 by Patricia J. Seaver, MSW, DCSW