Executive and Life Coaching

What is coaching?

The terms Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Career Coaching and Personal Coaching all refer to a process of helping normal or high functioning people achieve to their full potential. Coaching may be applied to work related or personal goals and may be used with an individual or with a group of people working as a team.

What is the best professional training to be a coach?

Many people represent themselves as “executive coaches” or “life coaches” without any real training in psychology, but they do a good job of “marketing” themselves. Licensed psychologists are uniquely qualified by their training to develop skills as a coach. The training of a psychologist starts with is the study of normal human personality, motivation, learning, thinking and behavior and the variables that enhance or interfere with these qualities. Based upon this foundation, psychologists may then get training in the field of clinical psychology, which involves the understanding and treatment of psychological problems. The training of a psychologist is contrasted with a psychiatrist’s training, which is in the field of psychopathology, namely the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal human conditions, not in the study of the normal human personality.

Typical coaching goals: what is accomplished in coaching sessions?

 Positive goals for improvement may be professional, career, education or work related. Goals may be to improve work performance or to expand upon or make changes in career or profession. Goals may also be personal, life style or quality of life related.  Coaching is focused upon heightening ability to achieve potential, to promote optimal level of functioning and to enhance the effective application of motivation to achieve specific goals.

What does the coach do?

Coaching is a cooperative and interactive effort. The professional coach evaluates, clarifies, challenges and supports a client in actions to achieve performance goals and to achieve greater satisfaction in work related and/or personal related areas of life.

What are the initial steps taken in coaching?

  • Evaluation: The coach will help you specify answers to these questions:
    • Where are you now?
    • What is your current level of performance?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • What are your areas of skill and competence?
    • How can you identify your values, purpose, principles and priorities?
    • Are you ready for coaching?
  • Setting Direction: The coach will help you clarify your vision, priorities and goals. The coach will help you clearly define the objectives, results or outcomes desired by you.
  • Implementing a Defined Plan of Action: After helping you define the goals and challenges, the coach will help you establish an action plan and timetable, identify likely obstacles and remedies, and support your commitment to follow the timetable to achieve your goals.
  • Following Through: The coach will help you evaluate your progress realistically, give you feedback, and help you modify or enhance your plan of action as needed for greater effectiveness.  

Why use a coach?

If we think about the role of a coach in sports it helps to clarify what a life coach may offer. A world-class athlete already has the talent and skill to compete in the top echelon of his or her sport. Why would such a supremely talented athlete need to have a coach? Because top athletes know a coach can help them identify certain training or performance actions that will help them achieve up to their maximum potential. The coach helps the athlete make full and efficient use of his or her talent and skills. A similar principle is involved in Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Career Coaching or Personal Coaching.

What is the difference between coaching and psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a method of treatment for symptoms of emotional disturbance, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, obsessions or compulsions.  Treatment may be directed at the overt expression of the symptom or it may include exploring personal family and history information in order to determine the cause of the symptom. It involves dealing with mental or emotional suffering, or dysfunction, internal conflicts, and psychodynamics. It is usually conducted in face-to-face meetings in the office of a psychologist, typically for 45 minute weekly sessions. Treatment is directed at a diagnosable mental or emotional disturbance and is often covered as a benefit under a medical insurance plan.

In Coaching we are not addressing symptoms of an emotional disturbance. We are working with healthy, well functioning individuals who want to improve and expand upon their level of functioning rather than upon treatment of an emotional disturbance. It is future oriented, progress oriented and action oriented. The basic assumption in coaching is that an achievement oriented person wants to function at a higher level, to be more effective and to make positive changes in his or her life.

How does coaching work?

Coaching is a way of helping a person expand upon his or her perception of new possibilities and thereby upon an awareness of freedom to make choices. The coach does not tell people what to do, but helps them define the changes they want to make and the goals they want to achieve. It helps them take the step from wishing, yearning and hoping to actually taking practical steps in a realistic, productive way. Coaching focuses upon future possibilities, not past mistakes. It enhances a new learning process and implements effective action through a deliberate process of observation, inquiry, dialog, and discovery. It helps a person recognize and draw upon their strengths and under-utilized psychological resources and to overcome limitations, frustration and disappointment.  

In other words, a coach helps a client recognize options for becoming a more effective person. The coach facilitates experiential learning that results in positive, future-oriented action and helps the client clearly define and strengthen his or her commitment to making positive changes. Coaching is a collaborative, goal directed form of cooperative planning between the coach and a healthy achievement-oriented person.  

How is coaching conducted?

Because the coach is dealing with someone who is psychologically healthy, there are practical options to face-to-face sessions. Coaching is often conducted with clients by means of telephone conferences. Because of the well defined and circumscribed nature of the goals and because of the cooperative interactive nature of the coaching procedure this process can be effective using periodic consultations of about twenty minutes duration. Because we are tapping latent or under-utilized psychological resources in a basically well functioning, healthy person, coaching usually works on a much faster timetable than psychotherapy.  

How can you decide who is the right professional person to provide this kind of help? 

You may get information about me at Marvin S. Beitner, Ph.D.  You may get information about how to evaluate the credentials of any  psychologist at Check Qualifications.