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Hello and welcome to my coaching column. I look forward to getting to know the students of Almeda College and University and helping you achieve your education goals.

First of all, congratulations! Congratulations on taking a big step in your life towards obtaining something meaningful to you. Give yourself some credit! You're not just thinking about it any longer -- you're doing it!

In my coaching column, I'll addressing issues that are common to many mid-career adult students. I would love to hear from you. What are the biggest challenges you're facing? What does the decision to go back to school feel like? What are you learning about yourself?

This will be a forum for relating your own experiences as well as for reading about those of other students like you. Knowing that you're not alone can be very comforting when you're struggling to get that paper done!

What is coaching?

Two of the most common questions I hear are, "What is coaching?" and "How is coaching different from therapy?" Letís start with those questions.

Coaching is a relatively new field, (approximately 10 years old), which is focused on helping individuals identify their vision and goals, create a plan, and then put that plan into action. Coaching often takes place over the phone, although many coaches also work in person or even via email.

Coaching takes people to their goals much faster than going it alone. And people who are coached often go much further towards a bigger vision than they would have on their own. Simply put, coaching accelerates personal growth in a big way.

How is coaching different from therapy?

Coaching is very different from therapy. Therapy typically deals with why an individual maintains a certain behavior or perspective, often delving deeply into childhood issues. Individuals who are experiencing discomfort in some area of their life are the usual candidates for therapy.

On the other hand, coaching is more focused on tapping into your potential and putting it into action. Coaching usually starts with helping you get in touch with your vision, -- the big picture of your goal. After learning to appreciate your vision and becoming motivated about it, you and your coach move on to brainstorming about possible ways to achieve that vision. Coaches often encourage their clients to really stretch and entertain even impractical thoughts in order to cultivate creative thinking.

After "mind stretching" has been accomplished, the coach works closely with you to create real-life steps to achieve your vision. Sometimes the "step" can include practicing a new perspective on how to get to the goal. Ultimately, coaching is about taking action to make your vision happen!

Who could benefit from coaching?

Okay, thatís a lot of theoretical talk. Letís look at some practical examples of what coaching can address:

  • You need to find a better balance between working and having a life. Get a coach!

  • You need to figure out what will make you happy and fulfilled in your job or life. Get a coach!

  • You need help presenting yourself to your boss or others -- you're not claiming your personal power. Get a coach!

  • You're stuck in a dead-end job and you dread going to work every day. Get a coach!

  • You know you could be more successful -- but you donít now where to start. Get a coach!

  • You want more money, love, time, joy, and excitement in your life. You want less stress in your life. Get a coach!

  • And finally... You want to make SURE you finish your academic program. Get a coach!!!

Elizabeth McAloon is a coach and president of The McAloon Group -- a coaching and consulting group helping individuals and organizations zoooooom towards their goals. She can be reached at elizabeth@themcaloongroup.com and visited on the web at www.TheMcAloonGroup.com.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2003

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