What is Personal and Professional Coaching?
Like sports coaches, life and professional coaches teach and support individuals and teams in their efforts to reach goals. Instead of athletic goals, coaching goals include increased effectiveness, better work-life balance, or achieving financial success.
What kind of people benefit from coaching?
Just about anyone can benefit from coaching. In cultures around the world and in different centuries, people have always sought wise counsel from experts or elders. Sometimes, the wise elder might be a tribal elder or a clergy person or a shaman. But in a fast paced, highly mobile culture, the connection to those resources no longer exists so coaches fill the role of guide. By temperament and training, coaches are insightful and intuitive individuals who can pace their guidance to the needs of the client. They are like therapists or spiritual directors but instead of working with clients on mental health or spirituality they help clients live better lives at home and at work.
In my coaching practice, I am most likely to have clients who want to:
What kind of background do coaches come from?
Many coaches have professional experiences in either business or mental health. They may have additional training specifically in coaching. I am a licensed psychologist who has had one career as a psychology professor, another as a therapist, and now I split my time between those activities along with coaching and speaking. Since I have owned my own business from 1982 and have consulted to colleges, businesses and non-profit organizations, I have experience with leadership and career transitions. In addition, I am currently taking coaching courses through MentorCoach, a coach training school which specializes in training therapists who are coaches. Eventually I will achieve certification in coaching.
How does coaching work?
Usually clients schedule complementary introductory sessions with several coaches to see which one might match the client’s needs and pacing. Trust your instincts. You need to feel comfortable with your coach so trust your instincts.
When I first meet with clients I ask them what their current situation is about and what their goals are. I zero in on one aspect for a brief sample of what coaching with me would be like? If the client decides to work with me, we explore a plan for meeting the client’s goals and a time frame for meeting each month, for example, two or four times per month. Some clients meet with me in person and some on the phone.
A coaching relationship can last as long as you wish. Some of my clients take a break from coaching and then come back when they are ready to take action on new goals. In between coaching sessions clients work on agreed upon assignments relevant to their goals. I am available for phone and email to provide feedback and encouragement.
How is coaching different from therapy?
Therapy usually works on healing emotional difficulties while coaching works on designing and living your ideal life. Coaching can help you with career transitions or with reaching your dreams. If personal issues interfere with your moving toward goals, coaches recommend therapy either at the same time as the coaching or in preparation for entering into coaching.
What can coaching offer you?
Coaching can help you to get more of what you want out of life. To listen in to what some of my clients say about working with me:
Susan helped me to focus my teaching, research, and clinical work on a few key elements at a time. I protested that I would not keep up my productivity. I shouldn't have worried. The strategy helped me get more done because it helped me decrease my frantic unproductive multitasking.
Woman faculty member.
John's Hopkins University Medical School
Working with Susan got me to some benchmarks in my career. I have a writing business, and for three years I earned a part-time income. I decided I needed a change, and I contacted Susan for coaching.
Susan is an excellent listener. I don’t mean that she is quiet with an occasional “uh huh and hmm.” Instead, she hears what is said and what lies under the words. I was impressed with her ability to quickly pick up the important issues in my words. And that is another thing—she picked up the issues from my words, not from her agenda. I think one of her greatest abilities as a coach is in her multi-layered and intuitive listening skills. She quickly helped me define what I needed to do. Again, she didn’t tell me what she thought I needed to do but empowered me to figure it out myself. I never felt lost or like I was flying solo. I had this person with so much knowledge and experience walking right beside me (and she can keep a quick pace).
In two one-hour sessions with Susan, I developed a marketing plan, I formulated some specific goals, and I overcame a few obstacle issues. Within two weeks, the work we did set a ball in motion. Three months later I was earning $5,000 to $7,500 each month and well on my way to surpassing my goals.
Now I need to see Susan to help me deal with my success, so to speak. I am busy—in some ways too busy—beyond my expectations. Last week I let go of several accounts so I could focus on my bigger accounts. This is a far cry from the place I found myself when I first contacted Susan.
Writer, mom, making-it-happen business woman
My work with Susan Robison was extremely helpful in getting me focused on my business. In an extremely efficient, yet understanding way, she used her deep background in the literature of women’s leadership to guide me to a new appreciation of my strengths. I will always remember her reminder that it’s the things that I do easily and with joy that are my strengths. This is a new and inspiring idea for me. Once I gained this clarity about my strengths, it was a small matter for Susan to deftly demonstrate how to use them to grow and manage my Enneagram consulting business. I have more clarity than I have ever had before and have been able to quickly put into practice Susan’s practical suggestions with great results.
2043 E. Joppa Road #364, Baltimore, MD 21234
Remember the message of the Enneagram:
You don't have to be different; you have only to be more completely who you are.
I went to Susan when I had the fortunate—and difficult—challenge of choosing between two positions, both of which offered unique opportunities. Susan provided exercises that helped me clarify what I thought would be the advantages and disadvantages of each position, helping me to sort through many issues. My goals and my worldview provided the framework for her coaching. She made efficient use of our time and quickly narrowed in on the most essential issues. During negotiations for the positions, she taught me strategies that significantly increased my confidence. I would strongly recommend her to any woman considering a new opportunity or career change.
A non-profit development director.
Susan, I interviewed several coaches before I picked you because you were able to match my pace and needs. As we began the coaching, you listened very carefully and responded with just the words or tools that I needed and could use. You provided judgment and clear-headedness when I needed it. When I needed something different, were able to shift gears so smoothly that I didn't notice it. You stayed right with me. You had an enormous wealth of knowledge to tap and could always come back with something useful. You had a great sense of humor and could even be a bit bawdy in an assignment to get more help from my husband while negotiating some things he needed. I appreciated more that you could use humor and creativity about a difficult stuck area of my life more than the exact assignment itself. Through our work, I was able to go deeper into my coaching niche of working with singles who are looking be a sweetheart. You encouraged me to use my own on-line dating experience to “be real” to my clients. That has led to some very satisfying work.