Career Coaching Catches On:
Objective Eyes Help Achievers Define and Attain Success

As seen in the Kansas City Star
by Margaret Schmitz Rizzo
October 1999

Athletes aren't the only ones with coaches.

Businesspeople are hiring success coaches to help them move ahead in the work world.

"The profession is moving so quickly that some believe soon it won't be 'What is coaching?' but 'Who is your coach?'" said Jennifer White, president of The JWC Group and author of "Work Less, Make More: Stop Working So Hard and Create the Life You Really Want" (John Wiley & Sons).

Norma L. Boyer, a personal and professional coach, said: "We're in a world where people need a lot of support and help to build their confidence. We need people who are out there cheerleading for each other and supporting each other and giving them guidance."

The demand for success coaches has doubled in the last year, according to Sandy Vilas, president of Coach University, Inc. He estimates that the United States has 10,000 coaches.

"Mostly, it's an economic issue," Boyer said. "We have more flexibility in money right now and we are at a point in our culture where it's more than OK to look at your total life."

White, a graduate of Coach U, has been a success coach -- sometimes referred to as an executive, business, or personal coach -- for five years. Along with five coaches on her staff, White helps clients focus on their goals. A client may want to become more efficient, make more money, get a promotion, start a business, find the perfect job, or more satisfaction and joy in life.

"As you would use a personal trainer to get your act together physically, a coach is in the trenches to help you get your act together from a business and a life point of view," White said. "When you have a coach cheering you on or kicking you in the butt, you'll find your results are maximized."

Vilas said: "People are basically tired of waiting a decade of two to get what they want in life. By having a sacred partnership, their coach helps them achieve their fullest potential."

White communicates by phone, fax, and e-mail with busy professional clients. She said 20 percent of her clients doubled their incomes and 70 percent increased their incomes by 30 percent or more.

"You can't do it alone... the second you have a partner to help you identify what's important for you, you can create amazing results," White said. "With help, you can make more of your life. That's really why you want more time and more money anyway."

Professional coaches need to be good listeners and be objective. Experience in the business world helps them better understand their clients and the struggles they face.

"What people seem to need is someone who will help them look at their situation objectively, and I think more than anything else, they need feedback on what they do well," Boyer said. "People need a whole lot of support."

White has her own coach. "All great coaches have coaches of their own," she said. "Just because I can help you identify your blind spots doesn't mean I can find mine."

© Copyright 1999, Kansas City Star