The Importance of Coaching

By Eileen Nonemaker

A coach is a person who engages in an interaction intended to enhance performance or facilitate change in another. A coach helps others to discover and do what works, that is, do the right things in the right way for the right reasons to achieve the right results. An individual voluntarily hires a coach to enter into an interaction to improve performance or generate change.

These days the term “coach” is very popular—life coach, business coach, executive coach—and the methodologies are varied and numerous. We also have corporate coaching and individual coaching.

Let’s explore the characteristics and value of each.

The corporate coach works with groups of individuals, usually on a team or within a department. The coaching process includes group sessions, which engage the participants in a development process appropriate to the goals and needs of the group. This coach would be either a business or executive coach, based upon the career level of the participants within the organization. In addition to attending group sessions, each individual works with the coach one-on-one to develop and implement personal and/or professional success strategies that align with the corporate strategy. Often the individual will choose to continue working with the coach after the corporate process is complete. There is great value in the corporate coaching process, which includes team building along with the exploration of individual strengths and areas of improvement for each team member.

The individual coach, whether life, business or executive, works one-on-one with a participant to help facilitate the change needed to improve results. As we define these three terms, it is clear that business and executive coaches will be helping to facilitate a work/life balance, whereas a life coach may be focusing only on personal issues and goals that are outside the professional life. As a certified business coach, I find it difficult to separate “life” and “business” and have learned that many folks have clear, well-defined professional goals, with no personal goals at all. It is clear that there is a direct relationship between balance and success in all aspects of our lives.

A coach helps you to focus on results and is goal directed. Within the coaching environment, one can feel comfortable in a relationship of trust and can explore possibilities that one may not have previously considered. A coach listens and responds, questioning the participant and empowering him or her to discover the answers. The goal of a coach is to help the participant solve challenges and accomplish goals that will improve results and create a better, more balanced life, both personally and professionally.

When choosing a coach, one should interview him or her and consider the following:

  • Personal style — Will you be comfortable sharing information?
  • Gender — Are you comfortable sharing information with a member of the opposite sex?
  • References — Are there present or past clients you can speak to?
  • In-person or telephone sessions — Which works better for you?
  • Time zones — Will your sessions be after hours or during the workday? How convenient will scheduling be?
  • Fee structure — Will the costs fit into your budget, based upon a long-term relationship?
  • Basic intuition — Will this person be able to take you where you want to go?

Coaching is important. We can all use support from a coach who can help us rise faster, achieve a greater level of development and implement our personal and professional success strategies.

Advantages of using a coach include:

  • Independence
  • Impartiality
  • Objectivity
  • Wide knowledge and experience
  • Different viewpoint
  • Experience of weighing opportunities, risks and rewards

One question to ask is—If I could do this myself, why haven’t I done so already? Similar to the “Got Milk?” campaign, maybe the answer becomes “Get a Coach!”

© 2010, Eileen Nonemaker

Eileen Nonemaker

Certified Business Coach

Paradigm Associates LLC



Eileen Nonemaker is a Certified Business Coach and Regional Director for Paradigm Associates LLC, an executive leadership development firm providing insight, foresight and proven processes to professionals in the middle market. She coaches individuals and organizations to achieve success by integrating her background in education and teaching with her professional business and sales experience to meet the needs of her clients. Eileen is an effective speaker and frequent contributor to newsletters and magazines.

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