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Personal Improvement Coach

When you're overwrought, tired of work, fed up with the dating game and generally sick of the direction that your life is taking, who can you call? A personal improvement coach.

This profession is hot. People all over the globe are turning to these "coaches" to deal with everything from dating and personal relationship problems to business and career advice.

Personal coaches assist people in their quest for more success and fulfilment, but set themselves apart from the mental health therapy sector. Instead, they help mentally healthy people who see the value of a personal assistant for providing the skills and drive to get what they really want from life.

Several different specialties of coaching have emerged, such as performing artists, executives and entrepreneurs. Susan Corbett is a New York-based business and personal coach who started her own business when she noticed that people were not enjoying their businesses.

"I was a sales manager for a radio station, calling on many mom-and-pop companies. I saw how people were going into business because they had a vision, and because they wanted to have fun. But after a while, the businesses became hard work and the vision was lost."

Corbett studied for four years to get officially certified as a coach. She enrolled in Coach University -- an institution she calls "the finest coach training" in the country.

Coaches generally seek to develop communication skills, boundary setting skills, and assertiveness. According to Corbett, helping every client turns into a fulfilling experience.

"A female manager from a Fortune 1000 company hired me because she was having difficulty balancing her career with her family life," she says.

"She was exhausted, but we prioritized items that were truly important to her and helped her simplify her work and home life. I taught her when to say no, and helped her see that she really did deserve to have a life."

Prior to becoming a coach, Corbett was trained in theater and taught children's theater at a playhouse. She then moved into advertising. "Someone wanting to start their own coaching business should definitely have some business background. Sales experience and an entrepreneurial attitude are also important."

Salaries in the field of coaching vary. After starting her own practice in 1991, Corbett began earning a six-figure salary. But generally speaking, coaches earn anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 per year.

"My consultancy services are designed for busy, responsible and successful people who recognize the value of a professional coach and mentor," says Charles Bentley. "Coaching is different from therapy -- it's about creating results, not treating problems."

For young entrepreneurs looking to get started in the world of coaching, Corbett advises getting a coach yourself. "This person will be your mentor coach, so find someone you want to be like," she says. "In order to be a great coach, you have to have this direct experience."

She also recommends taking some training -- such as the Coach University training course -- which can take from 18 months to two years to complete.

Most coaches have a degree or advanced degree or designation, but there's no correlation between degree and success. Clients want you and what you can do for them. They're not buying degrees -- they're buying expertise.

Coaching, of course, is hardly a new idea. Knute Rockne became a gridiron legend by imploring his Notre Dame players to, "Win one for the Gipper." By the 1980s, high-powered honchos were calling in executive coaches to polish their focus and perk up their play calling.

But you don't have to be a corporate type to hire a coach. People in all walks of life are depending on caring, experienced coaches to guide them, help them with decision making, and steer them towards a better quality of life.


The International Coach Federation
The nonprofit organization for personal and business coaches

Coach University
Worldwide trainer of personal and professional coaches

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