Harnessing the Power of Business Coaching

Even successful executives need help finding their way to achieving more, and a business coach works with them to find the solution(s) for themselves. This was part of the discussion at the April 10 National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA-NCC) panel focused on business coaching and how it can help communicators.

Kate Perrin, CEO, Professional Solutions, LLC, moderated the panel, which included Alan Cohen, business coach and author of the new book, Those Difficult Talks for PR Pros, and Debbi Jarvis, vice president, corporate citizenship and social responsibility Pepco and president, IABC/DC Metro.

A coach is not a consultant or a therapist says Cohen. A coach doesn’t offer advice, but helps the client find answers themselves. He also works with a lot of teams to help them deal with stress and open the lines of communication.

Jarvis found coaching helpful, by giving her a great impartial listener, who asked the right questions.

Coaching helped her gain the confidence to make a career change. She said she only spoke to her coach via telephone, and found it helpful to have the added impartiality of a voice-only correspondence.

Cohen says he is often brought-in to improve the communications of the team. A majority of his PR clients want help dealing with:

  • The incredible volume of work they must do on a daily basis.
  • Not having enough time.
  • Help delegating.
  • Maneuvering around work politics.
  • Thinking more like owners, not renters.

The panelists and several audience participants agreed coaching is extremely beneficial for junior employees, but very few employers will invest in coaching for them. Cohen suggested finding new coaches, who would like to gain experience and utilizing group coaching to help cut costs.

When looking for a business coach, be sure to ask for references and look at their accreditations and certifications. There are different levels of certification for the number of hours they’ve practiced. Most coaches will work with a client for a minimum of three months. Cohen says he looks forward to the end of working with a particular client, because that means there has been success.

What were your favorite take-aways from this professional development session? Do you have a coaching experience you can share?

By Debbie Friez, BurrellesLuce

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