There are so many coaching programs out there now. Some are franchises like ActionCoach.com, or certification programs like DreamCoach.com, or a variation like LiveOutloud.com, which hires verifiable millionaire coaches after they complete all of Loral Langemeirer’s seminars.
I thought it would be good information to do a comparison between a coaching program and an individual coach.
I asked some of the successful coaches I know that have been in the business for years what they thought:
KATHERINE HALPIN, Executive Coach & Leadership Strategist,
As a coaching firm owner who has used both independent contractors as well as franchisee coaches, I have some definite opinions about large scale coaching engagements.
I have coached at the CEO level since 2001. When I am working with a CEO in a multi-billion dollar organization, I believe the best coached team includes people trained in the same coaching methodology. Without that consistency in method, clients can get mixed messages. The downside of this consistency is that the work cannot be tailored for the one-on-one client.
In entrepreneurial organizations, an individual coach is by the far the best solution. Fully customized coaching on a one-on-one basis is always the most effective and most affordable.
CONNIE KADANSKY, Sales Coach, www.ExceptionalSales.com
If it wasn't for my first coach -- I would be furiously typing appellate court briefs and working for cranky attorneys. Thank goodness for individual coaching. I am a product of excellent individual coaching since 1998.
In 2007 and 2008 I qualified and invested in Strategic Coach, a program for entrepreneurs. The investment was $4,500/year with travel to Chicago every quarter for one day with my "coach" and fellow entrepreneurs. They gave us tools and processes that when implemented made a huge positive difference in strategies and business success.
However, there was no nitty gritty one-on-one with the "coach." Every quarter I had a 30 minute call with a program advisor. At the same time I was involved with Strategic Coach, I also had an individual coach. Strategic Coach was mostly about business and strategy, however, I have to admit they had good exercises addressing the personal side.
With that said, I believe that an individual coach relationship is absolutely necessary to address the complexities of relationships, balance, fears, staying in integrity, and self-limiting beliefs that keep people from implementing strategies. I believe that everyone who has solid goals and aspirations needs a personal coach and cannot afford not to have one.
DIANE M. BOLDEN, Business & Leadership Coach, www.Synchronistics.net
Here is what I would say about the benefits of one on one coaching versus some kind of canned program:
“The beauty of one-on-one coaching is that it is truly custom tailored to the needs of the client. The agenda belongs to the person being coached, rather than the coach. In this way, each person’s emerging challenges can be addressed and the coach can help the client zero in on his or her specific issue and help that person tap their internal wisdom to find the answer within. The key is to help clients identify and create ways of succeeding that are aligned with their natural styles, strengths and passions, versus following a generic approach that may work well for some but not others. Methodologies and cookie cutter approaches run the risk of overlooking the complexity of each person’s individual evolution and specific needs.
Often the challenges and opportunities that people come to coaching to address are rooted in issues that go much deeper than they initially realize. The best coaches help individuals to discern and peel away those layers and engage in practices that are diverse enough to meet the true needs of the client – which may well go beyond the set format of a one size fits all coaching program. When solutions offered address symptoms without getting to the deeper dynamics that are responsible for people’s behavior and its consequences, results can be short lived and individuals may not get the full value of coaching in return for the time, energy and money they are willing to invest in their own development.”
JO ANNE MUSOLF, Executive and Business Coach/Consultant, www.themusolfgroup.com
I liken the issue of deciding whether to invest time and money in a “canned coaching program” vs. using a personal coach to clothes shopping.
There are times when “one size fits all” works just fine. And there are times when a custom-made, hand tailored outfit is the best option.
The “one-size fits all” canned program works well with corporations, departments, and multi-national locations. Their intent is to get everyone on the same page, to have everyone “wearing” the same corporate identity and mission. It teaches a common language that can be used to foster understanding and it keeps employees on track and focused on the corporate goal.
A downside is that the expertise of the person who delivers the program is as important as the contents. The ability to be a skilled facilitator is a talent. Anyone deciding to buy a coaching program would be wise to personally experience the ability of the person delivering the program.
The custom-made, one-on-one approach is best for getting to the heart of the matter. For helping the entrepreneur, the executive or the company not only hone in on what really needs to get done but to learn how to use that new-found knowledge for future challenges. Naturally it focuses on the individual and what makes them “tick” and what gets in the way of achieving their desired success.
Canned programs change the organization, individual coaching changes the person.
As an aside, through out my 12-plus years as an executive and business coach I have found that my clients don’t have the time or desire to “discover” their own personal stumbling blocks. They are paying me for my knowledge, skills and insights. They want me to tell them what I am observing, to ask the hard questions, and to kick them in the butt when needed. My “coaching” has progressed to include a heavy dose of “consulting.” I believe that the combination of both is a necessary skill for any seasoned coach in the market today.
As you can see, there is room for both a coaching program and an individual coach, depending on your business and personal needs.
For more info on Vickie Champion's coaching style click here.