The panel included Alan Cohen, business coach and author of the new book, Those Difficult Talks for PR Pros, and Debbi Jarvis, vice president of corporate citizenship and social responsibility Pepco and president, IABC/DC Metro. The panel was moderated by Kate Perrin of PRofessional Solutions.
Cohen made a significant point, noting a coach is not a therapist. 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.
The panelists and several audience participants agreed coaching is extremely beneficial for junior employees, but very few employers will invest in coaching for them. Jarvis said that she found it beneficial to pay for coaching on her own, without her employers help.
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.