Personal Coaches Bring Goals Into
by Marian Green
Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/18/96
week, Betty Mahalik makes a 30-minute phone call
to her "reality checkpoint" - a professional coach
who helps her balance competing interests to keep
her life on track. A successful independent image
consultant, Mahalik said she sought out her coach,
Laura Hess, a year ago after feeling her life was
growing out of control.
was just a general sense of there's got to be more
than this," she said. She was constantly racing
to get from appointment to appointment, always feeling
like she was behind the curve and never caught up,
Mahalik said. "What this has enabled me to do is
enjoy the journey and reach for new heights and
destinations I wanted to pursue," said Mahalik,
who calls herself a "recovering workaholic perfectionist."
Leonard, one of the founders of the coaching movement
and president of a virtual coach training school
called Coach University, has predicted the number
of coaches will double this year. By the year 2000,
coaches will be as common as personal fitness trainers,
he said in a press release.
who now coaches via a personal computer from his
recreational vehicle, is a former accountant and
financial planner who said he fell into coaching
because his financial clients came to him for help
defining their life goals. Hess like other professional
coaches, helps her clients in both the business
and personal arenas of their lives.
is "the profession of the '9Os," Hess said born
out of the frenzied pace of modern life and increased
competitive economic pressures. "People are more
willing to make change. People are facing decisions
they've never faced before," said Hess, whose husband,
Philip Cohen, also is a coach.
and Cohen are both former certified public accountants
who turned to coaching two years ago after attending
a seminar. They both came away feeling this is who
we are. "What we were doing was coaching already,
and that was the part of our business we loved,"
now have about 40 clients between them whom they
counsel over the telephone through weekly half-hour
sessions. Some clients are in Las Vegas, but others
live in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Utah, Texas,
Colorado and Idaho. As coaches, the goal is not
to "be someone's best friend, but to be honest,"
job is to help clients define their goals, establish
an action plan, and then aid them in achieving their
objectives by providing constructive feedback and
structure, Cohen said. "It's helping them see blind
spots. It's illuminating behaviors that are holding
them back," he added. "For many people, they've
got a dream, but they've never written it down or
defined it," Cohen said. "The goal might be "I want
to be successful". A coach can help a client bring
the goal into focus by asking questions such as:
:What does being successful mean to you and how
will you know when you've reached your objective?
who pay $250 a month for the weekly sessions, cut
across all lines, from company executives to professionals
to small-business owners, Hess said. They are generally
successful, she said. "Out clients don't need us,
they want us." While many people are open to coaching,
Cohen said others suffer from "the- Lone Ranger
mentality." "The 'I can do it myself, I don't need
anybody else (mentality),' and yet all of us have
blind spots," he said.
also notes top actors, musicians and sports figures
have coaches who helped them get where they are
today. Mahalik said explaining challenges and problems
to Hess is different than telling a friend. "She
is listening as someone with a different perspective
of the big picture, when you can't see the forest
for the trees," Mahalik said.
with Hess has brought tangible results, Mahalik
said. Her business is growing and yet she says she
has found more time for her husband and 4 year-old
son, without feeling as if she is having to schedule
them in. "I'm enjoying life more. I always was thinking
about work, worrying about it, stressing over it."
Now, Mahalik said, "I have gained a sense of balance
and peace of mind that I just didn't have." Her
office is much more organized, and she has hired
a bookkeeper, she adds. "I've got a much better
handle on my business and personal finances. Before,
the money would come in, money could go out, and
I didn't have any "real clear idea of how much I
was generating on a monthly basis."'
and Cohen ask their new clients to complete a questionnaire
taking stock of their physical environment, well
being, financial situation and relationships. The
questionnaire provides a starting point for clients
to make changes, and lists simple things, such as
making the beds and flossing their teeth, as well
as the major goals, such as reaching career objectives.
"It's cleaning up the clutter," Cohen said, "cleaning
up all the things in their lives that are getting
in their way." "Every one of our clients talks about
making the beds," Hess notes.
financial planner Amy Ayoub first learned about
professional coaches at a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce
event a year ago, something clicked. "I thought,
'That's what I need,'" Ayoub said. "I just felt
like I really needed some time management and organizational
has provided positive feedback and motivation, Ayoub
said. "You need someone who's removed from your
business to see some of the things that can be improved.
She just provided some order to my life, and there
were immediate rewards." Ayoub said working with
a coach has enabled her to place priorities on her
business and community service demands.
discovered I was doing more for other people than
I was willing to do for myself, and that it didn't
have to-be an either-or," said Ayoub, who serves
on the executive board of the National Conference,
and is a member of Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce
and the Nevada Democratic Leadership Coalition.
Ayoub said, she makes sure to take care of business
in the morning in order to ensure time for her community
service activities. As a result, she said, "There
aren't things hanging over my Ayoub said anyone
can benefit from working with a professional coach.
said the coaches' questionnaire helped give her
a jumping-off point. "You have to know where you
are before you can figure out where you are going,"
Ayoub said. "These tools show you maybe you're doing
a lot better than you thought you were - that gives