Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Do You Need a Coach?

CoachingToday, more and more people are hiring life and business coaches. Coaches can help you set goals and create a plan for you to work towards achieving them. Similarly to fitness or athletic coach, life and business coaches help you develop your strengths and work around your weaknesses while getting you to a point where you are at your best.

Almost anyone could benefit from having a coach, but people who operate their own businesses from home may reap more rewards than those who work in offices. This reality is partially due to the fact that working from home will generally make you more isolated. If having someone to bounce ideas off or brainstorm with is something that you’re missing, a coach should be something to consider.

Coaches will also hold you accountable for your actions. If you are in direct sales for example, and your goal is to sell $400 worth of product each week, your coach will help you set mini goals to accomplish what you set out to achieve. When you meet with your coach and they ask you what you have done, you need to be honest. There is no convincing yourself that failing to reach a goal is no big deal when someone else is holding you accountable.

To name just a few, coaches can also help you with time management, leadership, and customer service skills. If you tend to procrastinate or struggle with fears of success or failure, a coach can help you work through it. Some other issues that coaches can guide you through are: creating a better balance between work and life, becoming more organized, and improving your communication skills.

Good coaches will also give you truly honest feedback. They will let you know where you are lacking and give you tips on how to improve. It can be hard to hear criticism, but if it makes you a better business person in the long run, it is worth it. And if dealing with criticism is something in-and-of-itself that you struggle with, a good coach will help you with that too!

Many coaches will offer a complimentary session or trial period to help determine if your personalities mesh well or not. Different coaches have different styles, so you may want to talk to several before you choose the right one for your needs. You may also want to ask them about their accreditation and experience. If you are having specific issues with a certain aspect of your business, ask if they have experience in that area.

A coach may choose to work with their clients via email, one-on-one telephone calls, or group calls. If you feel intimidated to speak up in a group session, let your coach know. Many people however enjoy group sessions as it allows them to see what other people are going through.
Coaching rates can vary quite a bit. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50/hour to several hundred per hour for the more accredited names.

It is important to remember that a coach is not a therapist and cannot fix your problems directly. They can guide you along the way to success, but you will need to be fully committed to making a change if you want to see real results.

The Importance of Taking Time for YOU

Woman relaxingYour parents or grandparents may have lived in an age where simple hard work was the best way to achieve success in their careers, but times are changing. It used to be true that if you worked hard, you were guaranteed to succeed, and this kind of work ethic has certainly built the economy that we all enjoy today. Fortunately or unfortunately however, these days are all but over. Running a business 364 days a year for 35+ years straight or sticking with a single company for your whole adult life to work your way up through the ranks are more often than not, ways of the past. Today, when it comes to work ethic, it’s about quality over quantity and that means taking time to make sure that you YOU are at your best.

It is common knowledge now that stress and overworking can lead to physical health problems. In the past, letting stress get the better of you would have been seen as a weakness, but with modern medicine we now know that stress can be a serious contributor to negative health. Taking time to relax, both after work and on your vacation days, will lead you to be more productive when you do work. In fact, the benefits of taking time to relax and recover from a busy work life are becoming so well documented that a law was recently put forward in Japan to make it mandatory to take a certain number of days off. This law does not have to do with employers being required to provide their employees with a certain number of vacation days, but rather with requiring employees to actually use a certain number of those days off that they are given. Time off is important and the benefits are becoming more and more widely known.

While reduced stress levels will benefit you physically and improve your productivity, knowing that you are able to regularly enjoy relaxing vacations will allow you to appreciate the lifestyle that you have overall. Stress could be a complete non-issue for you at your job and your day to day life could be relatively stress-free. But if you don’t have vacations to look forward to and enjoy, your happiness won’t be at the level that it could be and this could affect all aspects of your life. Taking time off to physically rest your body is important but so is associating your life overall with consistent and enjoyable holidays.

With all this being said, it is important to remember that your time off should actually allow you to have time to yourself. Taking holidays are one thing, but with family commitments and children around it is often easy to lose track of your own need to just relax. Make sure you get time away from work and that you use that time to focus on things that you like to do. You will enjoy it now and you will thank yourself for it later.

Life is not all about retirement and you do not need to be waiting around until your 70s to take a break. Working hard and saving is important, but so is enjoying the ride and taking time for you!