Expert Answers to Biz Questions
Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.
The Biz Question
I'm looking for a local support/network group whose purpose is to help each member focus on achieving her goals. (This would be a small group, not the large business development type of network groups.) Does anyone know how to find this type of group?
Answer from our Guest Expert Allison Gaea Jucha of Yes!Coaching
I'm glad you distinguished the types of support groups that are becoming popular now. There are increasing numbers of wonderful business networking groups who provide individual support as well as business contacts and networking. These are usually hand-picked, close-knit professional groups, such as Digital Dames, all top executive women in the Silicon Valley.
But it sounds like you want a more intimate and supportive network that can serve you as a whole person. Unless you start your own group or find a local one, the only groups I know of that focus on goal-setting and actualization are coaching groups. Professional coaches are trained to help individuals achieve their personal and career goals the way a sports coach does for an Olympic athlete! And more and more coaches are offering group coaching.
How Coaching Works
Coach and client usually "meet" weekly by telephone. They work on clarification of needs and wants, self-care, relationships, business development -- in whatever direction the client wants to go. But the coach listens to see which may be the most advantageous direction. For instance, a CEO may ask for help developing the company mission, but through questioning, the coach may discover the CEO has no personal mission, ignored personal relationships, no sense of direction, even poor health.
In this case, the coach will suggest the client not only work on the company mission, but also on his personal life. For balance and integrity, the client will be engaged to set goals for a well-rounded and whole lifestyle, which includes a profitable business based on a clear and truthful mission but does not forego self-nurturing and fun. And the coach will be there to help him/her accomplish this.
How Group Coaching Works
Often, a coach has a specialty area, or he/she may seem to attract a certain type of clientele. Managers, work-at-home moms, CEOs, real estate brokers, nurses, etc. may opt to join coaching groups which again meet by phone on a teleconferenced phone bridge. Each group member will pay a monthly coaching fee, place the call to the bridge, and meet with the group members once or twice a month or even once a week. Fees for group coaching tend to be much less than individual coaching. Groups are usually small.
How To Find Group Coaching
There are two referral services online. The International Coaching Federation, a professional organization (www.coachfederation.org) and Coach University, one of two large training organizations (www.coachu.com) have referral pages which allow you to search for a coach based on criteria you choose: geographical area, area of expertise, group coaching offered, etc.
Choosing a Coach or a Group
Only Karen knows what Karen's seeking! Most coaches will offer one or two complimentary sessions to see if there's a fit. Because it's a relationship as well as a business alliance, coaches will not give you the "hard sell." If they do, run! Some will probably let you sit in on a group session. You can just listen or join in.
The main thing is to make sure your coach is listening to you. Coaches are really committed to being there for you, but they'll also be very honest in mirroring back what they hear. Coaches are trained to help you, keep you headed in the direction you choose, but will let you know if they hear warning bells. You should feel that your coach is 100% behind you, cares about you, and really wants you to develop the life you want.
Coach Allison's Bottom Line!
Karen, I think coaching is a great forum for goal-setting because it takes into account the whole person. I've seen coaching groups support each other in ways no other group has because of the inherent respect and integrity the coach models for the group.
Goals become not just the end but also the means to the end because to achieve a goal, one has to stretch and learn something new about him/herself. Coaching encourages that growth, and the group will stand by you while you grow.
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DISCLAIMER: We hope whatever you find on this site is helpful, but be cautioned that it may not apply to your own situation, or be totally current at any given time. Idea Cafe Inc. and all of its current and past experts, sponsors, advertisers, agents, contractors and advisors disclaim all warranties with regard to anything found anywhere on this family of websites, quoted from, or sent from Idea Cafe. and its related sites, publications and companies. We also take no responsibility for comments published by others on these pages.
TRADEMARKS: The following are Registered Trademarks or Servicemarks of DevStart, Inc.: Idea Cafe®, Online Coffee Break®, The Small Business Gathering Place®, Take out Info®, Biz Bar & Grill®, Complaint-O-Meter®, A Fun Approach to Serious Business, CyberSchmooz, and BizCafe.