The Independent Practitioner


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The Independent Practitioner

  1. 1. Bulletin of the Division of Independent Practice Division 42 of the American Psychological Association The Independent Practitioner Fall 1999 Volume 19 Number 4 The Therapist as Personal Coach: joy for my work, feel enriched by my clients Reclaiming Your Soul! and their brilliance and I continue to have my own coach because of the integrity of Patrick Williams Ed.D. “walking the talk.” The recent increase in the popularity of A new profession has evolved that may be personal coaching has seen much media a vehicle for therapists who want to work with attention and a rise in the number of highly motivated clients who are not fragile and professionally trained coaches, making this who want to make BIG changes in their life or one of the fastest growing new professions in their profession or business. I am referring to many years. Along with this trend, many Life Coaching. US News and World Report coach-training programs have developed to (10/96) stated that Life Coaching is the second meet the varied needs of those desiring to be biggest consulting business right behind trained as professional coaches. (It is management consulting. And coaching is only noteworthy that less than 15% of those in its infancy! There are only a few thousand training to be coaches are therapists. trained coaches in the world and the numbers Imagine the edge in skills and experience are far from reaching critical mass...In fact, the that psychologists transitioning to coaching more coaches there are, the more quickly the will bring to the field.) public will find the effectiveness and The International Coach Federation (ICF) convenience and benefits of hiring a personal founded in 1997, stands as the entity which coach. Remember there is a glut of therapists brings together all coaches as one and large numbers are leaving the field every professional body and has recently instituted year and even more would like to leave. This (1998) a process to credential coaches in is a potential bonanza for therapists who want order to insure quality standards for anyone to transition into the popular and growing field hiring a personal or professional coach. The of Life Coaching. ICF is non-profit and the largest association Therapists already have many of the worldwide of personal and professional requisite skills to move into this emerging field. coaches. Psychologists turned coaches report that not Mental Health therapists are the best only is coaching lucrative and professionally positioned professionals to take advantage of satisfying, it is delightful to help clients this societal trend away from pathology and nationally and internationally (via tele- toward more healthy or purposeful living. I coaching) while sitting by the pool or on the believe that ‘life coaching’ is an evolutionary deck, in jeans or shorts. They also like getting step beyond therapy, and therapists who paid a monthly retainer in advance, a form of have made the shift say it has revitalized payment that increases the professionalism of their life and helped them reclaim the spirit the relationship. I have experienced newfound that attracted them to mental health training
  2. 2. in the first place. her, they WANT it. The coaching relationship is as energizing The large portion of the population who to the coach as it is to the client and for have not needed a therapist or chosen not to therapists who still enjoy working with engage in therapy can greatly benefit from challenging psychological disorders, this can choosing to have a relationship with a be a nice balance to one’s professional life. personal life coach. Coaching is also And it is free of managed care issues. No third appropriate for those persons who have party pay is involved in the coaching “completed” any necessary therapy work and relationship and clients pay by monthly are now coachable. Coaching is a special retainer and coaching relationships can last form of consulting that is a co-creative several months to several years. The partnership wherein the main focus is the coaching alliance brings back the therapeutic client’s agenda and his or her desire for alliance that used to be paramount within the creating a fulfilling life, personally and relationship built over time between professionally. psychologist and patient. With the advent of brief therapy and managed care constraints, this rarely occurs anymore. Why did we all get Corporate Coaching Opportunities swallowed up in the medical model anyway? Corporate coaching is also rising in We and our clients have done ourselves a popularity. It has been common for many disservice by requiring “sickness” to be the years for CEOs and top managers to have a reason for seeking assistance in living a more coach or mentor relationship, but now, fulfilling life. corporations are seeking to have coaches There will continue to be persons who available for management teams, and to train NEED the services of a psychologist for their managers to coach their employees treatment of a true diagnosable condition such instead of supervise. Corporate America has as PTSD, depression and other clear spent millions of dollars on various training's psychological disorders. However, most but often the new skills or techniques learned psychologists often see people for “problems are forgotten or unused a few weeks later. in living” or life challenges which present as Adding a personal coach to the equation can general malaise, anxiety, worry, stress and cement learning, retain focus, enhance other symptoms or complaints from one’s life. relationships, ensure sustainable results, That is why coaching has and will continue to dramatically impact the overall culture and be a popular choice for clients...because it has accountability built in. Diane Menendez, avoids unnecessary diagnostic labels and the Ph.D., an executive coach in Cincinnati stigma of seeing a therapist and is a private states, “Often we act as if coaching in the contract for service between the coach and the corporate environment is for ‘fixing’ problems client. and sometimes it is to prevent leaders from Seeking the services of a personal coach is derailing. But the real value of coaching for a fundamental shift in how the general public Leaders are these outcomes: through seeks assistance from a trained helper who coaching, they discover their true gifts as a can listen, understand and assist them in person and a leader; they learn to live from desired changes in their life. Life coaching the inside out; and they discover their also goes beyond improving one’s present life purpose, values, and how to create their lives and moves the client into designing a desired and their leadership so that they are living and compelling future. In addition, it avoids authentically.” the stigma that has often been associated with The winter 97 edition of Public Personnel seeing a therapist. No one really NEEDS a Management, Vol. 26, issue 4, compared coach, but once they find out what it is and training alone vs. coaching AND training and how a coaching relationship can assist him or found that training alone increased
  3. 3. productivity by 22.4% and training AND from the years of schooling, and professional coaching increased productivity by 88%. experiences of seasoned mental health Additionally, with the increasingly popular practitioners. Therapists can be exceptional interest in coping with rapid change, the coaches as long as they learn the importance of workplace relationships and distinction between therapy and coaching the value of and the integration of emotional and develop the business and intelligence (from the work of Daniel entrepreneurial skills necessary to build a Goleman) who better to promote and address successful coaching business. Trained these issues within the corporate culture, therapists are already experts at listening, than an experienced therapist who has encouraging, and facilitating change in become a coach? One a coach, addition to: we do not present ourselves as a therapist as ♦ Empathy that is not well received in the corporate ♦ Intuition environment, but our credentials do help IF ♦ Respect for confidentiality we use them creatively when wearing our ♦ Strong boundaries “coaching hat.” The combination of a ♦ Reframing therapist’s credentials and training as a ♦ Objectivity and being non-judgmental coach is very attractive in today’s corporate ♦ Unconditional positive regard environment. ♦ Acceptance of emotions (they have heard it all) But Where Did the Concept of Coaching ♦ Master of powerful questions and inquiry Originate? ♦ Good problem solvers and “possibility Prior to the evolution of the coach training thinkers” programs referred to above, coaching was a term primarily used in the arts (voice Historically, there have always been coaches, drama coaches), athletics, and the “coaches” of some sort in society. It might corporate world. Many executives hired have been the town priest, the shaman, an outside consultants as coaches or mentors to elder (grandfather, uncle) or some other give them an outside and unbiased view of mentor relationship. But society seems to their business life and get help with their have lost that common connection and those personal life as well. Now coaching is seen relationships are not as easily accessed nor as as both valuable and convenient to the available due to the breakup of families, and general business person (professional, the “geographical migration” of family entrepreneur, middle manager and even the members away from their place of birth. The “average” citizen who just sees the value in a world today is global and rapid paced, and mentor or guide) for assistance in “total life there is a general sense of disconnection in coaching.” Due to the “formal” training many people. There are very few formed available to prospective coaches who come mentor relationships and those that have them from a variety of disciplines and work are fortunate. Life Coaching is a profession experience, the general public can now find a whose time has come! personal coach who is well trained to assist Personal Coaching has really developed them in achieving their big goals and desires from three streams: in their personal or their professional life. 1) the helping professions such as While this training is very professional and psychotherapy and counseling, allows many non-therapists to become 2) consulting and organizational development, professional coaches, they certainly do not and have the many skills, which are transferable 3) Personal Development training such as
  4. 4. EST, Lifespring, Landmark Forum, Anthony themselves to coaching strategies because Robbins, and others whose one-on-one pathology is not the main focus but instead “coaching” was part of the delivery of these they emphasize behavior change through materials. increased awareness and choices for desired future results and solutions to current Although there is a significant distinction “problems in living.” between therapy approaches and coaching, The Personal Development courses many of the early psychological theories are mentioned above (EST, Lifespring, Landmark antecedents to modern day personal coaching. Forum, and Anthony Robbins) all focus on Most notably, the early theories of Alfred Adler taking personal action and responsibility for and Carl Jung. one’s life choices. They often include one- Adler saw himself more as a personal on-one coaching as part of their service or educator, believing that people developed their recommended it to those who desired to unique life approaches which shaped their achieve sustainable results from the goals, values, habits and personal drives. He weekend trainings. believed that happiness arose from a sense of It is important to recognize the major significance and social connectedness, not distinctions between therapy and coaching. merely individual objectives and desires. Adler Therapy deals more predominately with a saw each person as the creator and artist of person’s past and painful events (trauma) his or her life and frequently involved his which brought them to seek therapy clients in goal setting, life planning and (healing). Coaching deals more with a inventing their future, and used techniques person’s present and seeks to guide them to common to strategic therapies such as role- a more desired future. With coaching little playing, acting “as if,” and paradoxical intent. time is spent in the past, except for brief Jung also believed in the power of “visits” and the focus is on developing the connectedness and relationship, as well as a person’s future. A clearer analogy is that of “future orientation” or a teleological belief that driving a car. What you see in the rear view we can create our futures through visioning mirror is therapy. What you see in the front and purposeful living. Jung’s writings really window is coaching. People use a coach to focused on life issues of our later years, such help them look forward and to keep them on as midlife career changes, spirituality, a chosen path, even if they have to make individuation, and life purpose. His approach side trips on occasions. Who better to be often “coached” adults through a “life review” available as a coach than a seasoned to encourage his clients to consciously live therapist who knows how to apply previously their lives via expressing their natural gifts and learned skills from therapy training and has talents and moving toward self-individuation by learned new coaching skills to become a living life “on purpose.” masterful life coach? More recent psychological approaches that My view is that we are on the verge of a are “solution-focused” and are not insight or fundamental shift in how people seek helpers depth psychologies are also precursors of and why they seek them. People today need modern day coaching. Glasser’s Reality connection with a mentor/coach/guide more Therapy and Choice Therapy, Ellis’ Rational than ever before, due to the rapid pace of Emotive Therapy, systemic family therapies, change, difficulty of sustainable relationships, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, desire to live one’s life purpose and many Psychosynthesis, Ericksonian hypnotherapy other reasons. I believe that the profession and many other hybrids of these lend of Life Coaching will be bigger than
  5. 5. psychotherapy in a very few years, and the today’s concerns with children by developing general public will know the distinction programs and services as a coach with that between therapy and coaching and will be population. clear on when to seek a therapist and when to seek a coach. Likewise, many clients might engage in therapy for specific life issues for Why People Seek a Coach Today which psychotherapy is the remedy, but then A person does not need to be “sick” to would continue on their path of advanced seek a Coach. In fact, it is the healthy personal development in a coaching person who wants more out of life and does relationship. Only about 10% of the population not want to settle for mediocrity that sees the seeks the services of a psychotherapist at any benefit of a Coach. The ICF members polled given time. That leaves 90% who might enjoy coaching clients and 98% reported that a relationship with a coach. Now is the time coaching was well worth the investment. All to move into this growing and cutting edge great people in history have had a mentor or profession. You can easily maintain your guide or a strong support system that was a therapy practice while you transition and you critical factor in their rise to “greatness.” can have a dual practice while you transition People might be successful without a Coach, and you can have a dual practice, choosing to but those who want the gold medal and not see ONLY the therapy clients you really want just play the game will seek a Coach to hold to work with and balance your life with them accountable and to get more out of coaching clients who you want to attract. them than they could have alone. The quest In fact, special niches in coaching are for personal and spiritual growth and finding natural extensions of what many of use have one’s purpose is very popular again like it done in our therapy practice, such as was in the 60’s and 70’s, but it is even “relationship coaching,” “parent coaching,’ reaching into the business and corporate coaching for students, family business community. As we approach the new coaching (from a systemic perspective), ADD millennium, personal growth is hot — coaching, and others. Coaching programs are diagnosis is not! already being developed in public schools and there is a training entity called EDUCOACH ————————————- that trains teachers coaching skills as well. Patrick Williams, Ed.D., Master Certified Child psychologists and family therapists can Coach is President of TherapistU., which be particularly creative and impactful on trains therapists to be coaches. He also is