With the holidays and gift giving just around the corner, it’s time to ask yourself that age-old question: What kind of gift do you give that person who has everything? No, don’t give them another fruitcake or pair of socks. How about a toolbox? No…not the kind you find at the local hardware store, although those are always handy; I’m thinking of the toolbox that equips someone to handle all the challenges that arise in life. Goal setting, decision making, reflection, and developing workarounds when the unexpected happens are all tools that allow us to navigate anything that comes our way. Where do we get these tools? Sometimes we learn them from parents or from mentors, other times we enlist the aid of someone to coach us and to teach us these skills. Just as a carpenter passes on his knowledge to an apprentice with the understanding that the apprentice will learn to create beautiful works and to carry out repairs, the same is true of a coach. What exactly does a coach do? We listen to a client’s history and what they want to accomplish, then work with the client to create goals and help them refine those goals to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time based. We assist the client in planning ahead, because sometimes life happens and even the best goal needs a back up plan. Some projects that I’ve helped clients with are direct sales businesses, out of state moves, career changes, and finding direction after leaving an abusive relationship. Many coaches tend to coach in one or two specific areas. Some specialize in teaching entrepreneurs how to build successful businesses. Others such as Brandon Duncan, Marci Lock, and Sean Whalen teach clients how to become the best they can be. Cassie Howard focuses on teaching kick-butt women how to be awesome businesswomen. Ginny Priz coaches on living without getting caught up in the drama of life and Sandy Griffin coaches on living a life of excellence. Each coach brings their unique perspective and toolbox to aid and teach their clients for a season. For just about any season you are going through, there is someone with the tools and the desire to help you through. Okay, so why would you hire a coach? Are you feeling stuck, like there should be more to life than just going to work and coming home to watch Netflix? Do you feel there is something you should be doing to make the world a better place but you just don’t know what? A coach will help you brainstorm on what your mission could be, help you research your options, create realistic goals to make it happen, and help you get started. Are you close to graduation and aren’t sure what direction to take after college or high school (or retirement!)? Call a coach to help you figure out what you enjoy, what your strengths and skills are, and to help youcreate the strategy to move into your next stage of life. Are you looking to change careers? A coach can help you strategically search for new employment while maintaining a healthy mindset in your current job. Are you looking to lose weight or get in shape? Guess what? A coach would be able to assist you there, too. How do you find a coach? Doing a Google search will turn up an overwhelming number of candidates. Try searching for a specific niche, such as business or fitness. Look for a coach who does client interviews before asking for a contract or money. It is vital that you trust your coach and that they feel they can have a good professional relationship with you. Some coaches charge per session, and some offer packages for a set number of sessions or a set time frame. Find a situation that you are comfortable with. Sessions may be held in person, which does have some advantages, but an experienced coach can work with you over the phone or video chat and get excellent results for you as well. Don’t let location be a deterrent from working with the right coach for you. Maybe that special person who is so difficult to shop for would enjoy working with a coach to help with their New Year’s goals? It’s always fun to think outside the box and to help someone else be excellent. By: Charlie Wallace

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