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Business and Executive Coaching Explained

Meet executive coach Dr. Mike Armour, and hear about his approach to coaching business owners and executives.

What is your definition of an executive / business coach?

Let me begin with the definition of coaching that I give students in my EMBA seminars: Coaching is interactive dialogue in which a facilitator (the coach) uses questions, feedback, and encouragement to help a learner gain deeper self-understanding, improve effectiveness, accelerate achievement, and become fully self-directed in pursuit of personal and/or professional goals.

Within this larger coaching framework, executive and business coaching are special niches defined by the unique demands of executive leadership and business development. While business and executive coaching are quite similar, they are best seen as two different disciplines. Executive coaching generally tends to be focused on the responsibilities of either the current position or the one to which the client aspires. Business coaching, on the other hand, often deals with the entire gamut of business processes, in addition to the executive development of the client.

Why did you become an executive / business coach?

First, because my own career in demanding leadership roles helped me understand the leadership pressures and challenges of top-level executives and people charged with bottom line performance of a business. Second, when I help entrepreneurs and high-level executives improve the quality of their performance, it unleashes a multiplier effect that benefits the health and well-being of the entire organization. This, in turn, gives everyone a more rewarding work experience.

What is unique about your coaching practice?

Two things. First is our focus on strategy, as reflected in the name of the company itself, Strategic Leadership Development International. Because we focus on top-level executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners, our clients are typically men and women who must excel at strategic leadership. Many of them made it to where they are today by being superb at tactical decisions or through demonstrated technical expertise. They have crossed a threshold, however, where they must now become thought-leaders at the strategic level, not as tacticians or as subject matter experts. For many people this is not an easy transition, and we help them make it.

Second, my firm functions like a virtual company. I have built an alliance of colleagues nationally and internationally, encompassing a wide variety of coaching and leadership development skills. This allows us to quickly form custom-designed teams for engagements that are so large, so geographically dispersed, or so demanding that they exceed the capabilities of one or two coaches. Because most of these coaches also sub-contract to some of the largest consulting and leadership development firms, they are proven top-line coaches. Thus, with our low overhead as a virtual company, we can offer clients big-firm coaching expertise without the big-firm price tag.

Who is your ideal client?

The ideal client feels the urgency for change, is outcome oriented, is ready to accept full responsibility for effecting the outcomes he or she desires, enjoys learning, and is committed to the coaching process. The surest sign of commitment to the process, I’ve found, is willingness to adjust calendars and schedules so that coaching sessions are a top priority. Otherwise coaching engagements easily lose momentum.

When is it time for a person to start seeing an executive / business coach?

The majority of my clients come from one of three groups. First are people for whom the demands of their role require them to step up their performance markedly. This may be the result of a promotion, changing market conditions, expansion or restructuring of the company, downsizing, new product lines, regulatory changes, crisis within the organization, conflict over strategic direction – the list is pretty extensive.

Second are those who are in critical career transitions. For mid-level executives, this may be when they become a manager of managers for the first time. From that point forward, every move up the

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corporate ladder brings enough new challenges that a coach can be quite helpful. Lateral moves can also be a timely moment for coaching. Companies frequently prepare high-potential managers for greater responsibility by moving them into new functional areas where they can gain valuable knowledge and a deeper understanding of the business. These lateral moves often move the manager outside of his or her technical expertise and can be just as demanding as moves resulting from promotion.

The third group – and one that has grown significantly during the economic downturn – are people who are ready to step out of corporate life and start their own business or professional venture. If they have always worked within a large company environment, they may have little experience with the ancillary issues of building a business. Now they must develop expertise in a whole host of business processes that never concerned them directly before.

About Dr. Mike Armour

Dr. Mike Armour is the founder of Strategic Leadership Development International (www.leaderperfect.com) based in Dallas, Texas. As a leadership consultant and coach, Mike works with executive teams in some of America’s largest companies and speaks before dozens of audiences each year, both nationally and abroad.

A lifelong leader and a retired Navy captain, Mike has been a university dean, a college president, a chief information officer, a board chairman, a Congressional candidate, and CEO of an international humanitarian organization. He is also an award-winning author in the field of leadership and has been published in over a dozen languages.

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About Coaching Coach Interviews Life Coaching

Relationship Coaching For Gay Men and Women

Meet Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach, who has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships.

What is your definition of a relationship coach?

When an individual or a couple desires support, guidance, and accountability toward defining and achieving their relationship goals and dreams, they seek out the services of a relationship coach. Together, they partner as a team to collaborate on how they can reach their potential in their dating lives and relationships through defining a vision, developing goals, overcoming barriers, learning new skills, and building their “muscles” to cultivate and ultimately live their ideal, healthy, powerful, fulfilling life and relationship.

How is relationship coaching different than other types of coaching?

As humans, we have a strong need for attachment and bonding. But the divorce statistics indicate a significant disconnect in the ability for many couples to sustain that intimacy over the long haul. Thank goodness for relationship coaching! This form of coaching helps to promote the success of long-term relationships through needed education and support. This specialized type of coaching targets one of the most important aspects of life that can make us feel fulfilled and passionate—love and relationships—and teaches us how to be successful at it!

Why did you become a relationship coach?

As a therapist, I see people every day struggling with relationship issues and see the need for more focus in this area. That being said, as a gay man “coming out” to myself in the 90’s (oh boy am I dating myself!), I felt completely lost with how to navigate the dating waters of the gay community. While relationship material abounds for heterosexual men and women, very few resources exist for the gay community on how to establish and build healthy intimate relationships with each other. So after getting myself in “tip-top” shape and gaining some additional training (in addition to my master’s degree in social work, I also have licensure as a relationship coach and obtained a doctorate degree in human sexuality), I decided to launch my own relationship coaching practice to help fill the void that is present for gay men by offering education and services to meet the unique needs that our community has pertaining to dating, relationships, and sexuality. And it’s been a raging passion of mine ever since to help teach and support the development of fulfilling intimate partnerships among gay men and women. Love what I do!

What is unique about your coaching practice?

One of the contributions that I’ve made that makes me feel proud is having helped to make a “splash”  by putting love coaching on the map specifically for gay men. Helping to pioneer this new field with other professionals has been very rewarding and it’s still quite new and in its infancy. More and more are beginning to join the ranks of gay love coaching and it’s extremely satisfying to help make a difference in the lives of the community that I’m proud to be a part of. My practice offers individual and couples coaching sessions over the telephone on an international basis, I offer various groups and classes throughout the year on various topics related to gay dating, relationships, and sex, and provide workshops and presentations across the country as well. I also offer a free monthly newsletter on my website that’s chock-full of relationship and sex tips. My mission to get the message out about affirmative gay relationships is the driving force that motivates me forward and I’ve been very fortunate to yield media attention and offer my insights and message through print and online media publications.

Who is your ideal client?

I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right.

I work predominantly with gay men, but I also partner with motivated people of all sexual orientations and genders to help maximize their success in relationships. Whether they are single or coupled, I love working with enthusiastic clients who are empowered to give their love-lives a boost and who want to collaborate on creating an action plan that will help them reach their goals.

When is it time for a person to start seeing a relationship coach?

At birth! LOL! Our society does not train or prepare us for the work and challenges involved in cultivating and maintaining long-term healthy relationships. We go to school and learn all about the various academics that will help us succeed intellectually and in our careers, but there is very little emphasis, if any, on how to date and relate with significant others. This is where a relationship coach can come in handy! Whether you’re struggling with a real-time relationship issue or just want to learn how to be the most fabulous partner you can be for personal growth and enrichment, relationship coaching can benefit anyone at any stage of development to learn how to succeed in this very critical and important part of life.

About Dr. Brian Rzepczynski

Dr. Brian Rzepczynski holds a doctorate degree in Human Sexuality from  the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s  degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University. He’s also a  Certified Personal Life Coach through The Coach Training Alliance and  a licensed Relationship Coach through the Relationship Coaching  Institute. He launched his private coaching practice, The Gay Love  Coach: Man 4 Man Coaching Services in 2003 and works with gay men,  both singles and couples, on developing skills for improving  fulfillment in their dating lives,relationships, and sexuality. He  publishes a free monthly ezine called “The Man 4 Man Plan” that has  helpful articles, tips, resources, and an advice column relating to  gay relationships and dating. He is also the co-author of the 2005  self-help book “A Guide to Getting It: Purpose & Passion” and is  frequently interviewed for articles in “The Chicago Tribune” and  “MSN.com”. To sign up for your free monthly newsletter filled with  tips and strategies for boosting your love-life, go to  http://www.thegaylovecoach.com.

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About Coaching Coach Interviews Relationship Coaching

Relationship Coach – Do I Need One?

If you are wondering whether a relationship coach can really help improve your relationship, you may be interested in reading this great interview with relationship coach Vikki Hoobyar. Enjoy.

What is your definition of a relationship coach?

My definition of a relationship coach is someone who is trained and joyfully works with individuals and couples to assist them in improving their relationships, and getting them what they want.

Any relationship can be in need of improvement; i.e., the relationship with a friend, co-worker, lover or family member. Or the problematic relationship may be the relationship with your self. Often a client will have difficulty sustaining a dating relationship, a couple may be stuck in a rut or the relationship with a teenager may be stressed.

Coaching can vastly improve these situations and people can create better outcomes than they ever dreamed possible!

How is relationship coaching different than other types of coaching?

Relationship coaching is focused on helping a client be the way he or she really wants to be in their relationship(s). It is focused on today not yesterday. Coaching can help people create happier and more durable associations. Relationship coaching is different from other types of coaching because it is focused solely on the relationships between individuals, couples and groups.

Why did you become a relationship coach?

I was in graduate school and getting psychotherapy training when I first heard about coaching from Tom Hoobyar, who I was dating and later married.

Although I continued on the “therapy” track, I also took advanced NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Training and Destination Coach Training.

I found that the coaching skills I learned were far more effective than the therapeutic skills I was learning in college. Many people came to me wanting information, ideas and skills. There was no problem or objection a client could bring up that I couldn’t handle after the NLP Training.

I became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California and found it extremely difficult to build my practice. In this new economy, many clients want to use their insurance benefits and then those companies pay so poorly that it really isn’t worth it.

I didn’t want my client relationships and my work life

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to be treadmill oriented. I had invested a lot in my education and found that I would reap more benefits and help more people using the coaching model.

After moving to Nevada I decided that I wanted to build a coaching practice rather than go through the process of obtaining another license and building another psychotherapy practice, where the clientele expects to be able to use their medical insurance. It has been very fulfilling!

What is unique about your coaching practice?

The thing that is unique about my coaching practice is that it flows out of my therapy practice. As a licensed psychotherapist, I have a lot of experience with different types of relationship problems.

Over the last twelve years, I have worked with many singles on learning how to maintain dating relationships. I have also worked with lots of couples, parents with children and grown siblings. I’ve coached clients regarding employment relationships and I‘ve worked to help people create great relationships with others and themselves. Whatever my client(s) want to work on…we work on.

I have found coaching techniques to be much more useful to high-functioning people than the classic “dig up the past” methods used in therapy. My coaching practice is fun and fulfilling! My clients laugh a lot! I don’t prescribe for them or diagnose them. I don’t believe that there are any “bad” guys.

I believe that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they currently have, to create the experiences they are presently having. It is my job to connect my clients with their internal resources and to teach them appropriate processes to assist them in obtaining their outcomes. I love what I do!

Who is your ideal client?

My ideal client is someone who wants to improve a relationship, be it a friendship, romance, work or family situation. I enjoy working with high-functioning couples and individuals.

The ideal client(s) does not need therapy but wants coaching. Most people just have some behavioral hiccups and/or beliefs that are getting in the way of how they want to be and what they really want in life.

When is it time for a person to start seeing a relationship coach?

The best time to start seeing a relationship coach is when you realize you have a relationship issue (glitch) that you can’t sort out on your own. You’ve got to want to make an improvement in your life. It is always better to come for coaching sooner rather than later.

As a psychotherapist I’ve seen many couples come for counseling after being in conflict for so many years, that when one of them sought help it was often too late to save the relationship. It is much easier to help people as soon as one or two small issues arise.

I have couples that call me whenever they come up against an issue they just can’t resolve on their own and they don’t want to sweep it under the rug. I also see people who just want more satisfaction in their lives and relationships. It’s a privilege to be able to assist people in creating the relationships of their dreams.

About Vikki Hoobyar:

Vikki Hoobyar has worked as a psychotherapist for over twelve years and has a clinical practice in California. She has an M.S. in Marriage and Family Counseling. She is also certified as a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (a powerful brief therapy skill) and is a Destination Coach.

As a psychotherapist Vikki’s focus is on relationships and group therapy. As a coach she helps clients with challenges ranging from communication issues to life plan crises.

Vikki’s

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personal story explains her calling. She is an adult child of an alcoholic parent and has survived the loss of her brother, mother and first husband to alcohol-related deaths. It was after these experiences that she started college at age 40 and completed seven years of schooling, graduating with honors.

She is happily remarried, is the parent and step-parent of three adult children, and has seven grandchildren. In addition to her counseling/coaching practice she is currently at work on two books, which are due in late 2011.

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Wellness Coaching – Is It For Me?

If you are interested in improving your health and wellness, you may be interested in a type of coaching called wellness coaching. Learn more about wellness coaching here with our interview with Barbara B. Appelbaum, expert wellness coach.

What is your definition of a wellness coach?

In my opinion, wellness is the foundation of a successful life. How often do we hear “if you don’t have your health nothing else matters?” Truer words were never spoken. I know from first-hand experience that not living true to oneself can make a person sick. Seeking validation from others can be exhausting and confusing. Striking a mind-body-spirit balance can seem impossible to achieve.

On the surface, your life might seem enviable yet the pain inside is slowly eating away at your individuality. Not knowing what is true or authentic for you and putting on a façade in order to be successful in the eyes of others is draining. Maybe on some level you know how you “should” act but never seem to follow through for one reason or another. You’re not alone. There is a reason why you feel the way you do. You just can’t see it yet and that’s where a wellness coach comes in.

A wellness coach uses tools and techniques to focus on each client’s unique life vision so that they will realize new insights and a greater awareness of self. By acting as their strongest advocate and accountability partner, a wellness coach helps a client unleash their true purpose, see clearly what choices they have and feel empowered, energized and directed toward a more purposeful and successful existence.

What is unique about your coaching practice?

My coaching practice is unique in that I walk the talk each and every day. Having experienced the process of learning to regard ill-health and life’s adversities as a gift and making my own life one of meaning and purpose, I understand the courage needed to take steps toward lasting, positive change. I share my journey to realizing choice, living purposefully and achieving wellness so that others realize I have true empathy for what they are feeling.

When a client works with me as their nonjudgmental advocate championing them to their success, they learn to see challenges as opportunities and realize they hold their own power in choice. They learn to nurture and embrace a balanced life of wellness.

Who is your ideal client?

My ideal client is someone who has been there, done that and still feels dissatisfied with their life. It is someone who is stressed beyond their limits and it is making them sick. It is someone who is facing some form of adversity, whether emotional or physical, and just can’t recognize the opportunity within. It is someone who wants more out of life yet is trapped in living a life of “should” instead of “choose to.”

An ideal client wants to experience life on their terms and be free from stress, fear and anxiety. They want to wake up each day feeling energized and motivated to living the life they envisioned. They want to stop asking, “is this all there is” and truly know what they want and how to

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make it happen. Finally, they want to lead a balanced, purposeful and well life.

When is it time for a person to start seeing a wellness coach?

The answer to this is simple: When they are ready to move forward with their life and make positive, lasting change. Fear holds us back from this and with the assistance of a wellness coach; the client no longer needs to feel alone on this journey. They will have a nonjudgmental accountability partner who only wants the best for them and will help them energetically shift their thoughts, feelings and actions from the catabolic (or negative) to anabolic (or healing) energy.

About Barbara B. Appelbaum

For half of her 24 year career, Barbara B. Appelbaum of Appelbaum Wellness LLC has worked in the healthcare industry. She is a wellness coach, consultant, speaker and author. In 2009 she became a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index™ – Master Practitioner targeting wellness. Wellness involves living a healthy lifestyle with a balanced mind-body-spirit connection. It is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.

Appelbaum Wellness LLC aims to engage, motivate & inspire people to embrace a life of wellness. We provide clients with opportunities to nurture their mind-body-spirit connection and discover their life purpose. Our objective is to help people focus on living in the moment with a positive attitude and view adversity as a gift so as to achieve strength and emotional freedom in addition to high energy, joy and fulfillment.Learn the 25 Insider Secrets Everyone Over 40 Should Know with your FREE special report.

Visit www.appelbaumwellness.com to get it now!