The Power of Coaching

By Dr. Linda D. Babcock

Linda C. Babcock

I’m involved in a program developed by the Women and Girls Foundation called Catapult (www.wgfswpa.org), which offers negotiation coaching services to women in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I worked with a team of talented women to develop the program and train the coaches.  While we are still in the pilot phase of the program, it is already producing amazing results.  Clients are learning to take charge of their careers and are using negotiation to make positive changes in their lives.  Sometimes this involves seeking a promotion or a change in duties at work and sometimes it involves realizing that a change of job is required.  The clients are negotiating great things for themselves!  But the program has helped the new coaches we trained as much as the clients they are assisting.  The coaches are seeing themselves in a whole new light – empowered to help friends, family members, and colleagues understand the power of negotiation.  They are becoming “negotiation ambassadors.”

I’ve been a fan of coaching for quite a long time.  A number of years ago,  I used a coach, Brenda Smith (www.peoplesmithglobal.com), to help me better prioritize my professional goals.  She helped me to be more strategic about how I spent my time and helped me to develop a business plan for the organization I later launched that teaches girls and women to negotiate (www.heinz.cmu.edu/progress).  I can’t say enough wonderful things about Brenda, the power of the coaching experience, and the substantive changes I was able to make in my life.

In my travels around the country, I’ve also learned about some other amazing coaches.  Joy Chudacoff is the founder of Smart Women Smart Solutions (www.smartwomensolutions.com).  She has a terrific e-zine that you can subscribe to on her website that offers smart ideas to help women professionals.  Another remarkable women is Julie Moore Rapacki, founder of Polish Your Star (www.polishyourstar.com).  I met her at a conference in Minneapolis and was incredibly impressed by her wisdom, energy, and commitment to helping professional women.  In our Catapult program, we had two coach trainers, Virginia Kellogg and Mary Kuentz from Coaching that Works (www.coachingthatworks.com), who taught our budding coaches the skills they needed to be effective coaches.  They were truly gifted trainers and their organization has regular programs that train people to become coaches.  I coach people through their negotiations all the time and I learned an incredible amount from them about how to be a better coach (I need to listen more and talk less!).

So if you feel you need a new direction in your career, you need to move to the next level, or even if you aren’t sure what you need, give coaching a try.   Contact one of these organizations and they can either help directly or they can point you to excellent coaches in your region.

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Linda Babcock is the James M. Walton Professor of Economics and is the former Acting Dean at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. She is the founder and faculty director of the Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society (PROGRESS). Dr. Babcock’s degrees include a BA in Economics from the University of California at Irvine and an MA and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is a member of the Russell Sage Foundation’s Behavioral Economics Roundtable and has served on the economics review panel for the National Science Foundation. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, the Harvard Business School, and the California Institute of Technology.