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RISMEDIA, July 23, 2009-Can a runner run without shoes? Sure, it can be done, but it’s not as smooth. It’s rocky, and it takes a lot longer to get there. The same holds true for a coach who does not use journaling as a key component in his or her coaching practice.

What do I mean by that? I mean that any good coach will ask his or her clients to write in a journal every day as part of the coaching process. An even better coach will provide guidance as to what to focus on in the journal, and will arrange to have access to the journal for the duration of the coaching period.

Why is this so important? For the same reason that doctors use X-rays to help them treat broken bones. The X-ray allows them to pinpoint the problem and monitor the progress as the bone begins to heal. Without an X-ray, the doctor is using guess work.

How does journaling assist a coach in the same manner that an X-ray helps a doctor? Here is what a journal provides for a coach.

A journal allows the coach to see a client’s thinking patterns over time. They are easier to see when they are in writing and they enable a coach to go back to historical journal entries for reference.

Beliefs and their limitations become more readily apparent to clients when they can see it as evidence. Once the coach identifies the limiting beliefs, the journals supply the proof of those beliefs to the clients.

Coaches are able to probe, guide, and encourage their clients through the journal exchange. This means that clients are working on their personal growth consistently over time, rather than periodically as coaching calls occur.

Such frequent interaction between a coach and a client means that trust is established quickly and that clients are willing to be more candid earlier on in the process. At this pace, clients experience results at a dramatically higher speed.
Many coaches profess that the magic happens in between coaching calls. The problem with such a statement is that coaches are never there in between coaching calls. The daily journaling exchange allows coaches to participate in between coaching calls and to be part of the magic.

When coaching calls happen only once per week or only three times per month, there is often a loss of the momentum that has been established on calls. Journaling daily allows the momentum to be carried through and to grow until the next call.

An online journal allows a coach to ‘keep up’ with the progress of a client daily. Coaches are equipped with relevant, timely and vital information that helps them to guide the coaching process in a manner that is uniquely suitable to the client.

These seven points only just scratch the surface of the importance of journaling in a coach’s toolbox. The truth is that without a journal, a coach functions with only a small percentage of insight, compared to that which can be extracted with a journal. Why coach blindly?

Kim Ades, MBA is president of Frame of Mind Coaching.

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