Jack Balousedk, former president and CEO of True North Communications, said, “Learn, earn, return — these are the three phases of life. The first third should be dedicated to education, the second third to building a career (or business), and the last third to giving back to others — returning something in gratitude. Each stage seems to be a preparation for the next one.”

The third stage is one that our team is becoming more and more interested in as we work on our “going-forward plans.”

Coaching team members is like being a pep squad, rooting for the home team and offering good advice, hints, and tips that will help the mentees move ahead in their positions. Coaching helps produce the kind of results businesses need in the midst of change, challenges, and competition. It helps workers get involved in developing new ideas and finding solutions, and it activates synergy.

Today, many businesses big and small are working with life or business coaches for help with everything from better communication among team members to assisting top management with defining their business’ core values, culture, and vision. Business coaches don’t sugar coat the things that need work. Rather, they help challenge managers to try new thoughts and perspectives on improvement and problem solving.

In chatting with other business friends, I’ve learned that many are working with some kind of “helper” to expanding their business acumen and open doors to new ways of thinking, including ways to balance work/life situations.

Coaching can even be as simple as sitting in a business presentation and hearing the speaker propose a great idea that gives you an “aha” moment. I’ve had a couple of these kinds of epiphanies when attending In Business’ Icons in Business presentations. Recently, Christine Specht, president and CEO of Cousins Subs, shared information about a great book by Gino Wickman, Traction. I was so interested that I bought the book and a couple of others that he wrote about the entrepreneurial operating system (EOS). Thanks for the great idea, Christine! I’d definitely call this “coaching by the book.”

Olympians working toward their goal — a gold medal — are coached for hours, every day, for years. Performing artists and their coaches spend time rehearsing a role for the ultimate performance, hoping their efforts will lead to an Oscar, Emmy, or Tony award. Why should it be any different for people working in business or organizations?

Today, employees in a rapidly changing business world are looking for a coach who understands their business and career goals and aspirations, and who can help them develop and hone their talents and skills. The growing demand for coaching shows that more companies are using this organizational tool for more than a quick fix for “broken” people.

Every one of us is a coach. We coach at work, at home, at a volunteer job, and maybe even on the playing field. It’s good to keep an eye out for a coachable moment — being ready with the right answer, at the right time, for the right person. To get into shape for coaching, you can study with a master coach, take a personal transformation course, become a people watcher, go to spring training, attend a band or orchestra rehearsal, or take up something entirely new — away from work.

Here’s to all the coaches that provide encouragement, foster commitment and energy, and get us excited and inspired!