Personal Coaches Help Guide Professionals In Career Decisions

By Lorelei Stevens
Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Helen Kosinski, a professional coach, says a lot of small business owners have no one to bounce ideas off of and that is where her services come in. As the principal of “Better Than Ever Coaching”, she says she works with clients to identify problems that need fixing and then helps them make changes.


Standing at a Nickerson State Park trailhead on a recent Saturday morning, Helen Kosinski gave a group of four working women what these days may be the ultimate gift.

“Take your time,” she said, directing them to stagger their starts down the path to give each other space. “We’re not in any hurry.”

As the principal of Better Than Ever Coaching, Brewster resident Kosinski knows how difficult it is for professionals to catch their breath and let go of the demands of the moment.

Through half-day retreats such as this one, called “Cool, Calm and Collected,” roundtable discussions, workshops, online courses and one-on-one coaching sessions, she guides small business owners and others with the goal of achieving her motto: “More time. More focus. More success.”

There are distinct differences between consultants, therapists and small business coaches, said Kosinski, who is professionally certified through the International Coach Federation.

Basically, she said, a consultant comes in and tells you how to solve a problem, while a therapist often takes you into your past to “fix” something within you.

“A coach meets you right where you are and forms a partnership,” Kosinski said. “We work together to find out where you want to move forward, identify problems you want to fix and then discuss how to make a change.”

To explain how this works, Kosinski described what she called a “theme” she has observed among a half-dozen small business-owner clients in the service industries here on the Cape.

They’ve been in business for a number of years, they started off working alone and now have employees, they’re growing …
“And they’re running as fast as they can,” she said. “It’s all good news but they’re not able to see it or enjoy it. And, if they want to continue to grow, they can’t because they can’t add one more thing to their plates.”

Through coaching sessions, typically half-hour phone calls every other week, Kosinski acts as a sounding board, a cheerleader and an “accountability partner,” working with her clients to come up with task lists that they know they’ll have to report back on next time they talk.

For example, when clients are so busy doing everything themselves that they can’t figure out how to share the load, she encourages them to write down exactly what they do. This simple act can be the start of creating “repeatable processes” that others can follow.

“Small business owners don’t realize all that they do, what they do, how they do it and what they might want to change,” Kosinski said. “By getting it out of their heads and onto paper, it can be delegated.”

Clients also can talk to her about things they might not want to discuss with employees, especially matters that might affect them such as restructuring, downsizing or even retiring.

“A lot of small business owners have no one to bounce ideas off of,” she said. “Even with a good team of people, there can be those who may not like change.”

Bob Babineau, president and owner of HomeWatch Companies Inc. in Brewster, has been working with Kosinski since February. His company employs about 25 people and offers a suite of property management services from house checks and landscaping to construction and cleaning services.

Checking in with Kosinski helps him keep things in perspective.

“She’s my go-to person,” he said. “Anything you want to talk about, she’s there. And she has a way of asking questions that make you stop and think.”

Their discussion topics have ranged from how to stay focused on tasks to how to amicably mediate a dispute with a client. Kosinski also provides feedback on Babineau’s website and marketing campaigns.

Kosinski is one of several people on the Cape offering business coaching services. But because coaching sessions are often conducted over the phone or via Skype webcams, physical proximity is not always important. In addition to local clients, Kosinski said she coaches entrepreneurs and executives in Virginia, California, Texas and New York.

But being there and being together is what her early summer and fall women’s walking retreats are all about.

After a leisurely trek along that first leg of Nickerson’s Little Cliff Pond trail, the four participants sat under the trees near the water and talked about what it meant to spend that brief, quiet, alone-time in nature, how to find time for “self care” and how life could be better if they did.

Barbara Curry of Middleboro, owner of the Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape and Rhode Island Business Network International franchise, said the walk got her thinking about letting go of perfection.

“We have so much on our plates and it causes a lot of grief and a lot of wasted energy,” she said. “Just think what you could do if you put that energy into something creative.”

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