What is a Personal Coach?

A personal coach is someone who helps you do better, perform better, be better.

As a child, we have parents to help guide us. As we age we have teachers, clergy and athletic coaches. Sometimes we hire therapists as well. A personal coach is someone hired by a client to help them with their development. A personal coach is someone who helps you do better, perform better, be better. As a coach, I help clients make choices that are more aligned with their values when they feel they’ve strayed from the path.

Together, we will identify what you want to hope for, strive for and ultimately create. I will ask you penetrating and provocative questions, personal questions so that you can express new ideas. After a powerful introductory session, one client recently said, “It was amazing to hear myself say that out loud. I didn’t even know I was thinking that, but I am. I very much am. It powerful to give words to ideas that are buried inside me.”

As a personal coach, I help you connect the dots, and then take action on the insights you have.

Sometimes, we get out there in the world and feel dissatisfied. We recognize that we would benefit from the support of a skilled partner who can help us frame up what a better life looks like. More satisfaction, more achievement, more of a plan to get there. As a personal coach, I guide you to imagine and execute that plan.

The focus of my coaching practice is career and life coaching. Since your career is such a big part of your life, many people find their way to me with a Google search for career coach. They quickly find that I’m eager to support them with their career, and to do that I like to frame their career in the context of their life. What this means is that we look at the person they want to be, the partner they want to be, the parent they want to be, and the mental and physical health goals they have. How can you find the right career in this context? And, how can that career insure that you’re able to make a meaningful contribution to the world?

A personal coach is a coach who works with an individual, on their personal development and helps that person create a path to greater personal fulfillment.

What’s a Personal Life Coach?

A personal coach is the same as a personal life coach (see above for more).

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What Is a Personal Development Coach?

Again, same thing. There are many different titles for the same function – life coach, personal coach, and personal development coach are all the same thing. And yet, practitioners practice differently. Since coaching in the United States is not yet regulated, anyone can call themselves a coach. That’s why, when hiring a coach it’s important to do your research; research the background, education and experience of your coach to determine if that coach is a good fit for you. Then meet with a couple of coaches for an introductory session and determine who is the best fit.

What Is a High Performance Coach?

High performance coaching  is a specialty within personal coaching / life coaching, although most high performance coaches I know would cringe at the idea of being called a life coach. Let’s break it down:

High performance coaches work with executives and athletes who are driving for their peak performance. They are the best of the best, bringing it to the next level. Think of iconic athletes like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, or executives like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. They are 100% dedicated to optimizing peak performance. High performance coaches study these extraordinary people  to determine how they do what they do, then translate that approach to clients so that they can apply it.

For me, high performance doesn’t involve peaking in one area to the detriment of other areas. My definition of a high performance life includes ranking highly in contentment, joy, mindfulness and happiness. As a practitioner of positive psychology and an avid student  of happiness research, that is the peak performance I help drive my clients toward.

For example, I helped a mom of two leave a job where she was earning millions annually so that she could spend more time with her children. In our capitalist culture, this is somewhat counterintuitive. Peak performance is often seen as earning that multi-million dollar paycheck – but at what cost? When this particular client examined the cognitive dissonance she’s experiencing despite her double comma annual earnings, and reoriented around her values, she realized that the money wasn’t delivering the contentment she was craving.

Money couldn’t buy her freedom or more time with her children. Only her active, values-driven choices could give her the freedom she desired.

That’s the kind of high performance coaching I practice. I help clients optimize their physical and mental health to make a more meaningful contribution to the world, increase their contentment and happiness, and lead lives in synch with their values.

High performance coaching? Not exactly. And yet, precisely.

What Is Your Personal Coaching Background?

I received my personal coaching certificate from New York University in 2005. See below.

Has my maiden name and everything; I became Allison Fishman Task when I married in October 2011. So we’re turning back the clock back with my certification.

I started coaching during my training, so that makes 15 years. At first, I ran my coaching practice part time while I was hosting TV shows for TLC (The Learning Channel, part of Discovery Networks), Lifetime, and Yahoo. My shows included Home Made Simple, Cook Yourself Thin, and Yahoo! Blue Ribbon Hunter.

This of course has nothing to do with coaching, but it sure was fun!

I ran my coaching practice part time while hosting these shows because:

1) I loved coaching

2) As a TV host, I found myself in a contract which prohibited you from working on-camera outside of the show. This is called a lock-up agreement, and as a result, after six weeks working on a show, I was prohibited from appearing on camera for the next 10 ½ months!

Not complaining, just stating a fact. This gave me the space I needed to open up my coaching practice part time. I worked as an on-camera host when I had the opportunity and built my practice the rest of the time.

After I moved to Montclair, NJ, married, changed my name (to a far more appropriate coaching name, as “Coach Task” really has a ring to it!) and started a family, I decided that the feast-or-famine on-camera lifestyle was no longer for me. It was a blast, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and now I was ready to hang up my makeup bag, create a coaching practice and commit to that practice full time. In October 2014, one year after my third child was born, I launched Allison Task Career & Life Coach with a sweet little office in Montclair NJ.

I knew I loved coaching, but I could not have imagined how much more I would enjoy the work when I committed to coaching as my full-time career.

You can read more about my personal coaching background here, or scroll down for more specifics in “Who Is A Personal Coach”.

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Do you have Personal Coach Certification?

Yes I do! New York University bequeathed a personal coaching certificate upon me (see above photo), and believe me when I say I earned it.

I also hold a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) credential with the International Coaching Certification, which is the second-highest level of coaching credential one can earn, with the most prestigious coaching organization in the world. For more on that, read on.

NYU Personal Coach Certificate

Who Is a Personal Coach?  / Who Is a Personal Development Coach?

As mentioned above, the unfortunate truth is anyone who wants to call themselves a coach can. It is a completely unregulated industry. You can call yourself a love coach, a relationship coach, a divorce coach, a personal coach, or a personal development coach without any training or confirmation that you are, actually a coach. At this point, the industry has a bit of a “wild west” vibe to it.

I can also call myself a pickle, or a giraffe, but you’d realize pretty quickly I am not either of those things.

While  the industry is unregulated, I  hold myself to the highest coaching standards available. I don’t have to; I choose to.

In addition to the Personal Coach certificate I received after one year of training at NYU, I am also a member in good standing with the International Coaching Federation. I attend biannual meetings globally, and have taken (a somewhat grueling, definitely rigorous) exams to earn an ICF credential at theProfessional Certified Coach (PCC) level. I found it easier to get into an Ivy League school, and Mensa than pass that challenging series of exams! The PCC is the second-highest level of coaching one can achieve; the only higher level is the MCC (Master Certified Coach). There are fewer than 1000 MCCs around the globe; I intend to sit for the exam in the next two years.

In addition, I have been coaching clients for almost 15 years. I have spent more than 4,000 hours coaching clients, plus another 6,000 hours in learning, training and development over the last 15 years.

So simply put, anyone can be a personal coach. Anyone can be a personal development coach. But not everyone is as committed to excellence in the craft as I am. (But don’t take my word for it, do your research.)

What Does A Personal Coach Do?

You are the expert on you. I am the expert on coaching methodology. I ask the questions to help you create new connections so that you can see the opportunities before you with a new perspective. I call this insight. I am your thought partner, asking you questions and holding space so that you can have fresh thoughts, connecting the dots in a new way.

After we develop insights, we create “next steps” lists. This is where the rubber hits the road; this is where you take action. Insight, action; insight, action. And throughout, I am your accountability partner. This happens in each and every coaching session. Every client leaves every session with insights and actions.

transition coach process

I am your thought partner as you develop the insights that leads to strategy, and your accountability partner as you take the next steps, moving forward with the actions you committed to in our sessions.

Insight, action; insight, action. 

This leads, inevitably, to results.

We work together, gearing up the insight/action flywheel so that you achieve results. That’s what I do as a personal development coach. Read on for a more detailed description of my process. Or, set up an introductory session and experience the process for yourself.

Insight, action, results. That’s what I do; that’s what you hire me for. Full stop.

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Why Hire A Personal Coach?

Clients typically hire me as their personal coach for one of two reasons:

  1. They aren’t happy where they are and want to make a change or
  2. They know where they want to be but haven’t been able to get there on their own. As I like to say, “Great change requires support. If you could have done it yourself, you would have by now.”
Great change requires support. If you could have done it yourself, you would have by now.

Clients hire me as their personal coach when they are ready to invest in themselves, ready to invest in making a change. They hire me when they realize that the other methods just aren’t working and they need some support to get from here to there.

It’s like when you’re lost, you’ve tried to figure out the way, and you finally pull over for directions. Sound familiar? Some people pull over sooner than others.

As a client recently wrote in her Google review:

“I used to think there was nothing I could get from a career coach that I couldn't get from my existing network of mentors. Then I was given a copy of Allison's book. It opened my eyes to things about my professional self I hadn't acknowledged before and to a new way about thinking about my work, my career and myself. So, I signed up for an intro coaching session and hoped I was making a worthy investment of money I really didn't have to spend.

In that first session, I learned a lot about the way I work, how I want to work and who I am. In subsequent sessions, I began to see opportunities for myself I had refused to open my eyes to in the past and the fears, societal and cultural expectations that I was allowing to limit my possibilities.

With Allison's support, I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and into some of the most rewarding professional experiences of my life. I'm still finding my way, but my framework for thinking about my career and professional decision-making has changed. I am more confident in saying no to opportunities that aren't for me (and that I would have fretted over) and have a much better idea of what it is I want out of work and by extension life.”

 

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Times available (ET): Daytime: Monday-Friday: 7AM, 8:15AM, 9:30AM, 10:45AM, noon and 1:15PM. Evening: Monday-Wednesday: 6:30PM and 7:40PM.

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