From the MASSAGE Magazine article titled, “Professional Encouragement:  A Coach Can Help You Clarify Goals,” by Melanie Rubin, in the October 2008 issue. Article summary: Life coaches, business coaches and career coaches all have something to offer, from helping clients make positive changes in their personal lives to growing businesses and stepping onto new job paths.

An Interview with Cherie Sohnen-Moe, by Melanie Rubin

Melanie Rubin: What recommendations do you have for massage therapists about criteria they should look for in an effective business coach?

Cherie Sohnen-Moe: Coaching is about building a relationship with each client and knowing their quirks—their weaknesses—and their strengths. A good coach will work with both—help you get through the hard times with your strengths but also work on ways to move you through those weak areas. A good coach will do this beautifully and gracefully—like a laser, just cutting right through everything.

MR: So it sounds like one of the criteria for a good coach is that they are loving and gentle yet laser in their approach and don’t back off of the hard stuff.

CSM: Yes, for example, as a coach I am a taskmaster. I have clients send me their goal list and break it down into specific steps. And sometimes we have to change the dates but that’s the way it goes—life happens. I think that one of my fortés as a coach is to support people in really being true to themselves. Sometimes we say, “Ok, we’ve got this great idea—and it can bring you money—but this is what it’s going to cost you in terms of time. And now what’s more important to you in your life right now?”

MR: So if I’m hearing you correctly, a good coach helps the client become more clear on their business goals in alignment with their life—and supports them in achieving those goals.

CSM: Yes, and helps them do it better and smarter and earn more money. It’s a beautiful relationship. I’m helping people build their businesses. But if they don’t like me anymore there’s no entanglement for them with having a partner.

MR: So it’s very clean.

CSM: And because of that a person’s relationship with a coach is likely to be one of the healthiest relationships they have. That alone is priceless.

Criteria for Hiring a Coach

A top quality coach for massage therapists is likely to:

  • Have a Web site where you can read about the services they offer.
  • Have been coaching for three years or more.
  • Have an opportunity for you to do an initial session, before making a longer commitment.
  • Have testimonials you can read from satisfied clients.
  • Have former or current clients you can call for a referral if you wish to do so.
  • Have a background working with massage therapists, or be one themself.
  • Be friendly, open and approachable.
  • Be confident and not shy away from being honest or direct with their opinions.
  • Respect you as the highest authority on your own life, needs, and goals, and encourage
    you to find your own answers.
  • Provide suggestions from their experience when you ask or give permission.
  • Support you in having accountability for what you say you want to do.
  • Be excellent at providing structure and asking the right questions at the right time.
  • Have specific training or background that qualifies them to be a coach.

—Melanie Rubin