In our daily lives as well as in our businesses, we typically operate from the perspective of doing the best we know how to do in dealing with life's challenges and opportunities. If we knew what it would take to be more effective in our relationships, more productive in our activities or more successful in reaching our goals, we would surely alter our behavior to correspond with these insights. The only access we ordinarily have to impact our lives comes from the areas of "what we know" and "what we don't know." In our efforts to achieve more, we usually resort to increasing what we do know by learning to do things a little better, a little different or we simply do more of a behavior that produced a certain result for us in the past. This behavior can predictably result in small, incremental increases in our ability to impact our business and our world. Likewise, by educating ourselves in the arena of "what we don't know," this knowledge then becomes part of what we now do know. As an example, if you are computer illiterate and you apply yourself to learn how to adeptly operate a computer, you will have successfully taken something that you do not know and converted it into what you now know. More than 95% of our efforts are spent in these two arenas - what we know and what we don't know.

However, our most extraordinary growth comes from outside the arena of what we know or don't know. This composes the vast variety of ideas that we are blind to, not knowing that they even exist. It's in this arena of "what we don't know we don't know" that breakthrough or ah-ha experiences occur.

So how do you gain access to this fertile territory if you don't even know that it exists? The answer lies in recruiting the help of a coach who can support you to explore this rich domain that is outside of your customary way of viewing the world and acting upon its challenges. Your coaches should be individuals who themselves possess the key principles that make them powerful in the particular arena they offer coaching. A coach may be powerful in some arenas but not necessarily in others. The same person who is qualified to coach you in business matters may be totally unqualified to coach you in the area of relationships or spiritual matters. True coaches do not give advice or lend their opinions. They are value based, not ego based. They do not manipulate or exploit to carry out their own agenda. They are totally nonjudgmental. They are not the same as counselors or therapists. They do not try to protect, control or rescue those they are coaching. They instead listen for where one may be experiencing challenges or may be missing some key element that, if put into place, would impact a desired result. Coaches support us in seeing something that we may not be aware of by listening both to what we say and to what we leave out. They have empathy for the person being coached but are not emotionally attached to an outcome. They serve to champion people to have their lives work optimally. They do this by asking questions, exploring possibilities, making requests and, at times, confronting issues that may need to be examined. Skilled coaching is a fine art and a highly valuable service.

For a coaching relationship to be possible, there must exist an open willingness on the part of the person being coached to undergo the process. Of course, total confidentiality must exist to allow for the freedom necessary to explore any and all areas that may need to be explored. The absence of judging and advice creates the opening needed to fully examine any possibility.

Coaching is typically undertaken in any of six major areas of life: business/career, health, wealth, relationships, spirituality/personal development or recreation/passions. A good coach will clarify if his or her coaching client is open to explore any or all of these areas or if the coaching relationship is agreed to be limited to any one or more areas. True coaches are value-based and interact with honor and respect while, at the same time, they are not reluctant to call someone on their "stuff" out of a solid commitment to champion the person's excellence and best interests.

Successful coaches:

It is helpful for any coaching relationship to begin by developing clarity with respect to the client's overall vision. This vision should include every aspect of the person's life and business. From this wide-ranging perspective, it is then possible to develop a plan to accomplish any goals. These goals would themselves comprise a component of the big picture by fulfilling or working toward one aspect of the vision's realization.

A productive coaching relationship can focus on either a life or business project. In the realm of business or network marketing, a coaching relationship is often best undertaken within the context of a project or action plan that is grounded in time. By focusing on producing specific and measurable results, a coach can support a client to best work through any business stops or life challenges en route to the accomplishment of one's goals. A coach can also assist in gaining clarity on all conditions of satisfaction that may be important to a project's fulfillment. Such conditions might include those non-measurable items that would need to take place for a project to be considered a success. These might include developing stronger relationships with family members, spending quality time with children, devoting a minimum amount of time daily to meeting one's own needs, taking a well deserved vacation, etc.

Many people mistakenly assume that they can be successful in business without being successful in other areas of their lives. Our businesses are an important component of our lives, but only one such component. If there is an imbalance in any of the six prominent areas of our lives, any business accomplishment will be somehow incomplete. For this reason, a good coach will support a client to adapt a whole-thinking perspective in which mastery of all areas of life is the ultimate goal. For this reason, personal development is an essential component of any business coaching relationship. As one undertakes the personal improvement process, increased business productivity will surely result.

Just as an Olympic athlete in pursuit of a gold medal would not think of undertaking such an accomplishment without the support of a coach, most people would likewise benefit from a coaching relationship. Coaching can add fun and excitement to every aspect of your life as you take on the challenge of reinventing yourself and your business, always in search of excellence. And of course, one of the major benefits of an ongoing coaching relationship is that you will develop the coaching skills yourself that will be necessary for you to impact the lives of others, who will likewise look to you for coaching. If you are in business and do not yet have a coach who is committed to championing your success, I strongly encourage you to look into how such a relationship might support your goals and move your business and life forward with velocity.

Dr. Joe Rubino is North America's Success Coach. He is an internationally acclaimed trainer, author, personal effectiveness coach and the co-founder of The Center For Personal Reinvention. He has been published in more than 160 leading magazines and publications and is the author of the following best selling books and tapes, available internationally in 14 languages and 32 countries: "Secrets Of Building A Million-Dollar Network-Marketing Organization From A Guy Who's Been There Done That And Shows You How To Do It, Too", "The Power To Succeed - 30 Principles For Maximizing Your Personal Effectiveness, Book I", "The Power To Succeed: More Principles For Powerful Living, Book II " , "The Magic Lantern - A Fable About Leadership, Personal Excellence and Empowerment," "10 Weeks to Network Marketing Success: The Secrets to Launching Your Very Own Million-Dollar Organization In a 10-Week Business-Building and Personal-Development Self-Study Course", "Secret #1 - Self-Motivation Affirmation Tapes" and "Restore Your Magnificence: A Life-Changing Guide to Reclaiming Your Self-Esteem."