Is your career stuck in slow gear? Are you having trouble parenting a difficult child? Do you need help getting healthy and fit?

There’s a coach for that.

In fact, the term “coaching” has become so overused that Debra and Steve Boggs, founders of D&S Professional Coaching in Fort Wayne, actually hesitated a bit in using it in the name of the new business they started earlier this year.

“I think what we found is ‘coaching’ is the most general term we could use for our work but I don’t think it necessarily defines what we do,” Debra Boggs said.

After they did “a ridiculous amount of research,” she said, the pair decided the term “coaching” also better reflected the personal approach they take and the range of services, including resume preparation, LinkedIn profile writing and job search strategies, that they offer each client.

Warsaw resident Tierney Boggs (no relation to Steve and Debra) said she believes the word “coach” also is more accurate than the term “consultant” in terms of her work as a parent coach.

“Consulting is assuming I have the knowledge for you to become better and I will instruct you on how to implement it,” she said. “Coaching is working together. It’s me asking thought-provoking questions that allow my clients to access their own wisdom. So, they’re answering their own problems. I just provide the right questions.”

Tierney has a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in public relations from Ball State University and is finishing a one-year post-grad certificate program that includes a 100-hour practicum from the Parent Coaching Institute program approved by Seattle Pacific University. She specializes in working with parents to-be and parents of younger children who may be experiencing a specific issue with a child or just want to improve their parenting skills.

Coaching, of course, is best known for its practice in regard to athletic endeavors. Maddie Shine is a certified CrossFit coach at Mad Apple Crossfit in Fort Wayne, and also offers her clients nutrition coaching. She hasn’t yet obtained credentials in that, but would like to.

“I basically know many of the things I need to know. I’m sure it would not only enhance my knowledge but it glorifies it a bit. If anyone says I am certified in this, people will believe or trust you more. It just adds to it,” Shine said.

Shine makes it clear she is not a dietician or a nutritionist. Nutrition coaching is about advising clients on the amount and balance of nutrients they need to take in - in addition to whatever physical training they may be doing - to achieve their weight loss, fitness and athletic goals.

“People can go get certified and it might not mean much,” she reflected. “It all takes experience, I think, and personal life experience, as well as client health experience. Sometimes that’s much more valuable than having a stamp put next to your name.”

Having a history

Coaching as a discipline didn’t really come about until pretty recently, about the mid 1990s, said Fred Eckhart, who has a degree in psychology and worked in human resources for General Electric in addition to obtaining certification from the College of Executive Coaching.

Eckhart said he thinks that certification is important, “and the International Coaching Federation thinks it as well. Anybody can be a coach, and there’s all kinds of coaches … soccer coaches and executive coaches and everything in between, but I think it’s important to get training in coaching regardless of what discipline you’re coaching in. There is definitely a value to that.”

What Debra Boggs brings to the table are her experiences as a hiring manager and as the interim director of career services at the University of Saint Francis. Her husband, Steve, worked in the building trades where he picked up skills in project management.

Their business got its modest start when Debra began offering resume writing services on a website that matches freelancers and those in need of freelance work. She quickly picked up clients from all over the world - mostly those in the middle of their careers looking to make a transition to a better role.

They expanded their work from resume writing to assisting clients with career strategies and helping coordinate their job searches, a combination of services not usually found together.

“Most of the time when we’re hired, it’s because they want guidance, not just writing. We found that our value in our industry is the amount of time we spend one-on-one with our clients,” Debra said.

Steve is the quality control guru and keeps Debra on track by making sure that projects are coordinated and delivered on time to various clients. They are not about helping people find their lifelong goals and purpose, they are getting them to that next step up in their careers.

“Everybody coaches a little differently,” Debra said. “Ours is based more on a product, so we coach through to the point where we can deliver a really high quality product.”

The Boggs run their coaching business out of their home; Steve is a stay-at-home dad and Debra has another job outside the house that she is not yet ready to give up.

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