Coaching Defined

Coach, life coach, executive coach are all loaded words and I find that they mean something different to every person. Here are a few ways I’ve defined coaching or the beautiful process that happens on the journey with my clients:

Coaching as a Vault
The leaders I work with need a safe, confidential, vulnerable container for their very real challenges. Certain decisions cannot be processed effectively with board members or direct reports. Life outside the office does not hit the pause button just because you take on more complexity and responsibility in your career. Navigating the nuanced path of integrity and maintaining your sincere values is a thoughtful, deliberate process and it deserves your time. So, we open the vault, we take a deeper look into the reality of things, into the heart of the person you long to be, even, and especially under pressure.

Inside the vault, you get to show up without all the answers. Inside the vault, you get to let your guard down. Inside the vault, you get to work through your feelings and admit you are having them. Inside the vault, you can loosen your tie or let down your hair and be a human being. Inside the vault, the whole sum of who you are is welcomed and honored. Inside the vault, we don’t ignore problems, we face them. Inside the vault is both order and abstraction, vision and execution, beauty and mystery, complexity and child’s play. Our lives and our work are all of these things.

Coaching as a Compass
It’s hard to navigate if you don’t know which direction you are going. Only you can define true north for yourself but without a working definition, you may be left wondering. Our partnership makes deliberate room for defining your true north including your values, your goals, your family, your career, your legacy. This process of adjusting your compass is life transforming. This isn’t just about the next career move or a tactical goal inside your organization, though working through those may be part of the conversation. This is about playing the long game of life, about meaningful success.

A compass gives you a filter through which to make those hard decisions. Instead of hot-headed impulse, you start working off of intuition. This intuition is more than gut. It’s grounded in a truer reality of who you are and the way you have decided to show up in the world. It’s intentional. It’s based in reality. It’s tested over time.

Coaching as a Time-Out
“If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners.” -Hoosiers, Coach Norman Dale

Sometimes, we need a time-out. As a coach, I don’t get to watch you play the game. You do all the hard work in between our sessions showing up in real life to “play to your potential, to be the best that you can be.” An intentional time-out gives us space to remember, to re-orient ourselves, to resolve, to re-evaluate, to reconstruct, to relive and to get some relief. We take a deep breath, get a drink of water and answer the question, “what’s going on out there that’s important for you to focus on right now? How do you want to show up in the middle of that reality? What do you need that you don’t already have to manifest success?”

Coaching as a Gift
I know coaching is an invaluable gift because of those who are the vault and compass for me. The coaches who have held space for me honored my story, asked me the hard questions, reflected myself and my obstacles and my answers back to me, have been transformative in my life. I believe in this process not just because of how it impacts my clients but because of how it has impacted me.

Making this enormous career move into coaching was a gift I gave myself. I am honored to collaborate with the awe-inspiring men and women who allow me the chance to share vault space with them, to show them their compass and to tangle it out with them during quick time-outs throughout their game of life. When the light comes on, when the tears stream down, when we celebrate the new job, when you say the words, “I finally have peace about this decision,” when we hold the mirror up and you see the strength, brilliance, and beauty of who you really are, well then my work is not working at all. It’s a gift.

You can get started right here.