While I’d heard of coaches, my primary impression was that coaches worked with sports teams and athletes, and that actors had acting coaches and singers had voice coaches. I was aware that coaches were brought in to support executives, or were good resources for people looking to make a career change. I was not in any of those categories before I first started working with a coach.
Until I attended a low-key event nearly a decade ago, where I met a coach and heard my gut tell me to hire him to support me in running my business, I was unaware of the power of coaching — or the range of coaches who are available to support people in many ways.
The decision to hire my coach turned out to be one of the best I’ve made — after the top decisions of marrying my marvelous husband, pouring my heart into raising our boys, and pursuing a career that I loved.
What I did not foresee at the time I hired my coach was that my work with him would go far deeper than supporting me to run my business. He specialized in working with people in creative businesses like my design firm, and that was the key appeal for me at the start. As the owner of a small firm who did not have many advisors, I knew I would benefit from the support of a savvy coach who knew about my industry and its particular challenges.
I realized soon after we began working together that his approach was to both help me with business issues, but more importantly, to focus on me — on how I lead my team and my clients, on showing up authentically, on modifying the pace of my hectic life, and on taking a close look at the ways I was simply habituated to operating. I realized that coaching was less about my business and more about my personal growth. My coach was an amazing listener, and he asked me powerful and challenging questions — questions I’d never asked myself. I thought about those questions carefully before answering, and I learned a huge amount about myself. I learned to recognize and let go of a lot of old ways of operating that had me running ineffective scripts that did not serve me (professionally or personally). And, in time, I connected to a yearning to make big changes in my life — changes that I did not see coming and might never have made without his influence, but that have been fantastic (in the true sense of that overused word).
Connecting to deep desires that had been hidden from my consciousness took time. And it took trust for that to happen — trust in my coach and his guidance, and most notably, trust in myself. I was able to trust my instincts and connect to and trust my intuition. I was able to show up more authentically, in work situations and in my life outside of work, without defaulting to my old habit of trying to present myself the way I thought people “expected” of me, or the way I thought they wanted to hear from me. Confidently and consistently using my true voice was a revelation, and I found that people responded with affirmation and enthusiasm. And, I connected to a well of creativity I had never mined. That was a huge and exciting revelation. Soon I saw myself daring to dream bigger than I’d ever expected.
In time I navigated the sale of my business and started exploring the direction I wanted to pursue for the next phase of my professional life. As I embarked on two years of intensive study centered on creativity and the intersection of creativity and psychology, my coach was there to support and help me. He was typically able to see more possibilities than I allowed myself to see, which gave me courage when I most needed it. He not only encouraged me when I had doubts, he celebrated my successes with me.
While many generalists refer to themselves as “life coaches”, there are many coaches that specialize. These include health coaches, parenting coaches, spiritual coaches, relationship coaches, and more. As I moved through my intensive studies I began to envision the shape of my new career. I wanted to be a coach, and I wanted to root my work in the power of creativity. I had learned and personally experienced the exciting ways that opening and accelerating my creativity had impacted my life. I started to recognize and frame my new reality as “Living Big”, and that’s what I wanted to make a reality for others.
I was convinced that this direction would be a powerful and effective coaching methodology. My coach had been an invaluable model for me, and he guided me to develop my new vision and skills. He supported me as I developed my distinctive coaching practice, centered on a premise that was mine alone.
The power of coaching is enormous. I help my clients much as I was supported and helped by my coach. I have lived this experience, and I now offer this beautiful opportunity to other women. Every day I personally work to Live Big, and inspire and support others to Live Big, as well.
And the best part is celebrating with my clients, as their visions of what it is to Live Big become a reality. They typically go well beyond what they’d thought was possible for them at the start of our work together. They open and thrive in magnificent ways.
For me, seeing that fulfillment, seeing the balance they have created, seeing their growth and all they continue to create in their lives is hugely rewarding. The power of coaching is remarkable. I am honored to do this work.