My favourite phonecalls are the ones from people who have heard about Healthy Chat or have searched for a coach, a counsellor or a psychotherapist in their area and are taking positive action to change their lives. If a company isn’t paying for their coaching, or an organisation isn’t funding their personal development, or a person’s medical insurance isn’t financing their psychotherpay … it can only mean one thing … the person calling me is committed to investing in themselves.
If that’s you I can tell from the outset you’re a motivated, forward thinking, realistic individual who knows that sometimes progress can only be made with some highly-focussed support. That knowledge puts you ahead of 90% of the planet. Much can be learned from parents, teachers, peers, colleagues and books, however sometimes there’s just no faster way of understanding where you want to go and making a clear plan to getting there than working with a coach for a session or two.
I hired my first coach when I was 32 years old. I had interviewed 6 in all (each in the US because in the early millenium there was no such thing as an executive coach in the UK!), and ultimately I picked a wise man in his 60s who was calm, intuitive and positive. He’d had 40 years of corporate life, he’d set up his own businesses and he was now semi-retired and living in a lake-view log cabin with his wife and near their children and grandchildren.
I selected him over the other coaches partly because of his life and career experience (which I could see myself emulating) and mainly because he hadn’t tried to supply me with suggestions or solutions. He just said – ‘if you think something’s possible, it likely is’.
I worked with him for over a year as I grew my first business from a single client to my first hundred clients and beyond. I spent those sessions detailing ‘I want the next part to be like this’ and my coach would ask great questions:
- what does that feel like when you see yourself signing that contract / serving that team / making a difference to that group of professionals
- what are you willing to let go in order to achieve that
- what are you unwilling to sacrifice to get that result
- how can you add more value and go the extra mile
- how can you remain authentic as a single mum, a new business owner, a student and a teacher
I stretched way beyond what I was comfortable doing – marketing my coaching services, asking for recommendations, growing my business every month, meeting with CEOs and HR Directors, presenting from a stage, running diversity programs for 100s of people at a time.
It wasn’t at all easy. I cried often. I challenged my limiting thoughts and stepped into each fear as it presented itself. I live now with the benefits of all that stretching. And I’m still doing it. I’ve had 8 coaches between that year and now. Each one was valuable for the life chapter I was in. Some were extraordinarily powerful … others I moved on from pretty quickly. And so is life’s journey. A process of visions, trials, stretches, lessons and victories.
I’m ready now for a next chapter of change. I’ve selected the coach to partner me with staying clear, motivated and authentic. What about you?