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What it’s like working with an Executive Coach

I had a coaching call with a client today – a professional in the tech industry – he was asking for coaching regarding his career. He is obviously bright and talented and wanting to be thoughtful with his next career move. I so respect these clients who come asking to create a partnership in their journey. And I have even more respect for someone so talented who wants to be intentional with his energy and direction.

When I have these conversations with clients, I acknowledge their bravery to go on a personal journey, and to find their passion and purpose, but I also emphasize that what we will explore are tools that you can use again and again in life – and apply to many aspects and directions in your life.

Set intention, pay attention, create action, and hold yourself accountable – this will bring about the changes you are looking to create.

The truth is we are in perpetual growth and being fully satisfied and complete is never the goal – or for that matter, obtainable. Coaching is not a four-week course where you read a textbook, take an exam and receive a certificate. It is deeply personal and powerful. You are taking time to pause, look inside, ask questions, and plot a course of action – all while being given complete permission to think outside the box, wonder, explore, zig and zag through the whole process. There is no right way, correct answer, or finish line.

Sometimes people come to me with hopes that I will have all the answers, tell them what to do and they are “fixed”. I find that humorous because if that was a real job, I would be my first client. The reality, our coaching relationship is like being on a road trip with a caring colleague who is sitting in the passenger seat, and you get to decide where we are going, what car we are driving, the route we are taking, when we stop and how much time it’s going to take. I am there to help you stay focused on the destination, acknowledge the progress we are making, offer different perspectives and help you avoid any obstacles along the way. All the time, you are the driver and in charge of the trip.

The truth is that it takes work to make change happen – your work. It is also never a straight road – where you end up may not be where you thought you were going. It takes effort and courage to make change. Get ready to be comfortable stepping outside your comfort zone – on your terms. I don’t get to decide what success is – you do.

A great question I like to ask every new client is “On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you want to make this change?” – another way to ask it “What will your life look like in one year if you don’t make this change? How will you feel?” The client needs to identify with the “why” – why are you asking for coaching? What happens if you do nothing? Something brought you to this point and now you need to ask yourself how committed are you to do something different?

It is a shared human experience  to want to make big changes and not all of us take the time to pause and be intentional with our lives, the choices we make and direction we want to grow. So, congratulations for taking this big step. I am excited for you.