I was thinking the other day about how I got started as an Executive Coach…
I’m an executive coach and provide coaching for business people. I’m interested in working with people who are up to something much bigger than themselves, are looking for a coach and thought partner (not a loving mommy or a babysitter), are committed to operating in an awake and conscious manner and want to make some serious shit happen.
Here’s how I came to do what I do now.
The earliest impulse I had for coaching – although I didn’t know it then – was when I took a psychic development class in my 20’s. I know, I know. It was kinda crazy, but I’d been reading books about all this woo-woo stuff and I was fascinated with it. After taking the class, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a shingle outside my house that said ‘PSYCHIC’?
Fortunately, I didn’t entertain that fantasy for too long. I realized that what I could actually do is read patterns, not minds, and isn’t exactly psychic.
My desire to work with people in that kind of way lay dormant for a few years until a friend gave me a self-development class. I didn’t really want to take it. Thought I didn’t need it. But my friend was pretty insistent so I took the course. In the class, I had some profound insights into myself, and I watched the teacher truly change people’s perspectives – knocked their socks off – actually saw people ‘transform’ as a result of questions or statements the teacher made, and I decided right there I wanted to be someone who could do that.
Even though it took me about a decade, I took all the classes the company offered and I did some volunteer work with them so I could get trained to do what that teacher did. I learned how to coach and coached hundreds of people. I also got trained to teach some of the programs. The training was really tough. I sometimes say the training was brutal, because it was so deep, so personal, so cut-right-to the-heart bloody – like having the monk break a cane over your back repeatedly. I eventually started working with a company that used the same methodology and started coaching and consulting professionally.
I did that for years – I learned a lot. I taught transformational leadership programs; provided consulting for Fortune 100, global, billion dollar projects; trained others; conducted thousands of hours of one on one coaching; and took more training myself (we were never done with our own training – that was constant and it was never easy).
I did that for 18 years. I had a lot of experience and a lot of training. I knew my industry and I was pretty good at it.
When I left the boutique consulting/coaching firm I worked for, I did so because I’d been exposed to a number of other methodologies and I knew that what we were doing was partial and limited. It worked, but in my view, it could have worked so much better and provided even more value and impact for our clients.
Given my perpetual interest in self-development, I’d taken a year hiatus and started taking a coaching program with Integral Coaching Canada. I was a fan of Ken Wilber’s and Integral Theory. Ken had endorsed this particular school, and while I’m not usually a celebrity follower, I followed his recommendation and registered for ICC. I was blown away.
First, I saw that their program was so much more thorough and well designed than any of the best courses I’d led. I had to eat a lot of humble pie. Which, I’m embarrassed to say, was good for me.
I also discovered that the methodology I’d been using, which worked, was really not the most effective methodology available – my eyes were opened to many more perspectives. The other perspectives weren’t the “right” way either, but I realized how arrogant we’d all become about “our work” and the limit that was on how we might serve others.
After my hiatus and my coach training, I went to a new company that still used the old methodology. It may seem odd that I would go back to what I just called ‘not the most effective methodology’, but I thought the people at the new firm would be more open and embracing of other pathways. They were, but I saw that we couldn’t have just one rogue consultant doing things others weren’t doing. It wouldn’t ultimately be helpful to our clients or to each other to have a bunch of solo acts in a collaborative, ‘we’ oriented firm. At the same time, I finished the Master level program of my Coaching Certification with ICC. That took another 18 months.
After that, I couldn’t keep doing what we’d been doing. There was so much more we could offer! But, our firm, for good reasons, simply wasn’t going that direction, so I resigned and started my own firm.
I’ve been on my own now for 5 years. I’ve gotten certified in the Leadership Circle 360, created a Values Profile, continued with my spiritual practice through the Diamond Approach (which informs my work, but isn’t my work); and recently been certified in Complexity Decision Making. All of those ways of thinking, methodologies, perspectives, advise my work. I love learning, I love having my perspective turned inside out (even when I hate it), so I’ll keep on taking classes and investigating what’s new and leading edge. I’ll bring whatever seems useful to my clients. I’ll take the class – you get the benefit.
I love what I do – a combination of executive coaching, program design and leading, and, I’ve recently added a new program which will train others to design and lead their own transformational training. All in service of conscious business leadership.