For many years I have sought a way to explain my work — what I actually do. I’m an executive coach, a leadership development expert, and a writer. When I say that, people often respond, “But what is it that you do?” The popularity of life coaching has helped somewhat, though even that doesn’t always convey why companies hire me to do this type of work.
Here’s what I really do. I help people build relationships – all kinds of relationships. The common denominator that defines my work is the connections we have or seek: with ourselves, with other people, with the natural world, and with the minute-by-minute opportunities afforded us by the grand existence called being a human.
Connection is a primal need, particularly for women. That’s why there’s so much distress in organizations when personal agendas and misplaced hierarchical boundaries trump inclusion and collaboration. It’s why, in one-on-one relationships, we seek to be heard and understood first and foremost. The basis of trust is the feeling that one is safe with the other — and trust is required for engagement of any kind. Perhaps most important is a connection with ourselves; an eyes-wide-open type of awareness that stems from honest self-examination. This leads to two things: a state of being called “settled in self” as well as on-purpose, intentional action.
I explore the idea concept of “connection” in my recent book, “Erik’s Hope: The Leash That Lead Me To Freedom.” Namely, how my relationship with my rescue “wolf dog” Erik (rather unexpectedly) helped me re-evaluate the way I was living and my level of connectedness with the people (and animals) I love most.
How would you “grade” the connections you have with yourself, co-workers, partner, friends and family? Would you say there is room for improvement? I think most of us would.
Andrea Chilcote is an executive coach, leadership development expert and author of Erik’s Hope: The Leash that Led Me to Freedom, a fictional account based on her life’s transformational journey. www.EriksHope.com
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