Why a Strong Independent Woman Hired a Career Coach

© kali9 | istockphoto.com
© kali9 | istockphoto.com

A Discussion with the Coach

In Part One, I chronicled my journey from self-sufficient, bullheaded lawyer to eager student in the quest to find happiness (you can read Part 1 at: https://www.projecteve.com/why-a-strong-independent-woman-hired-a-career-coach-and-how-it-made-all-the-difference/). To provide an accurate account of the coaching process, I asked my coach, Kirsten Cole, to sit down with me and discuss the coaching process. Here’s how it went:

Getting Started
Coach: So, Laura how did you know you found the “right” coach for you? What were you looking for in a coach?
Me: I knew that I didn’t want to just find another job, that I wanted to find a calling that truly fit me, so I knew that I needed a coach with whom I could let down my guard and be vulnerable and also one that would tell me the truth and call me out on my excuses.

I knew that I was going to get more than just a friend out of you when we had our first call and we were discussing why I was looking for a coach at this time and you called me out on one of my reasons being a recent break-up. That’s when I knew (1) that I felt comfortable enough to share personal information with you and (2) that you wouldn’t let me get away with doing something just because it was easy.

The Coaching Process
Coach: Describe the process and journey of how you discovered your ideal business/work. How did the process feel to you as we dug deeper and revealed new things about yourself and you desires?
Me: During the first few weeks, I remember creating lots of lists. Lists of tasks that made me feel strong, tasks that made me feel weak, activities I loved, activities I loathed, etc. I felt obsessed with constantly analyzing my feelings, but through that fixation I was able to identify the elements of what I wanted in my life.

As we “dug deeper” into my thoughts and desires I grew more and more excited that maybe we would find a way to put all these disjointed things together. There was also a part of me that was convinced that we would never find a good fit. I worried that by getting so specific about what I wanted and needed that it would be harder to find. However, the specificity actually made it easier to create something.

Me: At some point I knew I wanted to do something related to outdoor adventures but I didn’t know what shape that interest should take, how did you enable my brainstorming?
Coach: As with the majority of the process of discovering your ideal work or business, it’s about exploring ideas, trying things out, dissolving what’s getting in your way, tweaking things along the way, and then finally getting clear about what you really want to do.

By helping you discover your innate personality, core values, passions and unique strengths, and using those to brainstorm ideas about what you might want to do, we used the foundation of who you are, what matters most to you, and what you truly enjoy doing to narrow down our brainstorming ideas to more concrete ideas.

As you probably experienced, it isn’t always a “clean, cut and dry” process and can feel messy at times, but if you work through the “messiness” it can be very effective in the end.

Coach: What were some of your biggest revelations as you worked through the coaching process?
Me: I had always thought about careers in terms of what impact I wanted to have on the world, not in terms of whether something made me feel more alive or more free. Realizing that I could do something that I thought was important AND something that I enjoyed the process of doing was a huge revelation.

Me: How did you know when to “end” the coaching process?
Coach: There are distinct phases of the process I take my clients through and you were at a point where you needed to do a bit of market research and test out your ideas so you could see if your business ideas were in fact viable. Much of that part of the process can be done on your own using the tools you learned through coaching with me.

Sometimes clients want me to work with them through this process, but I like to have them try it out on their own and come back to me if they find themselves stuck in one place.

Coach: What has been the biggest surprise since starting your business?
Me: I recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a real-world “Choose Your Own Adventure” mobile app (http://igg.me/at/choose-your-own-adventure/x/3580262). I absolutely never envisioned calling on all of my friends and family to help me out- with anything! Relying on others, asking for help, and feeling supported is a whole new thing to me!

Should You Hire a Coach
Me: For someone who isn’t sure that they would benefit from a coach, are there any telltale signs that they might?
Coach: If you feel as though you are ready for a change, or change has unexpectedly “come to you” (maybe in the form of a job loss or new opportunity) and you feel stuck, overwhelmed, or lost in what to do next, coaching can help you figure out what you really want, overcome what might be holding you back or getting in your way, help you create a concrete plan, and encourage you to start taking action toward what you really want in your life.

Me: Do you find that most people make a pretty radical change? Or just shift around in the same field?
Coach: In general, I work with people who want to start their own business and do work they love, but have no idea what they want to do or where to begin. I help them identify what they want and how to make it happen, even if that means working at their business in their spare time, while working at a job that pays the bills until their business is profitable.

Sometimes as I work through the coaching process with a client, they realize they don’t want to start their own business. In those cases, they may stay in the same industry or nature of work, but figure out a way to use who they are to find happiness and success in the job or industry they are currently in.

Coach: What words of advice would you offer to those who are considering hiring a coach?
Me: Do it! Life is short. Don’t waste it being unhappy!

Laura Baker left the practice of law to start Ethos Adventures, a unique adventure business. She’s currently building a real-world Choose Your Own Adventure mobile app: http://igg.me/at/choose-your-own-adventure/x/3580262

Kirsten Cole is a Certified Personal and Professional Development Coach. Kirsten helps people follow their passion and create their ideal life and business. www.bluelotuslifecoaching.com

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