About 7 years ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I signed up for an introductory coaching class in New York City. TBH, my perspective at the time was that coaches were people who were too lazy to go back to school for a Masters degree. My friend, also the instructor, would tell you that I sat through that first day with my arms folded with a look of skepticism beyond compare. What I have learned since then, was that my perspective was really just a lack of humility. It was a choice to put my ego before my willingness to explore. This chosen perspective almost kept me from what I would later come to know is my life’s work.
By the time that weekend was over and I was heading back to Boston on the train, I was clear on one thing: I had changed. Part of the change was the learning — what I had been taught; but the change was really more about who I was and who I was becoming. I just kept going back, taking the next course and the next course and the next course and then when that program came to an end, I took the certification course. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other because, while I could not put a finger on what I wanted to be different, I knew that every time I received coaching, I made small shifts in the way I showed up in all areas of my life.
No kidding. If that isn’t the most humbling feedback from a child, I don’t know what is. So I kept heading back and I kept getting coached through the process. And one class at a time, my parenting transformed and I became happier and nicer.
So how else does coaching serve me? Coaching has helped me see that I have choice in my life. I have learned that when the perspective I am in doesn’t work, I get to choose another. Do I still get stuck? Yes. But I have the tools that if I am willing to draw upon them, help me turn things around. I have learned what I stand for ~ what really, really matters to me ~ and how to design all of my decisions around those values for true resonance. I like to say, “My insides match my outsides.”
As I sat in those courses, a lingering thought never left me:
What if we could give the gift of self-knowledge to teenagers? What if, as children moved towards adolescence and adulthood, they had the clarity around what drives them? Where their natural strengths lie? What if they could make choices based on who they truly are and not based on who their friends or teachers think they are? And what if they could make choices about their future ~ college, gap year, military, employment ~ based upon this authentic self-knowledge?
So I have made it my life’s work to facilitate the transformation of others. From young high school students looking for better academic achievement to college graduates looking for that first job to adults re-evaluating their life purpose and next steps….it all starts with clarity on who we are deep inside. The answers are within but just waiting for the right questions to be asked. And with rigorous honesty, and in the most direct way possible, I will fearlessly ask. One client at a time, the world will be a happier and nicer place.