As a person who worked in administration at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor for more than 25 years, I believe strongly in training and credentials.
With a membership of 30,000 members from 140 countries, the International Coach Federation (ICF) is the main player in bringing professionalism to coaching. The work of the ICF is grounded in a set of core coaching competencies, ethical guidelines, and continuing education. It also reviews and approves coach-training programs. My ICF certification as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) lets my clients know that my services are grounded in knowledge, experience, and professional standards.
For this reason, rather than one-size-fits-all coaching, I tailor my coaching approach to each of my clients, to be sure they receive the support they want and need.
When people say how good it must feel, as a coach, to give people advice, sometimes I set them straight, but usually I just smile. As I see it, very few people want advice--or at least not much of it and only in certain circumstances. Sometimes clients thank me for giving them good ideas, at which point I remind them I was just asking questions—the answers were all theirs. My clients are their own greatest resource, which I help them tap into.
During the beginning of our work together, you set short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals and objectives. Over time and because, as Alan Watts said, change is who we are, you will almost certainly adjust those goals. As session by session, you decide on a particular focus, I also regularly remind you of your larger, inspirational goals.
Our minds are quite good at churning out a parade of unhelpful thoughts. Some of these thoughts jell into unhelpful assumptions and beliefs, tainting our lives by how we feel and act. Through coaching, my clients become more aware of their unhelpful thoughts, create more space around them (vs. trying to get rid of them, which falls into “don’t think of a white bear” territory) and then move into value-based action.
I call this the Inner Toolkit. In life, it’s “always something” (e.g., problems, bad moods, obstacles, or difficult relationships). Because of this, I believe almost everyone needs to consciously collect, create, and use a set of tools to self-manage hurtful thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. I’ve written numerous short descriptions of such tools. Plus, I sometimes invite my clients to actively create their own exercises or techniques, which can become some of most powerful tools of all.
If you’re like most people, you keep a busy schedule and have many demands on your time and attention. Such busyness tends to bury the dreams and personal passions that are still alive within you--like buried coals that need to be fanned. Through coaching, together we make that happen.
A few of us appear to be able to pursue and reach our goals almost effortlessly. Most of us, though, could use a helping hand.
In 2002, when I hired my first coach, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into … or whether it would “work.” Only six months later, I brought a long-held dream to life by printing a 62-page book of poetry. As I write these words in February 2018, I’m waiting for the first shipment of my first full-length book From Lemons to Lemonade: 47 Sweet Lessons from Life. Could I have reached this point without coaching? Maybe, but without a doubt it would have taken me even longer. (My initial, almost laughable, guess of how long it would take me finish the book—one year—was off by three and a half years.) The coaching I’ve received along the way has been priceless.
The fees you pay for coaching are not just about the time you spend in coaching sessions. It’s also about committing firmly to make bold, positive changes in who you are, in the thoughts and beliefs that influence you, in the actions you take, and in your life.
(1) Coaching ramps up how much and how quickly you achieve your important goals. Like icebergs, with a lot going on under the surface, goals are always shifting. People tend to believe that we need to feel like acting before we actually do something. The bottom line is that we need to get to work. As your coach, I help you move into action and ultimately turn action into practices, routines, and lasting habit.
(2) You become more tuned into your inner workings and how they add to or detract from your sense of wellbeing. Plus, you learn ways to better manage unhelpful and even destructive thoughts and feelings.