The following is a fictional composite based on multiple clients. The coaching process is real, but all identifying details, including names, have been changed to maintain client privacy.
“Life is short,” Anne* told me. Like many people, Anne has dreams percolating under the surface of her busy schedule. The details are always unique, but the heart of the story is the same for all of us. We’re on a journey through life, often derailed by obligations and distractions, until we have a “wake-up call.” The catalyst might be big or small, but something grabs our full attention. A new path is waiting, even before we know what that path is.
Anne’s wake-up call came when a coworker, overweight and under-exercised but with no other known health challenges, suddenly died of a heart attack. He was only 50.
“Bill was such a great guy, always ready to laugh, but he never liked the job all that much. He kept talking about how he wanted to stop working as an accountant, and maybe start his own consulting practice. Or, he said maybe he’d even go back to school and become a licensed therapist, a counselor.
“I’m not much younger than Bill, and I don’t want to keep talking about making a change. I want to do… SOMETHING.”
Anne was at a delicate, but exciting point in her life – a crossroads. Some friends would encourage her, and others would want her to stay on her current path, with them, all the way to retirement. “I make good money. I want to resign, take that leap of faith, but that’s part of it… a salary handcuffing me to the office. I feel stuck.”
“Stuck” is a word I hear a lot as a coach. From fear of failure to fear of success, from “not enough time” to not knowing what we want – and thinking we have to define exactly what that is before we even start moving – we build cages with all sorts of excuses. That’s ok.
I haven’t just heard every excuse, I’ve used them all.
I’m ready to help clients turn excuses into action because I haven’t just heard every excuse, I’ve used them all. I will help you push yourself, but I won’t judge.
Anne’s job as an accountant was not the problem. The issue was “fit.” Activating our skills and talents brings life to our jobs. Working on autopilot doesn’t. She was hunting for something to spark her energy and enthusiasm. Talking to Anne revealed a creative outlet, oil painting, was turning into something more. Or, at least, it could. “My husband calls it my ‘art hobby.’ And I guess I have sometimes too,” Anne related. Her paintings were on their walls or in their basement, with some gifted to friends. She rented wall space at a local gallery-style store, “but even though I track the money and time I put into each painting and the framing, I don’t feel right charging enough to make a profit. I can admit I fall short on the marketing side as well.”
Anne needed confidence, and she knew it. Pricing and marketing challenge us most when we’re not sure what our product or service is worth. Asking for prompt payment is another common challenge. Luckily challenges have remedies, and obstacles can build strength. That’s what coaching is all about.
Anne wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to “be” when she hired me as her coach. She recognized she was ready for a change and hoped her art would be involved in it. Not every client has a goal or future occupation in mind. Whether clients arrive with goals in place or as unsure as Anne, I have a menu of methods to jumpstart their progress.
We begin with a personality profile and a client assessment to identify personal strengths, talents and passions. Next, we focus on those strengths and find opportunities to put her natural abilities to work. Anne’s gifts include her organizational skills and her need for systems and structure. Together, we address both business strategies and mindset issues – techniques to boost Anne’s business and to uncover subtle ways she might be holding herself back.
Anne enrolled in a 3-month Dream Achiever Premium Package, and each month she receives two modules related to our discussions. Personal coaching calls once a month help Anne keep her plans on track. We are surprisingly well-equipped to teach the things we need to learn, and Anne was no exception. During another coaching session, she discussed how often she found herself helping a friend or two at the gallery with their accounting needs.
Soon Anne realized she liked teaching creatives about budgeting and business accounting. Her dream of becoming a full-time painter expanded into a new identity as an artist who teaches business seminars to fellow artists and other “creatives.” During the transition, Anne plans to move into a part-time position at her office for one year, after which she’ll re-evaluate whether she’s ready to pursue her painting and financial management seminars for creatives full-time. She takes her paintings to weekend shows and prices them according to the value that she brings to her art. She has developed a client referral and follow-up system that ensures repeat customers. Anne found an out-of-state mentor who produces seminars similar to the ones she has in mind, and the two share ideas online and by phone. Anne has already assisted at one of the seminars to learn first- hand about the business of training creatives. She also found a partner to teach marketing techniques during her seminars.
Anne says she’s excited about the future and how her new business will help others while bringing additional income to her family and supporting her career as an artist. Like Anne – and like many of us – my career as a school counselor in an elementary school contained the seeds of a deeper calling. Educators who wanted to become coaches or train other teachers were some of my earliest clients.
Today my client base has broadened to include people from many occupations, including authors (and “author-preneurs”), health care professionals and homemakers who want to re-enter the workforce as well as retirees who want to embark on a second career. If you asked Anne how coaching helps her, she’d echo what I’ve heard from other clients:
Some want to bring change to their existing environments or jobs, but many are hungry for a radical shift such as a new career or starting a business.
Take the first step to activating your dreams and goals with my Dream Achiever Coaching program.