When my daughters were old enough to understand what I did for a living, they sat me down one day for a talking to. Indignantly, they noted, “Your job is a racket! You ask people nosy questions and then tell them what they should do. You do that ANYWAY!.” My reply? Guilty as charged!
I am a coach because I have an insatiable curiosity about and interest in people–particularly what makes them tick and how they relate to work. The words “work” and worth” are derived from the same root, and I am a self-professed “work enthusiast.” To my way of thinking, work is good, noble and useful. And good work that “fits” is also very satisfying.
When asked what kind of coach I am, I respond that I’m a life-long Transition Advocate: someone who helps people get from where they are to where they need/want to go as gracefully as possible with some fun along the way.
- In my first career as a secondary school English teacher, I was a strong advocate for learning–not just the rules of language but the beauty of words and the power that comes from being able to discern meaning and communicate verbally. Seeing students come to appreciate language and literature was joyous for me. Each time one of them realized that reading was something they “got” to do not “had to do, I was fulfilled.
- My second career was as a university administrator, supporting full-time MBA students in figuring out how this very expensive degree would help them achieve their career goals. For the part-time “night school” MBA’s, my role was to help them get their degrees as efficiently as possible–they already knew what they wanted! The contrast between the two groups prompted the question “How do people make career choices?” and more importantly “How can our choices lead to success and satisfaction?”
- When I discovered the field of career management, I jumped in. This is a discipline focused on helping people research/explore/select/enter and grow/develop in careers and jobs based on individual preferences, goals and values–not just skills and experience. I pinched myself that I got to learn and apply interesting theories and techniques about people and their life choices–and get paid to do it (my daughters clearly had my number). I have never looked back, expanding my scope from career counselling to job search/career transition consulting and finally workplace coaching.
I am a Coach because coaching is who I am. As I tell my clients, while our jobs don’t define us, if we are fortunate, they reflect us. And whenever we lead lives aligned with our true nature and purpose, we make not just a living but a life. I am blessed to have discovered the perfect work for me, and my greatest joy is helping my clients find their unique path. Supporting that journey is my life’s work– nosy questions and all.