A few years ago, I was in a new role in a large company I had been with for many years. I was recently promoted, managing a new team, with a new boss, new subject matter, and a lot to prove. I was also the mom of two kids, ages 2 and under, with a (self imposed) weight on my back to have it all. A few months into this new life, after struggling a bit and expressing it to someone I considered a mentor, I was offered executive coaching support, after a long conversation about all of the new-ness I was feeling. I got curious because I had never really heard all that much about executive coaching. Obviously I knew about mentoring and having others to look up to, but formal coaching was not really something I had a lot of experience in.
Executive coaching sounded interesting and I needed help sorting my professional life, so I jumped in head first. I'm a pretty trusting and transparent person, which has it's positives and negatives, but I tend to share freely so I didn't have much trouble opening up to my new coach. We had a short introductory call, just to get to know each other and talk about some of the goals for our coaching sessions. The next time we spoke, I really opened up and my coach said, she could tell from the first call how much pressure I put on myself and my goals. We really connected and over the next few months, she helped me navigate my challenging job, balancing work and home responsibilities, and helped me figure out what I really want to feel fulfilled in life.
At first, I wanted help managing my team and all of the responsibilities of the new program. Then I started talking to her about what I wanted my life to look like and how I could get there. The thing I loved so much is that when I'd talk things out with someone who had no bias or stake in the game, she would ask these questions that would allow me to come up with the answer for myself. Each session I'd have another "ah ha!" moment where really, I'd come up with the answer, but with some guidance on how to get there from my coach. I loved this dynamic.
After only a few sessions, the work I did with my first coach changed me forever, for the better. We stayed connected even though we both parted ways at the companies where we first met and she continued to change my life. These connections are so special, that coaching became something I needed in my life to be the best professional person and mother I could be. I just didn't exactly realize the path it would lead me towards.
Another thing I loved is that coaching was all looking forward, not back. It felt safe and honest because it was future work I had to do, not necessarily digging up my past or having to answer "why" things happened that way or I did certain things throughout my life. When we start each session of G.A.L. Talk, we explain how coaching looks forward and therapy looks back. That is one of the main differences and one I really love.
Everything about coaching felt great to me. I loved that I had a person who was interested in my life, but not IN my life, if that makes sense. I really connected to the format of coming up with your own answers that felt tangible and doable for me. Not necessarily things that were so far fetched that I wouldn't be able to master.
When I had down time during the pandemic, I thought that coaching would be a great place to put focus, because I love it so much. With the support of my coach, who is now my friend, I had the goal to get certified, so I went through a program and got my professional coaching certificate. It's been the most rewarding thing I've done for myself in the past few years and my passion and love for it grows every day.
I hope this inspires you to go after your passion, set your goals, and stick to them...even if it's not something you ever intended on doing for yourself!