Career coaching: A shove in the right direction

"The truth is, I don’t know that I would be making any progress without someone cheering me on and making me take that next step."

I don’t remember what got me thinking about coaching, but I’m glad I did. After interviewing three coaches and then taking a hiatus for four months, I did one more interview and have been working with a fantastic coach ever since.

Angie and I have accomplished a lot in a just a few months. I went to her for career coaching – trying to be better at being self-employed. I thought we would just deal with work, but instead we got started with the underlying stressors that were affecting all aspects of my life.

I tackled my gremlin – the little creature that runs around telling me in great detail all the reasons I will fail at everything and why I shouldn’t bother trying lest the world blow up. (He’s complicated that way.) We talked about what I really want versus what I tell myself after she pointed out I said the word ‘should’ close to 20 times in an hour, and she’s held me accountable for following through on what I say I’ll do.

Amazing stuff if you’re like me: self-employed and struggling with discipline and routine.

The biggest help for me has been goal-setting. Apparently, I have the tendency to set impossibly large goals so I’ll fail. (Good to know!) So, I learned all about smart goals and taking steps to achieve them, instead of aiming for the top right away. Now, I set achievable goals and then… achieve them. It’s unusual for me. I like it.

One day she surprised me by dealing with the ultimate goal and making a pyramid of the steps I want to take to get to the peak – living the life I want. Simple enough statement, but I haven’t been doing it and I was fooling myself into believing that I was okay with that.

We’ve talked professional and personal, and they’re moving in-sync now. She’s done more than I expected, sometimes more than I wanted, but I’ve come out stronger for it. It was great for handling one of those frequent life hiccups where I realize I haven’t done anything, want to do everything, but should have started doing it years ago if I expected to accomplish anything…

It’s a lot to take on all at once.

I like to think of her as a personal trainer. Sometimes she makes me do things I don’t want to do – like the day she threw pillows at me for 30 minutes to illustrate a point. And isn’t that what a coach is for? To push you beyond your comfort zone and support you through the change?

So, has she helped?

The short answer is yes. The long answer… is a little more complex. She explained it best, saying that while I keep moving up the steps, I will still revisit the steps I’ve already climbed from time to time.

While I might still be a ‘work-in-progress,’ I have my purpose back. Scarily enough, those mini-goals are bringing me closer to the big goals that never seemed within reach. I’m excited and encouraged, but a little afraid to see what other changes are brewing.

I never said change was easy. I might like it in theory, but some parts of me are a little more reluctant to shift permanently. The truth is, I don’t know that I would be making any progress without someone cheering me on and making me take that next step.

Click here to read Part 2 of Courtney’s series on career coaching: Tips on finding and selecting the right career coach.

About the author

Courtney John-Reader , as a realtor, says she constantly sees the importance of networking and self-promotion, things she was exposed to frequently in a competitive business program. She thinks volunteering is an essential part of life and self-development and hopes to expand her involvement in real estate to related industries in the next year, while also pursuing her creative interests in the arts. She believes we should expect great things from ourselves and be engaged in life, no matter where it travels to or what it demands.