Life Coaching

MY CLIENTS

I work with creative, open and kind people, who are ready to move towards more fulfilling, joyful and productive lives. I enjoy partnering with a great variety of clients: clergy, professional singers, college professors, stay-home parents, entrepreneurs, administrative assistants, doctors, nurses, Pilates teachers, and many others.

Even though they are different people in what they do, they are similar in who they are. They share many qualities, including passion, depth, willingness to face the truth, zest for life, sense of humor, willingness to take risks, and desire to make a contribution. I work with individuals, couples, business partners, and families.

WHERE I STAND AS A COACH

  • I operate from a place of integrity.
    • I walk the walk, and do my own work of growth and development. My clients are my best teachers.
    • If I can t support the client s goals, I will not coach.
    • If I see that the client needs a different set of skills, I will make a referral.
    • I tell the truth the way I see it, regardless of whether or not my client will like it.
  • Value created through coaching needs to be greater than the money spent on coaching. For examples of the outcomes created by my clients click here.
  • I see my clients as naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. They have the answers; I have the tools to help them see the answers.
  • I listen without judgment, and create a lot of room for clients to hear their own voice.
  • I meet and accept my clients exactly where they are, AND I want more for them. I see possibilities that they often do not see themselves.
  • I don t provide subject matter expertise or solve problems. I facilitate growth, so that clients can approach their situations from a new perspective.
  • A coaching relationship is a partnership between two equals. Clients are experts in their own lives; I am an expert in coaching tools and processes. The success of the coaching engagement depends on how much trust and openness there is in the relationship. If both client and coach give their all to the engagement, it will be successful.
  • I do have subject matter expertise in negotiations, and cross-cultural communications. (www.jmkcontact.com) If the client needs it, we set up a separate time for me to share what I know.

MY APPROACH TO COACHING

My coaching is all about creating results you want by making decisions based on integrity. To read about some of my clients results, please click here. As a coach, I facilitate the client s movement towards a life that s aligned with their values, and is a true expression of who they are. This process is rarely linear or rigid, but I do follow a structure that consists of the following elements: Set-up, Foundation, Goal Setting, Learning, Action/Accountability, and Completion.

SET-UP

This is where we start. We co-create our coaching relationship. We figure out how we are going to work together, when, where and how long, what we can expect of each other, what s OK, and what s not. This is where I usually explain that I will get to make requests or give challenges to my clients, and they get to say yes, no, or counteroffer. This process feels awkward at first, but after people see how well it works, they start applying it to their other relationships. We also clarify the client s goals for the coaching engagement.

FOUNDATION/DISCOVERY

This phase is a foundation for our work together. Clients develop their life purpose statements, or their personal mission statements; they identify their top values, and assess how these values are being honored (or not) in their lives. They reconnect with the parts of themselves that have been neglected for a while, and rediscover more joy in their lives.

Example

Here are some of my client s personal mission statements:

  • To pursue excellence using precise moderation. Do what is right and do it the right way with humility and integrity and with commitment to leading a good life.
  • To illuminate, create and inspire justice for people who need it with people who believe in it.
  • To be a loving presence.

This work serves my clients long after our coaching engagement is completed. They walk away with a structure and a method for making decisions based on integrity.

GOAL-SETTING

Goals are an integral part of coaching. If there are no goals, we are not coaching. My clients come to coaching with a great variety of goals, including:

  • Overcoming procrastination
  • Improving self care/losing weight
  • Improving relationships, time management, productivity, organization
  • Choosing career direction
  • Earning more money
  • Working out conflicting priorities in a dual-career couple
  • Getting unstuck on a project
  • Finding the right balance between career and parenthood
  • Getting out of dead end situations
  • Deciding on what s next [Children are off to school, what do I do now? I will retire in a year, what will I do then? I love my job, but am burnt out. I ve been at this job for a while, and I am bored. I love certain aspects of my job, and hate others.]
  • Overwhelming goals [I really would like to start my own business, but it seems so overwhelming and scary, I don t even know how I get started.]

Example

A clergy member wanted help in organizing her time to pursue another ordination. She discovered that the true driver behind this goal was the insecurity she felt in the company of her peers. This goal was not supportive of her personal mission statement, or her values. At the end, she decided not to pursue the ordination, but to give more energy to her existing business and her family.

A business owner wanted to grow his business and his income. It turned out that the source of his desire to make more money had to do with his wife s spending habits. He decided to focus on his communication with his wife instead.

I encourage clients to set resonant and thrilling goals goals that align with their values, and that seem a bit out of reach. Ultimately what matters is not whether or not the client achieves the goal; it is the growth and learning that occur as the result.

LEARNING

After a particularly rich coaching session, a client said, I now understand what you do. You are like a midwife for learning. She could not have said it better. Any situation good or bad is an opportunity to learn. I listen to what the client is saying, and also to what they are not saying. Sometimes I see a very clear disconnect between what the client is saying, and how they are saying it. Sometimes, I can just sense that there is something that is not being said right there in the space between us. I share all of this information with my client, and the client assigns meaning to it. This is how they move to the new level of learning about themselves. Clients become more aware of their feelings, thoughts, drivers, and reactions. This new level of awareness allows them to approach their situations from an entirely new perspective.

Example

One of my clients was convinced that his life s calling was being a school teacher. Because of an unfortunate turn of events, his successful teaching career was interrupted, and it seemed unlikely that he would be able to continue. He applied to a number of schools with a dire shortage of teachers. Being hired there meant a long commute, and a significant cut in pay. Through coaching, he discovered that what he was truly committed to was not the teaching. It was the lifestyle that it allowed him to have. He began to consider that there may be other occupations he could find equally satisfying. With that new learning, he discovered a new career that allowed him to honor his values, have the lifestyle he wanted, and make a meaningful contribution.

ACTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY

If there is no action, we are not coaching.

Clients commit to taking certain actions based on what they learn during the coaching session. This new course of action provides new learning, and that s how forward movement happens.

What makes coaching work is accountability. As human beings, we are very good at honoring external deadlines, and we tend to put our own last. Coaching creates external accountability for something that the clients want for themselves.

At the end of each session I may give a client a request or a challenge, or simply ask, What would you like to get done before we meet again? Once the client makes a commitment, I will hold them accountable. Regardless of whether or not they were able to follow through, we extract the lessons they learn from the experience.

COMPLETION

Closure is a very important part of a coaching engagement. We spend 1-2 sessions at the end of the engagement talking about the client s breakthroughs and breakdowns, major shifts, beliefs and ways of being in the world they are leaving behind, and new supportive beliefs they will be taking with them. We talk about the way forward new thrilling and inspiring goals, the habits and structures that the client will put in place to continue the forward motion after the coaching engagement has been completed.

TYPICAL COACHING ENGAGEMENT

I deliver coaching sessions in a variety of formats, including walk-n-talk, phone, Skype, in person sessions in my offices in McLean, VA or in Washington, DC. Sometimes I prepare coach notes and share them with the client.

I meet with clients 2-4 times per month. Sessions last 30-60 minutes

Coaching engagements last from 3 months to two years, depending on what the client is working on.

Many clients choose to participate in one of my on-going support plans that involve monthly, quarterly or annual sessions.