Sometimes when you’re struggling at work, maybe missing deadlines or not achieving your SMART goals and you can’t figure out why, you might need some coaching. So you set up some time with your boss or mentor to talk things through and get a plan for action in place.
Well sometimes in life you need some coaching too. At the end of 2012, my accomplishments were looking dull. I was feeling unhealthy and fat. I felt stagnant and underutilized in my job. My finances felt like they were not just holding me back, but rather holding me under water. Even my sense of accomplishment as a mom was being buried under all this crud.
Then one day, I got an email with “Cat Shit in the Litter Box” in the subject line. Intrigued, I read it. It turned out to be a blog post about how we hide our flaws because we fear others knowing the real us. Surely if the real us were discovered, we would be rejected. It was a great blog post. At the end of the email was a contest of sorts. The first 3 people to respond got a free half-hour “Ignite Your Life Breakthrough Session” with the author. Well, I love contests and I needed a breakthrough. So I went for it and won. And the session was INVIGORATING. I really connected with Ann, my coach, and booked three more months with her.
I know what you’re thinking. She got me hook, line and sinker with that “free” half-hour. Possibly. But I got more out of our sessions than I could have imagined. I viewed it as an investment in my own personal oxygen mask; you know the one you’re supposed to put on yourself before helping others? Here’s why I choose to use a coach: My personality thrives on forced accountability. If I’m paying –and boy did I pay– for someone to kick me in the ass and make some positive changes, I become accountable. I do what I’m told. I show up with my homework done.
I also loved my coach’s no bullshit style. She kicks ass and takes names. I feared that if I didn’t put our plans into action, she would hunt. me. down. What really happened was that I gained a mentor for life. She’s not my friend, she’s my coach. She tells me when I’m being an asshole. And then she helps me figure out how to get back on track. I am now part of her tribe– A group of ambitious women who want to make their lives mean something. Her own story is inspiring. She makes me want to be inspiring too.
My coach always said the right things, even if I didn’t want to hear her honesty. And she knew what to say to praise and motivate me. “But you paid her to say those nice things…” Um, exactly. I got what I paid for. She forced me to look in the mirror and really see what was there; to look at what it was that was holding me back. Usually it was my own damn self, my own fears. I don’t know how my coach did it, but she was always right. That worked for me.
We spent the three months talking on the phone for about an hour every other week. She helped me identify things that if I changed or managed, would help me gain some control over my life and satisfaction. We were going to work together to stop me from just feeling like I was going through the motions and start driving my destiny bus.
After some trial and error we decided to focus on three areas: my weight, my finances and doing something I’ve always wanted to do: become a blogger. With my weight, I was accountable for emailing my weight to my coach weekly, as well as my go-to weekly meal plans. Having 5 easy meals each week up my sleeve, I was less likely to eat out. Any time I was going to exercise at work, I told Ann in advance. She held my feet to the fire so that I kept my word. No backing out. No excuses. The woman climbs mountains. How could I use a little cold weather as an excuse for not walking a tiny little mile? I got some results and I’m still trucking.
I’ll spare you the details of getting my finances in order; that’s a whole separate nightmare. But her suggestions were definitely effective. It’s still a work in progress. As for becoming a blogger, my coach helped me to find my confidence. She helped me to see that I was good enough, smart enough and people liked me. I saw an opportunity with CTWorkingMoms and haven’t looked back. When I feel like I’m the worst blogger on the roster, I look back at my notes from past coaching sessions. Then I suck it up, Buttercup, because I am good enough. I’m better than good enough.
The confidence I gained and satisfaction from acting on my coaching plan has definitely affected other areas of my life for the better as well. I am a better mother for it. If my daughter grows up to have a healthy, ambitious, confident mother for a role model, then I have succeeded. I’m still working on putting all the pieces together; that work is never done. But I have a plan for success and a partner to keep me in line and kick my ass when it needs to be kicked.
Note: This is not an endorsement of any particular coach. It is my experience only.