Why I Coach
I have a real passion for this work. It’s more than just helping leaders get results. It’s about helping people feel fulfilled and productive, enthusiastic and energetic about their work, trusting in their relationships, and happier with themselves and their lives. It’s immensely gratifying.
Working with a coach isn’t easy, and not everyone is ready for the journey. I’m fortunate enough to be able to select the individuals and teams I work with. I support only a few clients at one time, and our relationships typically last for years. Naturally, I become intimately familiar with my client’s businesses, their organizations, their leadership teams and their staff. I’m able to give them insights they might not otherwise get, and help them connect the dots more readily.
How I Got Here
My perspectives and approach come from over 35 years in a wide variety of leadership roles and a lifetime of experience.
Jumping Into the Fire
My first exposure to leadership was as an officer in the US Coast Guard. I was 23 years old with a BA in Psychology and no real marketable skills. But, I was determined to have a “real” career. A little adventure sounded good too. So I applied, was accepted, trained, commissioned and assigned to a job with a level of responsibility and authority I found both incredible and intimidating. I was frequently humbled and humiliated, and I learned a lot of valuable and timeless leadership lessons. Many years later, I continue to draw on these experiences as I work with senior leaders through familiar issues and opportunities.
I was blazing a lot of trails, which was both exciting and exhausting. A few times I wanted to throw in the towel, but I persisted through four years of active duty. In fact, I stayed in the US Coast Guard Reserves and retired as a Commander after 20 years of service.
Changes in Direction
Following active duty, I set off on the winding path that led me to the work I do now. After finishing a graduate program in Industrial Psychology, I continued my leadership education and practice as I evaluated military leadership and management training programs for a large government contractor.
Observing these leaders from the outside, I realized that I wanted to be closer to the action, where decisions were made and their consequences played out. So I went back to school to prepare me for the world of business. When I finished my MBA, my fascination with human behavior – how we perceive ourselves and the world and how we make decisions – lured me into consumer products marketing. I spent a few years as a brand manager in some leading packaged goods companies, and then I went into consulting, specializing in helping businesses create marketing concepts for new products and develop strategic plans.
My Pivotal Moment
Several years later, I had an epiphany. I was working on an ultra-premium cat food concept and moderating a focus group of elderly women, most living on fixed incomes. I was hit with the realization that my career was all about enticing people to pay a lot for something they didn’t really need, often couldn’t afford, and felt compelled to buy out of guilt or a sense of inadequacy. I wasn’t proud.
I needed a new focus to my career and my life. I hired a coach who had me look at my motivations and values to see where the disconnects were. He also helped me appreciate my talents and find a better way to use them. From him, I learned about coaching and what it can do for people. At that point, I knew that I wanted to be a coach.
What seemed like a half a lifetime after I took my oath as a military officer, I embarked on the journey to become an executive and team coach. I’m grateful that, for the last 12 years, I’ve been able to feel great about what I do – help people become more effective through self-awareness, fulfillment and engagement at work and in life – and still contribute to organizations’ bottom lines.
On a Personal Note
I live in a beautiful, old neighborhood in Chapel Hill near the University of North Carolina. I miss my 24-year old son, who’s in Los Angeles with hopes of selling his cartoons and screenplays. I get excited about cooking, eating, gardening, dancing, hiking, doing artsy things and hanging out with my friends, sisters and brothers. I’m particularly passionate about yoga. My regular practice helps me stay grounded so I can help my clients do the same.
Certifications & Training