I grew up in the 1980's in a Midwestern college town. My parents were poor, but in the late 1980's they made a commitment to succeed. Within two years, they had turned their annual income into their monthly income and our local paper ran a story titled "Rags to Riches." Their achievement inspired me to ask how and why people change to reach their full earning potential. In addition to wondering how people succeed, I wondered what it takes to be happy. It took me many decades, thousands of hours of self-study, and many wrong turns to get on the right track—some people learn the hard way.
I became a certified life coach in 2013, and started by doing pro bono work for homeless and coaching professionals, attorneys, entrepreneurs, and gifted individuals. Although I was getting immediate and dramatic results, I had questions about the methods I'd learned. When my friend Willie asked me to teach him to coach others, I spent about a year working out the "kinks" in my coaching philosophy. I spent another year beta-testing my methods at a law firm, as director of business development. By the end of my tenure in that position, in 2019, I realized I didn't want to work in-house anymore. I was finally ready break out on my own.
There are five big ideas that inform my coaching practice: Maslow's hierarchy of need, the Socratic Method, free will, time-based accountability, and belief.
Who Can I Help?
Abraham Maslow was the first prominent psychologist to focus on healthy people, or positive psychology. Maslow coined the term "self-actualization" to describe the stage of life where people have met their basic needs for material well-being and belonging, and are ready to "give back" to society. Generally speaking, in business development, executive, and personal fulfillment (aka "life") coaching, clients are positively motivated by goal achievement of a big dream. Experience tells me that some clients and organizations have primary wellness needs that are better addressed by an appropriate specialist—whether it's a client with an active, untreated addiction, or a professional organization that lacks a functioning human resources department. In my practice, I believe in the early assessment of potential roadblocks even if it means turning away potential clients who aren't a good fit for my program. My ideal client is motivated to achieve, has already established self-care, and shares my commitment to diversity, professionalism, and inclusion.
What Will I Ask You?
The Socratic Method is about asking not just any question, but the right question. Ideal questions are open-ended; they help a client identify relationships between ideas, are grounded in and/or clarify the client's core values, and draw out creative solutions. Ideal questions can help a client expand her vision of what is possible and feeling of power to create what is desired.
Who's In Charge?
As a client-centered coach, I believe that the client always has the right to choose to accept a particular homework assignment. In sports, when the coach tells the athlete to do 100 pushups, the athlete doesn't turn around and say, "How about 50?" But in personal and professional development, it's your life. It's your goal. While I will always be honest with you, ultimately the only one responsible for your success is YOU.
How Do We Stay Focused?
Once you commit to a particular action step, I will hold you accountable for accomplishing the task in a given timeframe. Although the statistics vary, study after study tell us the same thing: Having an accountability partner who knows your goal and checks in with you on your progress regularly exponentially and favorably increases your likelihood of reaching that goal. Coaching sessions can be as frequent as once a week, or as seldom as once a month. Clients are asked to pick a goal that they can focus on for 12 sessions. Goals are measured in increments ranging from a total of 12 weeks to one year. If a client decides to meet more or less frequently in response to changing scheduling demands, I can be flexible.
Accountability works two ways. Not only will I ask you to be accountable to me, but I will be accountable to you. When you invest in business development coaching, there should be a clear and demonstrable ROI. I strive for continual improvement and clear results.
What Do You Believe In?
Religious traditions that go back thousands of years, the New Thought Movement of more than 100 years ago, the 12 step programs of the early 20th century, positive thinking of the 1980's and today's psycho-cybernetic VR modeling for Olympic athletes or research on quantum physics, epigenetics, and spontaneous remission all teach the rewards of belief in something "bigger and more powerful" than us. It doesn't matter if you believe in God, your inner goddess, the Universe, a Higher Power, your ideal self, the untapped power of your own subconscious mind, or the sociology of a collective mastermind group. What matters is that you learn to turn on that power, and use it not only to be better, but to better serve others. I will work with your existing personal or organizational framework to incorporate your own personal belief and value system into your coaching.
My current professional rate is $275/hr. A ten percent discount is given to clients who pay in full for all 12 sessions. Pay-as-you-go is available with prior approval only. Sliding scale and pro bono fee arrangements are available on a very limited basis and by personal discretion. Group rates, organizational coaching, full day seminars, and weekend retreats are available with pricing upon request.
FOR THE LEGAL INDUSTRY
My legal marketing career started out with an entry-level job and ended, ten plus years later, at CMO level. I have worked in print and Internet branding, events, advertising, Continuing Legal Education, and business development, with hundreds of attorneys in firms categorized as Big Law, mid-sized, and boutique. I have a strong understanding of the unique pressures and challenges facing legal service professionals, including wellness issues, diversity, and secondary trauma.
While I enjoy working with goal-oriented, gifted, and ambitious people in a wide variety of creative, professional, and personal service industries, I have particular experience and understanding of the legal industry.
FOR CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS
I am a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA 2003, MFA program 2003–2004), a working painter, and advocate for the well-being of artists—in particular those who face societal obstacles and social disadvantages.
My preferred office is the great outdoors. While typical sealed office buildings are known to have CO2 concentrations high enough to decrease cognitive function anywhere from 20-60%, while walking instead of sitting, and in particular, walking in nature, is shown in study after study to improve not only our health but our cognitive function, mood, and creativity, anywhere from 30-200%.
So whenever and wherever possible, I prefer to meet clients for a walk on the beach, a stroll through the National Forest, or at a nearby park or cafe, rather than in a stuffy office.