"The coaching process is a beautiful and sacred gift to yourself. (It) was a life-transforming experience that is now allowing me to express myself more authentically and, to my surprise, has diminished a lot of fear that used to hold me back. I encourage others to take that step towards themselves and discover their amazing self." — D.P., Portland, OR

For the past six years, I have been privileged to work with people as they reclaim their lives. Notice that I didn’t say "as they ‘change’ their lives," although usually this is the result. But as a transformational life coach, my foremost priority is to support people in reclaiming their own gifts, talents and innate inner wisdom, rebuilding their relationship with their own self above all else. How can this not change lives?

There are many types of coaching in the world; many are fundamentally performance-based, in that they are designed to help achieve specific and measurable goals, such as improving one’s tennis game, losing weight or even improving job performance at work. Performance-based coaches focus on achieving specific big goals by helping clients break them down into more manageable smaller goals, which makes progress in the direction of what is desired as a natural outcome.

In this regard, performance coaching is analogous to sports coaching. Coaches help their "players" understand the big picture of the game they’re playing (or, help them design a new game), then help break the game down in order to define and practice the skills that will improve performance while "playing." Coaches create structure and promote building discipline by creating a "practice schedule" (regular coaching sessions, etc.) and "exercises" (action steps) which step-by-step will help improve the player’s abilities while playing the game. Then the player and coach evaluate how well the game went, make adjustments as necessary, practice some more and go play again. This is a tried-and-true coaching model and has worked successfully for ages.

However, more compelling results happen when coaches help players work on their mental and emotional game. A player can have all the potential in the world to play at a very high level — but if they do not believe in themselves, they will rarely get there…in fact, they often won’t even try. Or they’ll play the game, but will keep creating roadblocks to their own success. Conversely, there are those who would seem to have the whole world pitted against them who achieve success seemingly against all odds: people like Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school basketball team, and Oprah Winfrey, who came from the mean streets of grinding poverty and cultural disempowerment to become one of the most powerful promoters of empowerment in the world today. What did they have that allowed them to succeed?

First, they believed in themselves. In addition to working hard to improve their game, they worked on their mental and emotional game. They created a vision of who they wanted to be, then surrounded themselves with coaches and cheerleaders who held that vision with them — people who supported them in achieving their goals, kept them focused on honing their strengths, improving their game, providing accountability AND kept cheering them on and believing in them.

The mental and emotional game is crucial, vital to keeping all the practice, discomfort and hard work of doing things in new ways in perspective. That — perspective — is my specialty.

As a transformational life coach, I am committed to supporting my clients to see their lives — exactly as they are — in new and empowering ways. I am less concerned with goals and structures, frankly, but have come to understand that if one’s fundamental life view doesn’t support success, progress will never become integrated, meaning one may then remain dependent on the structure and accountability a coach would continue to have to provide. It’s a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: sure, it looks nice, but wouldn’t your efforts be better served by changing course?!

Empowering perspectives are like changing course: they don’t change the nature of the ship itself, necessarily, but rather, they ensure success in reaching one’s chosen destinations.

Empowerment also facilitates integration. My commitment as a coach is to run alongside my people as they test their wings (wings they often didn’t even believe they had) to support, encourage and believe in them until they can support, encourage, and believe in themselves — and fly on their own. In this way, coaching becomes a life-affirming process of transformation. All it requires is a willingness to change one’s perspectives, to see life in new ways that better serve who you are and who you intend to become.

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