Coaching examples

You might be wondering what sorts of topics show up in a coaching setting, what to bring, what to work on. And if coaching is the right thing. 

Here are some examples (in specific sessions, or over a longer process):

  • Rediscovering the love for one’s startup and sharpening one’s role as the business grows
  • Charging what you are worth
  • What to do as a next step (post-corporate career), starting to “scan” for other things
  • Making a more meaningful contribution
  • Getting change-proof: Work out some base-case scenarios for an anticipated change in role, finances etc
  • Being more visible for senior leaders (and with things that make sense for the future)
  • Being more patient and caring with a new team

Ping me to have a chat if you’re currently mulling over something and would like to get some support, or if you want to schedule a free decision clinic. Also, check out my books to get started.

Here’s what my clients say.

And if you would like to read more, check these out: 

More questions than answers (that’s the work)

Your look, full of expectations, seeking help, wanting an answer. Your big upcoming decision, the pressure from a deadline or a contract running out. That pain or discomfort seeking release in a better future. So, you say, what should I do? As a coach, that is not the role. Some of the questions might resonate with me as a person, and with my own journey. Some are different. This isn’t the point, this journey is yours, and that is what we focus on. We are not two old friends shooting the breeze in a pub.

So many questions. A lot of them quite universal, along common themes. Staying or leaving? Take the plunge and start that business? How will I find it if I lose my former status (whatever that means)? Should I go back to Uni? How deep will this cut be, are we talking surface-level fixer-upper or big structural engineering work? But I’ve never done that before, what if I fail? How do I deal with the guilt I’m feeling about the change I really want to make? What about the money? What will they think? How do I know…? What if? What if? What if?

The answers are different for everyone, and are likely going to shift over time for you as you start feeling your way into the change, into the new things emerging, into new sides of you that you are starting to live out loud. The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke famously wrote to a young aspiring writer:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Outside of quick, focused crisis intervention that might call for a different approach, a lot of the coaching work is indeed holding the questions and digging deep, finding universal principles (like values), seeing what already works that might be useful, starting to make changes and see how they land. This doesn’t mean long and tedious, this is NOT a long-term subscription. This can come in multiple bursts along a change journey or in all sorts of other ways, alone or in a group. And you won’t be the first on this journey (Rilke wrote the above almost 100 years ago), there are common themes and patterns so you won’t have to reinvent everything from scratch. You won’t be alone on this journey. Take comfort in that. You are doing the work, and the work is doable.

In today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environment, the work is indeed a lot less about that specific answer that is going to fix that one thing right now. It is a lot more about jointly developing a practice that works for you what to do with all the questions, and how you want to go about doing that based on what you deeply care about. This is part of the work. This is the work. This will then also start helping with that question. And the one thereafter. And the one after that.


And yes, there are books for that 😉
Values-based: Career and Life Decisions that Make Sense.
The DIY Phoenix: How to drag yourself out of the ashes, mend your wings and start flying again. 
Or just ping me for coaching

Play outside the fence

We all have our routines, our events and networks, our ways of making sense of the world. It all kind of makes sense in our little patch, we know where things are, and that is why we like it. Nothing new happens here.

I am going to propose something different: Go somewhere else (this might well be virtually). This research is absolutely crucial if you are looking to make changes in your life and your work, as part of your research and networking and exploring where you might fit. 

Find out where your field of interest is gathering and playing, and go where they are. Dive into what matters to them. Embrace the discomfort of too many abbreviations and half-forgotten theories from way back when, in a different time and country. See who their luminaries, gurus and hotshots are. Who they like and don’t like, and why. How they see the world and what significance they attach to the same outside reality. Suspend your snappy inner judge for a bit and just roll with it.

I’m updating this post in early spring of 2021, where life is still largely virtual. That actually makes this a lot easier as there are plenty of opportunities to join a webinar and you won’t have to take a half day off from your current job to go somewhere. Find more of these opportunities. Use the flexibility that this online world gives you to research. A lot of this is free. Make the most of it. 

Curiosity and genuine interest are always a good look, so whoever you are, and whoever they are, go for it. Get yourself in there. You will be fine. Listen and learn. Whatever you are interested to find out more about – find where people meet, go to their (virtual, for now…) events, conferences, and consume their media, hang out on their platforms. Meet some new people. Network magic is in the weak links, not in the folks who know your jokes and finish your sentences.

The way things are going, these boundaries between disciplines will soften, and we are likely going to work in more portfolio-type of setups. We might have several different careers altogether, as one path weaves into the next, or a disruption resets the dial. You are going to need this, so get your practice runs in. It is also a whole lot more fun to work like that anyway. There are good people everywhere. They might be completely different from you in every way, but you’ll find they are people who care and who want to do something good that makes sense, and who have a craft they hone and that they use to make things better. I always take great comfort in that realization, it makes me appreciate the diversity and vastness of the human family.

What is something you are curious about? Anything that tickles your curiosity? An industry you are curious about? A hobby you are looking to take into something bigger? A passion waiting to become a potential business? Or a friend or colleague with a hobby completely different from your own?

Get your antennae out. So much is happening online and a lot of this is free. Take that time as your R&D time, immerse yourself, make some new friends. If everything goes wrong, you will have stories to tell. If everything goes well, things to read up on and lots of new friends. And even better stories. In every case you will learn more about the new space, the rules there and the people in it. 

(I wrote the first version of this in 2018 where most things were face to face and doing this kind of research was time consuming and expensive. 2020/21 is offering much more opportunities to start putting feelers out at a much smaller scale, to learn, meet, mingle. Go use it!)

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Want to go deeper on making change?
Get the book.
Or ping me about how coaching might help. 

Stillness and deep listening

What do you really want? Like, deep-down really? If-you-knew-you-couldn’t-fail really? If-I-could-start-over-again really? We often don’t take the time nor space to listen to what is inside ourselves. This requires some stepping back, removing yourself from your normal routines, from the kind of conversations you are always having.

And just sitting with it. As Rilke said, “live the question”. Sitting with the discomfort. The not being able to explain (yet). The end of your rational problem solving capabilities – this is not that kind of a problem. This is not that kind of a question. And you know it. You just don’t know what to do with it yet, and now you feel you somehow have to do something.

Doing is one thing. Being is the other. We have tons of to do lists – very few of us have a “to be” list. Start with that. Make some space. See what comes up. Go for a walk. Sit and breathe. Listen to music. Go look at some art. Get a massage or do something to get you back into your own body. But don’t fill that void too quickly with more “stuff”. Sit with it. This is a key part of how something new emerges.

Be gentle with yourself. You are entering new territory and that might feel awkward. “But nothing is happening”. “What a waste of time”. You are learning something new, you are being different. Like everything, that might take practice or quite a bit of “unlearning” from your super busy day to day.

Make that space. Start paying attention to what comes up. Take notes, draw, create, record a voice-memo of your stream of consciousness. Just do it and capture it. At some point, this will coagulate into themes, or an insight will pop up. This then gives you the next bit to start exploring further.

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Want to go deeper?
Check out the values worksheet here.
Or get the book.
Or ping me for coaching

(yep, the first iteration of this was written in 2018. We used to take flights then…  I still love the picture for the overview)

On speed

Our lives consist of multiple facets that all grow and develop. Just not all at the same speed – remember puberty? (Hormones vs neocortex in the neverending battle of “is that actually a good idea”). Later, as our adult lives are chugging along, unless we get pushed from the outside, we rarely stop and check in with ourselves, our loved ones, our environment. We rarely take step back and check where we are, and how the puzzle of our different areas of life fits together, and what might need attention before things blow up.

It’s a bit like a dance choreography, or square dancing, where different parts can do their own thing for a bit, but then there are key points where everything needs to come together for this to work to not have your or others’ toes stepped on. Sometimes we need to take a look how these different sections work, in isolation, but also in their combination. Where are pain points? Where are things that just constantly drain energy?

Check out the values worksheet here.
Or
go deeper and get the book.
Or
ping me about how coaching might help.