Do you want support as you take the next step toward a change or goal?
Would you like practical guidance from someone who has successfully navigated transitions for decades?
Perhaps an approach that has been effective for centuries will work for you, too: coaching.
Yes, you read that correctly. Experts known as coaches have facilitated learning and development for hundreds of years!
First things first: What’s my coaching story?
Coaching is integrated with all my professional roles and life experiences. It’s built on my natural strengths, proven adult learning practices, and broad, deep interpersonal communication expertise (including exceptional listening and interviewing skills). It differs somewhat from the coaching that has grown rapidly since the 1990s, when titles like “life coach,” and “executive coach” became common.
After working closely with many coaches I’ve learned about diverse ways people are led to this work. I started as a communication skills expert, with a talent for helping people connect with self and others. The “coach” title was given to me by a bank vice president who called me his “secret weapon coach.” Around the same time (early 1990s), I was asked to “save the jobs” of 12 physicians at risk for malpractice lawsuits. They were prescribed group interpersonal communication training plus individual sessions. While I had not planned to be a coach, I had been been doing coaching related work as a paid professional since 1987. Clients started requesting my help to sort out issues beyond workplace communication, and recommended me as “Coach Julie.” By the mid 1990s I was recognized as a leading coach in the Cleveland, Ohio, area and my article about the “new” coaching profession was published in Ohio’s biggest newspaper.
How do I define coach, and why is my business named CoachWalks?
This broad, traditional definition of “coach” fits me best, because I am a teacher (from the Cambridge Dictionary):
COACH noun (TEACHER)
1. a person who is responsible for managing and training a person or a team: e.g., a basketball coach;
2. a coach is also an expert who trains someone learning or improving a skill.
I am an expert who supports clients’ learning as they seek work/life navigation skills or communication skills. I assist people in becoming more authentic or true to themselves. I help them to identify alternative creative paths, and to rely upon their strengths in any situation.
My business name, COACHWALKS, reflects how I “walk the talk,” modeling behaviors and sharing practical examples or stories based on real world experience. I literally walk beside my clients, too, offering walking meetings outdoors as an alternative to traditional in-office sessions.
What is my coaching approach?
My methods cross boundaries and are driven by client needs. I offer a diverse toolkit. A client’s coaching path is revealed through deep listening, empathy, intuition, and decades of challenging professional experiences, through which I’ve learned to recognize patterns.
I believe answers are within the client (I am a catalyst for inner guidance, reflection, and self trust). I also believe in sharing what works well for others, and I provide relevant suggestions as requested. Clients count on my integrated knowledge and knack for pointing out options they may have missed.
People have different learning preferences and work/life circumstances. Clients select the coaching path and pace they prefer. I switch hats to meet needs; I have been described as wise counselor, alternative path finder, mentor, catalyst, wordsmith, synthesizer, teacher, facilitator, “best listener I know,” strategic partner, and more.
I coach in person, by phone, online, and on my feet, offering brief consultations and in-depth, longer sessions. Some clients work with me over months or years; others choose a short-term partnership.
Since 1992 I have offered “just-in-time-coaching,” a popular option for addressing an immediate need in just one focused, valuable session (e.g., a challenging conversation, interview, or presentation).
Are you ready, and am I a good fit?
Our partnership may be a good investment if you feel motivated and inspired and 1) have identified an objective to pursue or path to explore; 2) are open to deep self-reflection (learning about your best self, behavior patterns, habits, and uncomfortable areas, or blind spots, where you may get stuck); 3) are willing to take responsibility for the process, including dedicating time and effort; and 4) feel comfortable with me and how I work.
I have been coached, many times, by wise, talented professionals who enriched my life and consulting practice immeasurably. When I was interviewed about how I chose my coaches and how I approach my work, I shared this:
I have chosen my coaches with great care. It’s important to interview prospective coaches and trust your gut feeling, but do your research, too. Coaches vary widely in philosophy, education, professional background and effectiveness.
Some good coaches do not offer advice. I give advice, when asked, and client feedback affirms that my recommendations make a big difference. Although some coaches work comfortably with clients with whom they have little common experience, I am at my best when a client’s situation is familiar to me. I don’t want to waste time making irrelevant suggestions because I understand little about a client’s life or workplace.
Coaches often act as positive and persuasive cheerleaders, holding clients accountable for meeting goals. These services are critical at times, yet I have received and expected more from my own coaches: wisdom, mentoring, partnership, creative exploration and experiences or perspectives that resonate with me, demonstrating they “get it.”
I approach my work holistically, identifying with and inviting clients to explore behavior patterns, life and career transitions, or personal/professional challenges I recognize. I’m skilled at revealing alternative paths a client is unable to see on his or her own.
My first executive coaching engagement was by request from a corporate Vice President for whom I had taught a team building workshop. He said, “I’ve seen you in action. You’re the best person to show our new IT director how to lead meetings. Are you willing to take him on?” His comment underscored the importance of “walking the talk.” I am committed to practicing and demonstrating skills I teach. For those who require data or proof beyond “trust me, this works,” I share findings from relevant research.
Consider what a professional sports team owner or an aspiring golfer seeks in a coach: someone who has played and studied the game for years and is able to motivate, connect, and pass on winning knowledge. I sift through diverse life and work experiences to find a nugget of wisdom for each client’s benefit, along with offering the deep listening and generative questions one should expect from coaching.
I have the curiosity, skills and temperament of a natural teacher and lifelong learner. I’m certainly not the right coach for everyone; some prefer a different style. Good fit or “chemistry” is essential to the coaching/client partnership. I recognize when I may not be the best or only person to help you and I have a referral network of psychologists, career counselors, consultants and other coaches I recommend.
Want to know more about my credentials, experiences and “best fit” clients?
My academic/professional background and deep interpersonal communication expertise enriches my coaching tool kit. Years of teaching or consulting in leading organizations brings an integrated perspective and practical experience to my work. One of my strengths is full-service presentation and communication coaching. I have helped hundreds find their voices and connect with others, on and off the job. I have many years’ experience advising university employees, ranging from senior administrators to faculty, staff and graduate students.
I’ve worked with people at all ages and stages, from high school students to an 82-year-old political activist. Often, those in early or mid-career stages request “just-in-time” or event-specific coaching (e.g., preparing for an interview or presentation). People experiencing significant life/career transitions may prefer open-ended, longer term coaching.
I am uniquely qualified to advise people in career and/or midlife transitions, including those leaving traditional organizations or long-term positions to start small businesses or consulting and professionals courageous enough to quit their jobs for full time graduate school after age 40 (one of my learning adventures).
People who share one of my paths or interests include creative, strategic, integrative thinkers, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, business owners, consultants, coaches and professionals in leadership, non-profit management, teaching, mentoring, helping, or professional development roles.
If you’ve read all of this, congratulations, and thank you! Curious about how I may help you, specifically? I look forward to hearing from you.