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Choosing to hire a Life Coach is an important decision that needs to feel right for you. My goal is full transparency, so this page provides details of My Story including Why I Became a Life Coach.

If you're new to Life Coaching, you may also wish to read the What is Life Coachingsection. 

 

Through a Free Consultation, of by email, I'm happy to address any remaining questions or curiosities you have.

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My Story

My roots are those of a small-town Saskatchewan farm kid. I'm the oldest of three children and if you'd asked 8-year-old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd have told you I wanted to become a teacher. Although I never pursued a career as a teacher, my passion for learning, gaining wisdom, and helping others to grow, remains.

After graduating high school, I completed an honours degree in Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, SK.  While attending University I married and, after graduating, we moved to Alberta. Jobs at that time for young professionals were hard to find so I was grateful to find employment in my field. I worked as an agriculture field and laboratory research technician for several years and enjoyed research work and have a few publications in scientific papers and patents in my name to commemorate that part of my career.  Throughout university and my time working in research, I believed technical knowledge and competency were where I excelled. I also discovered a passion for running and participated in several races, relays and half-marathons with co-workers and individually.

As my husband and I were commuting about 5 hours a day between us to jobs in different communities, we decided to look for other options.  I was offered the opportunity to work for a forestry company as part of a hybrid poplar plantation program and accepted. We purchased an acreage and moved to a new community. Fairly quickly, I become team lead of the polar plantation program and also obtained my designation as a Professional Agrologist in Alberta. My new role required strong technical knowledge and skills but, as a team lead, I also started to further develop my leadership skills.  I realized during that period that the real secret to success for me was to figure out how to build and lead a strong, effective and cohesive team and also to build connections and collaborate with others within the company and externally.

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For the remainder of my time with the company, I worked in areas of leadership and project management. My natural curiosity and interest in learning and growing allowed me to work in a variety of departments and areas over the years and meet and build relationships with many different people. Whether working with c-suit executives, trades people, or administrative personnel, I realized that everything hinged on working effectively with people. While retaining people with excellent technical knowledge and skills is extremely important to the success of a team or project, focusing on skills like leadership, communication and teamwork is equally essential.

Over that period, while working full time, my husband and I also established Norland Brae Farm. We raise highland cattle and sell registered animals and also direct market farm-raised beef.  Most summers, we also manage a commercial greenhouse and share our products at the local Farmers' Market. A few years ago, we also established a Consulting Business. In spring of 2023, I retired from my corporate job to focus on these ventures and to allow more time for other new and exciting adventures.

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Although I didn't consciously realize it at the start, by continuing to develop and grow my personal attributes and abilities, or "soft" skills, I was able to become a valuable asset and lead people and projects to success in areas I had little or no technical expertise. Whether IT, engineering, construction, logistics or corporate transformation, the key to success for me was tied to my personal attributes and having a well-developed ability to effectively lead and work with other people.

Why I Became a Life Coach

In 2018, for the first time in my life I "hit the wall" at work and, for my own well-being, my supervisor transitioned me off of a major project I was leading. I felt like a quitter and a failure. I was demotivated and uncertain about what I wanted both personally and professionally. My work/life balance was not healthy, I didn't have a clear understanding of myself, and I couldn't figure out how best to move forward.

Seeing some of my struggle, a colleague suggested working with an Executive Coach. Although I only had a general understanding of what an Executive Coach was and did, I decided to go ahead and try working with a Coach. I was fortunate and my employer was willing to invest in me and pay for coaching as part of my personal development and training. After interviewing several people, I found a coach that resonated with me and we entered into an 8-month coaching agreement. We completed the sessions remotely, using telephone and video conference. Given the timing was pre-Covid that was not the norm but, with busy schedules and factoring in the time travel would have required, it was the best option for me.

If I had to choose one word to describe what working with Coach was like, I'd tell you it was transformational. In two words, I'd say it was life changing. One of the most profound things I realized is that learning about yourself, focusing on you first, is key. I walked away with a different and improved understanding of myself and with more comfort and confidence in who I am and what I wanted. I also had more tools to apply which increased my ability to achieve goals and positive outcomes working with others. One of the realizations I solidified was that my 5-year plan included retiring from my corporate job to focus on our farm business and other priorities. I recognized that my motivations were not climbing the corporate ladder but rather making a tangible contribution and a difference. I also learned that I had an interest in coaching and that assisting others to transform and achieve their goals is very fulfilling for me.

I accepted one final challenge as Project Manager of a multi-year corporate transformation project. It was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my career and a chance to apply the skills and wisdom I had gained over the years. During that period, I also focused on informally coaching and mentoring colleagues, helping them to grow and advance themselves. In spring of 2023, the project concluded very successfully and I followed through with my plan to retire from corporate life.

At that time, I decided to honour my passion and become a Life Coach. I wanted to enhance my knowledge and skills in coaching to continue my own growth and transformation. I also wanted to position myself to skillfully and effectively coach others and, in doing so, support them in their transformation and ability to shine brighter.

Recognizing the power of coaching, but also the responsibility, I choose to complete the Rhodes Wellness College Life Coach Certification. The program is certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and is both intense and extensive. Through classroom and practicum, the six month program places equal focus on learning the knowledge and theory of coaching and on applying and practicing your coaching skills.  

What is Life Coaching?

A Life Coach collaborates with an individual to focus on specific areas of personal or professional growth key to achieving desired outcomes that will ultimately lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Life Coaching occurs in a safe and supportive atmosphere and is client-centric and results-oriented. 

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There are many different titles that Life Coaches adopt to reflect their area of specialization or "niche". An Executive Coach, Career Coach, Empowerment Coach and Retirement Coach for example, are all applying the skillset of a Life Coach. Many Life Coaches choose to pick one area of specialization they feel most confident and passionate about, often an area they have personal experience with.  A trained and skilled Life Coach does not however need to be an expert in an area to be effective. In Coaching the client, not the coach, is the expert in their own life.

I'm going to pause here and share that everything I've read says a Life Coach needs to pick a specialization to attract clients and be successful. I'm choosing not to go that route as my goal isn't to maximize the number of clients I have.  My objective is to connect and work with individuals that will benefit the most from a coaching engagement with me. 

While everyone can benefit from working with a Life Coach, here are some common topics often worked through with a Life Coach:

  • Goal setting

  • Values identification and alignment

  • Creating balance

  • Decision making

  • Self development

  • Having difficult conversations

  • Overcoming obstacles

  • Identifying and leveraging strengths

  • Managing change

  • Building self-confidence and dealing with imposter syndrome

At this point you may be thinking that's interesting, but what are the tangible benefits of Life Coaching, does it actually work? Or, you may see Life Coaching as a nice to have, a luxury, that is difficult to justify investing in.  Very valid thoughts that also crossed my mind before I worked with a coach. 

This isn't a sales pitch, and the decision of whether to hire a Life Coach, and who to hire, is absolutely yours to make, but I will make two final points: 

1. Coaching can and will lead to tangible results if you retain a skilled coach that is the right fit for you and if you embrace the experience.  Achieving results from coaching takes effort and the right mindset with both the coach and the client willingly applying themselves for the full benefits to be realized.

2. Life is short. Investing in yourself to help unlock your full potential, realize your  dreams, and lead an overall fulfilling and satisfying life is important. The best version of you is much more capable of success and happiness including career advancement, improved relationships and living an overall better life.

Is it Your Time to Shine?

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