Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Look Back…

I’ve had four careers (so far). My first was in college administration; my second in health care marketing. Both of those careers preceded a 20-year engagement with a Fortune 500 Company (Steelcase). My fourth and current career is as an executive coach and organizational consultant, with a focus on transformative leadership development. Each career transition, to some degree, was a reinvention of my “self.” 

And, one year ago – on September 17, 2015, to be exact – I made a commitment to, and an investment in, coaching millennials. Many of you know that at the 10-year anniversary celebration of my practice, I launched the Next-Gen Leadership Coaching Experience, a leadership coaching tool that I anticipated selling online. The hope was to reach as broad an audience as possible given that many millennials don’t have access to affordable leadership coaching.

From nearly the onset of the online sales process I learned that potential clients value the tool, but even more, they value me as a coach. So I had to make an early course correction, moving from online sales to selling the tool with real-time coaching from me (with individuals or groups) as an integral part of the package. 

Other unanticipated changes closed some doors, and opened others. I’ve been at this work for over 10 years. Naturally in that time period colleagues I’ve worked with, like me, have become that much older. A bunch of them (not me) decided to transition to another phase of life. Certain work opportunities I had come to cherish and rely on were no longer available to me. But the good news is that it brought me home to focus on my community and the legacy I could leave right here in Grand Rapids, still focusing to a large degree on millennials through my coaching/facilitation with Leading Edge and Cook Leadership Academy

Finally, one of the biggest reinventions impacted my day-to-day work in a very significant way. After being a one-woman show for so long, I decided to “partner” in my business by bringing Leigh in to spearhead the marketing function and support instructional design efforts. 

  • Being connected to social media has helped me see the breadth and depth of people’s capacities – things about them that I wouldn’t have known otherwise, such as their ability to write compelling and insightful blogs about topics of critical importance (, and –  just to share a few). The willingness of people to share their appreciation for others in an open forum, in a way that truly celebrates their existence, is inspiring.
  • Having a co-worker to rely on can be destabilizing at times; I wake up some mornings and wonder if I could ever get used to working on my own again. Who would I turn to when I need to work out a dilemma? Am I more or less strong in my own convictions because I’ve had the joy of daily collaboration?

I’ve been surprised, delighted, and challenged in all four careers so far. I don’t know yet if there’s a fifth career waiting in the wings. Any suggestions?

Posted by webcontempo at 9:17 AM

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