Sometimes Your Biggest Hurdle Is You

Coaching tip: Take a good look at yourself

The only real success a coach can have is witnessing a client figure out what makes her truly happy and finding the courage to go after it. This happened with a woman whom I’ll call “Lisa” because it’s unethical to reveal the real names of clients.

Lisa grew up in a household that did not encourage or praise her. Her parents behaved like victims of life. In school, she was an easy target for bullies. She married young to a man even more damaged than she was.

As an adult, Lisa spent many years in therapy recovering from the emotional and mental trauma of her childhood and marriage. Lisa carried deeply rooted feelings of inferiority. Despite her intelligence and articulate speech, she had a hard time looking others directly in their eyes. Whenever doing so, if their gaze seemed disconnected or uninterested, Lisa took it personally.

Lisa came to me as a referral from a mutual contact. She was at a crossroads professionally and personally. Her job, which she had endured for more than three years, was the source of a lot of stress that made an existing illness even worse.

She was remarried and didn’t want her job to interfere with this supportive, loving, treasured relationship. Lisa decided to seek help with a coach despite a limited budget. She proved to be an ideal client. She showed up to each coaching session on time, homework assignments completed, totally engaged, and fully transparent. We established clarity as to the environment, culture, and values necessary in a workplace for her not only to exist but also to thrive.

Money was not the goal. “A life on purpose and with purpose” was the priority. Slowly, the leader that always existed inside of Lisa was identified and given permission to emerge. Lisa found her voice. She asked for help and expressed her needs, which led her to a part-time job that also allowed her to grow her first small business. Both are in alignment with her life purpose, value system, and culture.

When do you know your client has arrived in her new-and-improved form of sustainable change? Recently, at a convention for the franchise she purchased, Lisa walked with her head high, made direct eye contact with both national leaders, and introduced herself without pause.

Lisa is enthusiastic and optimistic about her life now. She is planning her dream of becoming one of those national leaders. I believe she will do it. She’s gets it now. She was always enough.


By Donna J. Spina