What I’ve Done

I started coaching in 1989 – how I got there is a long story available on request.  My mentors were Henry Kimsey House, who founded The Coaches Training Institute and Thomas Leonard who founded Coach University, The International Coach Federation and Coachville.

Since then I have coached hundreds of individuals and managed other coaches to coach thousands of people in hundreds of companies.

My goal in the early 1990’s was to help make coaching a viable and recognized profession. Fedex has made fun of life coaches in one of their ad campaigns, and “life coach” was used as a punch line on a show on NPR.  Dubious success, but proof that the goal has actually been achieved.

In the pursuit of the goal, I was an original founder of Coach University, on its Advisory Board for the first four years, an author of some of its content, and one its original Master Course Leaders.  I am a founder of the International Coach Federation, was on its original board for six years and served as VP of Professional Development.  I served on the credentialing application review committee for three years.

In 1994 I started one of the first coaching companies, Straightline Coaching, training and managing other coaches in my area of expertise; coaching the creative genius.

Side note:  My definition of creative genius – a person who creates something original and productive from an existing object or idea.  Supported by Immanuel Kant’s Kant’s Critique of Judgment, translated with Introduction and Notes by J.H. Bernard (2nd ed. revised) (London: Macmillan, 1914)

We worked with artists, entrepreneurs, inventors; people with absurdly high IQ’s had trouble navigating the nuts and bolts of the practical world.  My coach during this critical time was Shirley Anderson.

In 1995 I worked with The Ariel Group, an experiential leadership development company to create The Manager as Coach – a coaching skills program for managers.  We led that class all over the globe in companies like The Boston Consulting Group, Forrester Research, and Capital One.  I coached those leaders to be more effective coaches in some of the toughest corporate environments in the world.

In 1998 I worked with Peter Bregman at Bregman Partners to roll out coaching to support a new online performance management program for all of Goldman Sachs IT (that’s 2100 worldwide) .  The entire IT department was in a frantic state as it prepared for Y2K.  Remember that? Well those people were prepared for planes to fall out of the sky.  Thank God they didn’t.

In 2000 Scott Blanchard and I teamed up to start a new coaching company that leveraged technology, Coaching.com.  We developed an innovative internet application that supported clients, coaches and administrators of large scale coaching – there is still nothing else like it to this day.  The company was acquired by The Ken Blanchard Companies in 2002 and I led Blanchard Coaching to be a leader in large scale global coaching program implementation.

2003 – Launched Coaching Essentials for Leaders the Blanchard Coaching Skills Product which has been translated into multiple languages and is used all over the globe.  A sustainability product 21 Days to Integrating Coaching Into Your Leadership Style was released in 2009.

2004 – Published Leverage Your Best; Ditch the Rest (William Morrow)  with Scott Blanchard.

2008 – Published Coaching in Organizations; Best Practices from The Ken Blanchard Companies (Wiley) with Linda Miller.

2009 – Co-Authored Leading at A Higher Level with Ken Blanchard and The Founders of The Ken Blanchard Companies (FT Press)

2009/2010 – EVP of Content Development for Blanchard Certified, a new self-paced leadership development certification available to public in Fall 2010.

And what really matters?

My proudest accomplishment is being a decent parent to my four children.  Given that I am impatient and judgmental I have been worried that I am too harsh to be a nice mommy.   Also, I love my work and have built a career that has required endless hours and a lot of travel – goodness, the guilt.  Never the less, I seem to be muddling through with the considerable help of my first and current husband.

I also proud of my marriages – the first to a lovely funny, talented man lasted about twenty years and ended very well; my second is a source of tremendous joy.

My relationships with my sister and my friends sustain me, although I often feel that I fail them all – the research does show that working moms sacrifice their girlfriend time.

Finally, every day I practice being a better person by working on what I call my grace project.  I strive to be disciplined, thoughtful, patient and kind though none of these qualities come naturally to me.

Who I am

My naughty rebellious soul was shaped by the Catholic Church and the Theatre.

From the Church I learned that power belongs to those who take it.  The idea that I might be forgiven for my sins was so appealing and comforting. My ultimate lesson from the Church is that all is not what it appears to be.

From the Theatre I learned to say “yes;” with yes there is engagement, conflict, risk, action and possibility. The yes pushes me into action, in the face of dread and terror.  The yes invites and welcomes the gifts of others to grow and thrive in my company.  Theatre is also a training ground for the acquisition of discipline; showing up for the audition when tired and hungry.  Preparing new material for a slimmest chance of a job. Rehearsing when it has gone beyond tedium.  That the show must go on is not a myth.

Another great gift I got from the theatre is that when all else fails, if you act ‘as if’ people will be inclined to go with it. They won’t know that you’ve forgotten your shoes, if you act like the character was meant to be barefoot.  They won’t know you are the understudy if you act like a star.

The great paradoxes in both arenas continue to inform my current life and work: The need to have an inviolable structure co-exist with the need to be utterly present and open to anything that appears; the absolute sanctity of authenticity under pressure. Grace as the ultimate tool for navigating the unknown.

Another parallel between the Church, the Theatre and Leadership is they all extend the invitation to participate and be changed.  They rely on the creation of intimacy of the self with something outside of and greater than the self.  They inspire willingness in their audiences to consider the deepest parts of themselves and recognize what is most true in the context of their realities and circumstances.

I am compelled to strive for freedom from dogma, rigidity and rules which fall away and leave choice and responsibility.