Hiring a life coach was my best decision this spring

I admit when I first started, a part of me felt that getting a life coach might be hokey and questioned whether I’d be doing exercises like walking barefoot over hot coals and repeating positive mantras in the mirror. The larger part of me though was more pragmatic: having a coach should make this self-analysis more efficient, help direct me toward forward momentum and hopefully as an outsider see something that I’ve been blind to for ages. Without a coach, I feared I might end up naval-gazing to the extreme, potentially ending up wallowing in self-doubt, negativity, and guilt in wasting time ‘searching for myself’.  So I decided to take the plunge and invest in the time , money and energy with her.

Now as I wrap up my last session with my coach,  I have a bunch of various emotions:

  • Powerful with self-knowledge—Sure I knew what kind of core values were important to me, what kind of personality I have, what things I’m good at, etc. The real leap forward was her guiding me to clearly articulate what is most important to me, and helping me see how all these pieces interact and impact all areas of my life. I know now what demands are non-negotiable because of the significant impacts to the other areas of my life, and which ones are more flexible.
  • Proud—to have come through the series of sessions with some firm decisions made about my career.
  • Thankful—for such a supportive husband, enabling me to invest this time and money in myself.
  • Brave—about the future.  Yes the path forward is new and uncomfortable with a potential for failure, but with the clarity of what I’ve learned and the security of support from my hubby T, I am brave enough to embark on the change.
  • Wistful— that our sessions are now over.

As I’ve been sharing my experiences with friends and colleagues, some common questions came up so I thought I’d answer them here.

How did you find your coach?
Back in April I was having lunch with a friend. I was discussing my anxiety over this upcoming period of self-analysis when he mentioned that he had someone in his network that is a life coach — Janice Cunning. She identifies herself as a Joy Coach, in fact. So he connected us and fortunately she had availability in her roster to take new clients immediately.

After I met with her, I felt really comfortable and got a sense that she could guide me in my quest to articulate what it is I want. I found Janice to be an extremely effective listener and from her replaying back to me the themes and points she picked up from our conversation was really insightful in how it really helped distill for me certain things.

What does a joy coach/life coach do?
A life coach is not a career coach in the manner of supporting you to achieve a clearly defined career goal, such as reviewing your resume, role playing situations to prep for some encounter, or counselling next steps for marketing yourself.

Her area of focus is working with people to help them understand their own core values and how they can use that knowledge to make goals and decisions that support those values and thus be able to live according to their true self (and therefore have a joyful life). Typing this out it does sound a little hokey, but like anything else in life it’s what you put into it and decide to take out of it that will make it worthwhile or not.

Did she help you succeed in figuring out what it is you will be doing next?
Yes. Janice was able to give me structure in my self-analysis, and I always felt like it was working toward the goal of concrete decisions and actions, so it didn’t just feel like naval gazing. In analogous terms to our work world, she was like a project manager, guiding me to set my goals, and for keeping me on track towards the goal I set at the beginning.
You are a self-aware person and very intelligent. Did you really need a life coach to figure things out that seem pretty obvious to me? Couldn’t you work through things with your husband/family/close friends?
I’m not saying that I couldn’t have come to the same conclusions or realizations on my own or through other methods (readings, self-help books, whatnot), but I think what she’s been able to do is really accelerate the process for me. She has a structure to the overall suite of sessions, so there is a sense of progress towards something, not just getting together and chatting for the 45min to an hour. She asked insightful, probing questions that I had not considered that guided me forward.

I also really enjoyed her abilities to offer alternative way to think of a situation, and aim to spread positivity. An example exchange in our last call:

Me: “I’ve really enjoyed these last six months investing in myself, after neglecting my needs in favour of work or my children for so many years. It’s been nice being selfish for a change.”

Janice: “I challenge you to reframe that thought, and think of your spending this time as being ‘self-full’. I know it’s not a real word per se, but the word ‘selfish’ has negative connotations and you shouldn’t feel bad about what you’ve accomplished with this time.”

I’m lucky that my husband T is so supportive, thoughtful, and loving. I do feel that I can talk to him about anything. That being said, Janice being an impartial third-party made it more freeing to talk to her. She has no biases, no vested interest in the outcome and how it impacts our ongoing family/friends dynamic. She’s trained and experienced in the type of questioning that is most effective for different people. Also, she’s devoting all her attention to me in that session. If I were to use T, or other family/friends, life often gets in the way to distract away from the conversation at hand.

Would you recommend your coach?

Absolutely! Janice Cunning is amazing. You can find her at http://www.janicecunning.com/. Sessions are usually done over the phone, so you can be located anywhere. If you meet her and you don’t click (although I don’t know how that’s possible), or she has a full roster and can’t take on new clients, she has a network of other coaches that I would trust on her recommendation.


In the end, I am able to articulate what is most important of my personal values, and then use that as a framework to evaluate what my choices are, or even come up with new choices. Being able to articulate this has given me a whole lot of power and courage.

Thank you Janice, having you as my joy coach has been the best decision I made this past spring. I wonder if you’d be willing to offer a refresher some years down the road? 🙂

~Jen

 

4 thoughts on “Hiring a life coach was my best decision this spring”

  1. Jennifer – it was a complete joy to work with you. Your words are beautiful and I am touched by them.

  2. Hi Jen,
    Janice, a friend & colleague, forwarded the link to your blog. What a nicely and well-written blog of your experience with Janice and with the questions of your life. A powerful acknowledgment of Janice, as well as a testimonial for the coaching profession as well. Thanks for sharing it.
    Shelley
    ps. I love your Haiku too!!

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