By Shemika Dixon
I met Coach Toni at the beginning of my journey to become a coach. I had no idea then, the power of a good coach, how coaching could set me free and empower me to become more myself.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I enrolled in a life/leadership coach credentialing program. The program was a way for me to use my spare time while working from home and add a valuable skillset to my resume. In the course, Coach Toni was my peer-to-peer coaching teammate. In one of our short training sessions, she helped me identify a fixed mindset holding me hostage in a profession and career that had run its course.
Active-duty military at the time, I was toying with the idea of retirement. However, the fear of “not having enough” financially kept me from taking any real steps towards leaving the service. In our session, Coach Toni asked a series of thought-provoking questions around my idea of “enough.” Her line of questioning helped me gain awareness of my fixed thinking then empowered me to question my belief system around financial stability. In doing so, I realized the fears I carried were projections from others and not truly my own. Together, we developed action steps and benchmarks that ultimately gave me the confidence I needed to make a career transition.
Over the past year, Coach Toni and I continued our coaching relationship. With her support I confidently applied for retirement and have successfully made the transition into the non-profit sector doing work that aligns with my true purpose in life. I am forever grateful!
I find myself missing strangers as our country reaches an epic milestone – one year of social distancing. How about you? As a medical reserve volunteer in emergencies, I get deployed to PODS, point of dispensing centers. These are places in the community where medical countermeasures, such as vaccines, are used during a public health emergency. I have been volunteering in the medical reserve corps as a public health professional since Superstorm Sandy. This interest in strangers and the volunteer work is aligned with my strength, identified by the Clifton Strengths assessment, Woo. Woo stands for winning others over. “People exceptionally talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over.” I am especially tuned into my strengths because I use the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment to coach clients to achieve peak performance. What is so incredible here is how I serve as an outstanding team member. When the roles are being given out at the POD, “Ok, who would like to greet and direct people as they come in?” My hand goes up so fast because I know this is me. Woo is here! The future is uncertain. To give you some semblance of control over the rest of your life, use your strengths. Transform your great potential in only a few hours, discover your strengths and learn how to use them so you can thrive. I can help.
In the seventeenth century, the French statesman Cardinal Richelieu relied heavily on the advice of Father François Leclerc du Tremblay, known as France’s éminence grise for his gray monk’s habit. Like the famous cardinal, today’s business leaders have their gray eminences. But these advisers aren’t monks bound by a vow of poverty. They’re usually called executive coaches, and they can earn up to $3,500 an hour.
Once upon a time, most people began successful careers by developing expertise in a technical, functional, or professional domain. Doing your job well meant having the right answers. If you could prove yourself that way, you’d rise up the ladder and eventually move into people management—at which point you had to ensure that your subordinates had those same answers.