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What Can Coaching Do for You?

by | Jun 7, 2023 | What is Coaching

Written by Lee Bodkin

Coaching is having a moment. In 2022, the NY Times ran five articles on various types of coaching including health, spirituality, relationships, and business. Once viewed with skepticism, coaching has evolved into a highly-respected and impactful practice that can amplify change and help us move our lives forward in meaningful ways. 

And yet, many have no idea what coaching is or what it can do for them. Up until two years ago, I was one of those people. During a challenging life transition that left me feeling paralyzed, a friend offered to coach me. That session changed my life. At 59, covid was the cold north wind that came knocking on my door. 

Two months into the pandemic, I was let go from my ‘reliable’ job. One year later, I was still unemployed and forced to move out of the rental I had shared with my ex-husband for 10 years. Admittedly, my life was poised for a shake-up, but nothing had prepared me for the upheaval I experienced.

With few options available, I packed up and left the small town where we’d raised our three children—now grown and flown—and moved home to Maine.

Staying with family, I began the process of rebuilding my life. Despite my efforts to appear calm, the anxiety running behind my brave face was overwhelming. Each day I awoke with fearful energy pulsing through my body – knowing that my age was now a factor in securing work. I considered contacting my old therapist, however, excavating my past didn’t feel right. Instead, I reached out to an acquaintance, who’d recently become a Human Potential Coach. A few days later, as I sat face-to-face on Zoom with Carole, her calming presence put me at ease as I unpacked the past few months.

Carole listened compassionately and reflected back what I was expressing. She then asked, “What would be most helpful for you to take away from our time together today?” I had no idea. Putting my life back together felt overwhelming. Sensing the emotion behind my words, she invited me to close my eyes and see what I was feeling in my body. Sitting in silence, my inner storm settled and Carole asked, “What do you need in this moment to move your life forward Lee?”

As I sat there, facing the computer screen with my eyes closed, the word ‘community’ percolated up — a vital part of what I’d left behind. Carole then helped me brainstorm ideas, identify my resources, and come up with a plan. She did not give me advice but guided me to find my solution.

The conversation shifted to specific steps I would take to build my network of support. It was concrete and actionable — generating purpose and forward motion at a moment when the prospect of rebuilding my life felt insurmountable. Within days, I had reached out to three people and arranged to get together.

Two years later, I recognized the power and value of that pivotal moment. A 45-minute session enabled me to share my feelings with an empathetic coach, identify what I needed, and develop concrete steps to move my life forward. Most important, I shifted from feeling disorganized and fearful—to an empowered state.

It was clear to me that coaching offered something very different than therapy. While both relationships are based on trust and connection, a coach provides a space for emotions to surface—in service to moving forward in the present moment, not the past. That experience had an enormous impact on my life.; soon after, two job offers came in and I began training to become a coach.

Today, I coach emerging leaders and women in transition. No matter how great the challenge, goal, or dream may be, change begins by taking the first step. Whether we get to that point by force or by choice, having a coach in your corner to support, guide, and challenge you can accelerate the process of growth and development.

Because none of us are meant to make this journey alone.