medium post #1: how i started a coaching practice

last year was a good but tough year. a mentor of mine says i was going through the end of one 7 year cycle and starting up the next. in a period of just a few months i left my job, ended a six-year romantic relationship, and moved across town. as meg jay would say, there are three significant areas that we make critical decisions in: what we do to sustain ourselves (work), who we spend our time with (friends and lovers), and where we choose to spend our time and resources (location). i had big shifts in all three.

at one point during all this, i realized that i was going to need something to fill in an economic gap. so i started thinking to myself (collins style): what’s my hedgehog (link to post about my organizing tools) right now?

as i reflected, i kept coming back to moments where people had said things to me like:

those ways of being in the world come from very specific phases of life, most notably my time at mit and especially my masters thesis days. i won’t bore you with the details of that here, but suffice it to say that my organizational skills leveled up (and if the details won’t bore you, i’ve written about how it all went down over here). the learning there continued into me continuing to learn and read about personal systems and things of that nature.

so at this point i was thinking that sharing my knowledge about how to get more things done while still feeling good could be pretty helpful to folks. and it was great because i didn’t need to rely on anyone but myself to do it. i knew that, in the long run, i didn’t want that (soloness) to be a defining feature of my work, but during this moment of extreme transition, being able to be economically light on my feet felt necessary.

but then i had to figure out how to share this knowledge with people in a way that made sense. among a few different indicators, the fact that i had been a mentor for so many years stuck out pretty strongly. starting back in my youth group days, it was impressed on us that being mentored and mentoring was an important part of spiritual growth. i’d be mentoring (discipling was i think the term we used) up to four guys at a time for 3-4 years and i really loved those days. from time to time i really miss those guys and those days still. but i knew from that experience, which was sort of like training, that i really enjoyed connecting with people 1on1 and seeing and supporting change over time.

and thus my idea of 1on1 productivity coaching was born. i started putting the idea out to a few friends (really like three people) and one of them, my good friend erin, was interested. we grabbed beers a few times to hash out the details and then got started with our first session (speaking of, now that it’s been almost a year, i should probably circle back around with him and see if anything from our sessions is still sticking).

and that’s basically the story as i see it today.

ok. so why am i sharing this here? a few reasons:

  1. to make transparent (including to myself) how i understand the story about my beginning this work.

  2. to inspire other people who are at similar life moments.

  3. as a foundation on which to share more things in the future.

the more i do it, the more i can see how this could be an important part of my life in the long-run and so it feels critical to start publicly telling the story of this work as it goes along.

if you’re interested in me and/or my thoughts on this stuff (transformational coaching, showing your work, whatever else you want to call this), you can get it in even rawer form via my blog (which i write unedited draft posts on almost daily), get my blog via your inbox, or check you can sign up for my weekly(ish) newsletter.

next post, a step inside my shadow calendar (one of my latest experiments)…

ps - thanks, julian for the nudge to write about that.

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