This month, we sat down with one of my current coaching clients, Georgie Gray, because I thought it would give people a better idea of what goes on in a coaching relationship. She’s a fellow therapist who wasn’t looking for coaching specifically (she was actually doing me a favor) but who was looking for help moving forward in her private practice.
Q: Why did you want coaching?
A: I’d been in private practice for about two years and felt like things were going fine. Then a friend referred me to Joanna, and it seemed like it couldn’t hurt to get outside input. To be honest, I knew she was looking for coaching hours for her certification, so I thought I would give it a try. I felt that I didn’t necessarily need coaching but understood that it might be valuable.
Once I met her, I was excited for it. There’s so much to learn about myself, my clients, marketing my skills (identifying my skills!). Joanna’s curiosity and energy sparked me to see my business in a new way and to want to improve myself personally and professionally.
Q: Why did you want Joanna to coach you?
I felt a connection with Joanna right away. She’s funny, warm, and incredibly smart. She creates an environment in which it feels safe to take a risk, safe to explore personal roadblocks. Our work is challenging but never onerous. I’m always eager to come to my coaching sessions.
Having been in both therapy and coaching, I can honestly say I’ve made more progress in coaching than in some of the therapy I’ve been in.
Q: Did you have any expectations?
I expected that coaching would be dry and boring — it’s not!
Q: What do you like best about her coaching?
I feel challenged but supported. I feel like Joanna has the perfect balance of high expectations for me and acceptance of my pace. She recognizes when I’m avoiding a challenge, and we explore why and, more importantly, how to pivot toward what I want and what’s important. Her coaching is forward focused but not prescriptive, and it’s not just making an action plan.
I think her extensive experience as a therapist is invaluable helping people do things they’re scared of doing and stop doing things they’re scared to stop. My fears about not being expert enough, of putting myself out there professionally — there were so many — were holding me back. From our work, I’ve been taking risks and growing in ways I haven’t in decades. We know where I want to go, and we come up with the process by which I can get there. I feel like Joanna really cares about me and my progress.
I leave my appointments with specific work to do. It might be rewriting my bio “as if” I was embodying my professional voice, it might be paying attention to how I physically show up in meetings, or it may be taking speaking engagements. Coaching with her is not theoretical. It’s practical and targeted. Change happens because she helps me identify goals and manageable steps toward them.
Q: How has her coaching helped you? If you can give some specific examples, that would be great!
Joanna helped me see my blind spots.
I was holding myself back from success in some big ways, because I was terrified of public speaking and was keeping myself comfortable by avoiding opportunities where I would have to push myself. The downside was feeling like my voice didn’t matter and that I couldn’t see myself as the expert I needed to be in order to grow my business. Through a sequence of steps, I was able to progress into greater speaking roles, even when I was incredibly uncomfortable, to fulfill the greater goal of building my confidence and voice. Before working with Joanna, I knew theoretically that I needed to do it but didn’t have the tools for taking risks and for coping with the discomfort that comes with growing.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
I came to Joanna for business coaching, but the skills translate beautifully to my personal life. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve challenged myself. I have new skills for dealing with situations that have been hard for me in the past. I no longer avoid risk — I figure out how to take it on.