After a fair amount of “name paralysis”, I decided to incorporate my new career coaching and consulting business as Soar Strategies, Inc. in early July.
However, it wasn’t until I flew for the first time, post-incorporation, that my name choice was validated by the universe.
I was traveling to Portland, Oregon from Chicago, as I serve as the patient representative for the Women’s Preventive Services Committee, a national group that makes clinical guideline recommendations to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration on various women’s health topics. On the return flight home, I thought about how the name really reflects my approach to coaching:
1. To achieve “lift”, the engines are working at their top power—it is not easy. This is my job as a coach, as I see it—to assist in providing that “lift” for clients. Of course, the client is the “player”, the lift and the engine, but with my questions, support, and (sometimes) challenging, I can provide an extra boost. It is not easy to change your career trajectory, and to do things differently…but I was amazed in that if I looked out the window 2 minutes from takeoff, I couldn’t believe how high the plane had gotten. That’s what happens with good coaching, also.
2. Because I had neglected to make my flight reservations in a timely manner, I was granted with a seat in the very last row, in the middle. I was seated next to two men, with much longer legs than mine. It builds intimacy quickly, when someone’s appendages are in your designated “space”. Coaching is ultimately the building of a relationship, but clients are entrusting us with their dreams, hopes, fears, and challenges usually from the first session—so we have to create that environment of trust, a safe space, and rapport early.
3. Sometimes, in the midst of the coaching experience, you experience a sense of wonder. In the row in front of me, I watched a toddler laugh joyfully as he played with his parents, and it was contagious—he made me smile, too. In coaching, we are privileged to have a front row to clients’ transformation, which is really wondrous, also. He cried a little bit, too, but what I most remember is the laughter.
I thought I would end this article here on a high note, but things are never that simple.
4. Halfway through the flight, we experienced a fair bit of turbulence. After I mentally went through a mini-gratitude review (I was glad my daughter was not on the plane with me; glad that I ate pizza more than 3 hours prior, etc.), the pilot spoke on the intercom and apologized for the bumpiness, but noted that for those on the left side of the aircraft, there was an “electric thunderstorm” below us and that it was one of the beautiful sights he gets to see from time to time from the air. I thought this was a great metaphor for the “hard times” of coaching. Sometimes we say something that doesn’t quite resonate with the client, or don’t get a quick resolve to a big problem in an hour-long session. Our jobs are to call out and wade with our clients through the “messiness”, and, it is beautiful.
Let me help you soar (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).