Testimonials Help Transitions

Fall equinox marks more than the changing of seasons for many parents.  With kids back in school and a solid routine in place, we have more time to take care of ourselves and refocus our energy on our goals. I typically welcome this time to invigorate my coaching practice.  This year, however, as I began planning workshops, speaking engagements and accepting more clients, I felt a sense of doubt that I was still a good coach.

I’ve had doubts about my effectiveness as a coach before and a few public speaking-induced panic attacks, but I can usually quiet these fears with practices of gratitude, running and yoga.  This time my doubts led me into a downward spiral that no amount of running could pull me from. It began with me itemizing all the tasks that were not accomplished this summer and ended with my general lack of inspiration.  Finally, after a week of stretching simple tasks over a half-day’s time, I decided that I needed a new tool to ground myself into coaching.   I needed to remember the reason I became a coach in the first place and more generally focus on what was going well.

I became a coach to help people make small positive changes that directly impact the quality of their lives and help sustain their growth into the fullest expression of who they are. As I effect change in an individual or a small group, the benefits of those small changes resonate out to a larger organization, family system or community.  Knowing this brings me great joy.

In the interest of getting in touch with that joy, I decided to read over some testimonials that I have collected over the years. To my delight, I was immediately transformed by reading these statements. I was as inspired by my clients as they were by me. I just kept thinking, “Wow, I have worked with some amazing people!”

Reading these testimonials became like a dance.  My clients were seeing things in me that I couldn’t see in myself and I in them. By trusting each other to share deeply and make real changes, we found something in our coaching sessions that was greater than each of us individually.

I would like to encourage all of you to use this simple exercise.  Whenever you find yourself stuck in a rut or experiencing doubts about your effectiveness in life, remember to focus on what is working with a little help from your colleagues and friends.  Here’s how:

  1. Create a list of clients, colleagues, teachers, neighbors, fellow volunteers, etc. that you feel comfortable contacting.
  1. Ask them following question: “I would like to know what my best supporters enjoy about working with me.  A quick response off the top of your head is best!”
  1. Enjoy reading the answers.


Note: You can tailor the question as you see fit.  You are looking for the impact or effect that working with you had on them.  Allow them to use spontaneity by giving an open-ended request.



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