So, What Am I Doing Now?

June 8, 2007

I started this blog in January when Barbara Sher challenged her e-mail list to start taking steps towards career change, make a public declaration, and keep people updated by using a blog. She helps people at all stages of career change, trying to find what it is you want to do, learning how to make a career out of a passion, getting training, education, or work experience to help decide, and figuring out the steps to leave a stable job slowly without causing financial crisis.

I had already decided my trial year of therapy with foster kids wasn’t for me and I was wrapping up that practice. I knew I wanted to do positive counseling and thought coaching sounded pretty much like that to me. I knew I wanted to work with people in life transitions, especially looking for enjoyable and meaningful work, and with people who want to improve their skills working with children, including parents and teachers and caregivers.

So now I’m starting my sixth month of actively changing to a new career. Seems like I should be pretty much done by now but I’m not there yet.

I signed up for the coaching training through MentorCoach and have enjoyed discovering that, so far, coaching IS mostly positive counseling with a few important differences. I set up 2 practice clients early on, but am only able to work regularly with one because of schedule complications and other inconsistencies in my practice client’s life. Hey, maybe if we had worked together more than once I could have helped him overcome those obstacles!

I’ve been volunteering time working as a consultant with a minister of a smaller church who sees growth but wants to keep his church moving forward. We have focused on building stronger relationships among the congregants and how to develop community groups they will attend and enjoy. I developed a survey which we sent out and we’ve gotten 20-something responses so far. Consultation has involved offering information, brainstorming, and surveying others for their input, and I’ve learned I like doing those things to balance out the one-sided nature of coaching.

I learned, thanks to self-discovery exercises from Barbara Sher and from Valerie Young, that I enjoy community, the feeling of connection and belonging among people in groups. I love mentorship, which I define as a dynamic relationship with a person or group of people for the purpose of guiding the process of personal growth and development through self-discovery and shared knowledge, wisdom, and experience. I get jazzed by the idea of helping people develop mentorship skills to build connection and belonging in different kinds of groups and to bring unconnected and lonely people into thriving communities.

I know how to use QuickBooks. I’m ready to start getting paid and tracking those accounts—almost. I have a PayPal account but I don’t know how to process a credit card payment yet. I’m eager to get to the point where I need to learn.

I realized from the guidance and comments of coaches and others learning about coaching that I need to focus initial marketing on my community instead of a broad internet audience. I was stuck for a while wondering how I could come up with enough interesting material to be able to put out a monthly newsletter that would get people to sign up. And I was stuck wondering how to convert the newsletter list to a few paying clients. Now I see that’s a little bit down the road and my first focus should be on introducing myself to people in my community who might need coaching services or know people who do. Most importantly, I realized that speaking in front of groups is probably a good way to get a few initial referrals, and that although I complain that I don’t want to speak to groups I actually feel comfortable doing it. It’s the preparation where I’m worrying about what to say that’s the hard part.

This twisty road is still twisty, but I have many more suggestions about places to visit in my journey. I can’t head straight for any of them because I’m not sure of the route, but eventually I get there, and I find many more interesting places along the way.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

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