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Spinning my Wheels

My car spun out on the Gardiner on a snowy winter night. When it stopped turning, I faced the Boulevard Club. My heart thudded painfully. I asked myself, “What am I doing?”

I had left our young kids with a friend and drove to work downtown late in the day because I had to calculate bonus payouts on a tight deadline. Around 11 p.m. I closed shop, exhausted, and left.

Each lane of the Gardiner had grooves created by car tires with snow almost a foot high in between. I had to change lanes to exit the highway. As I shifted from one lane to the next, my sedan “floated” on the snow and began spinning. I felt terrified. I could only pray that no one hit me from behind or beside. Thankfully, no one did.

But now I was parked sideways looking at the Boulevard Club.

Little “a”

In coaching, a client presents a query or discussion point at the start of the session for which he/she wants clarity by the session’s end. This is the little “a” which is shorthand for “agenda.” The presenting problem becomes the topic of the session. By the end of the session, the client creates a plan of action or gets homework related to further reflection.

Big “A”

Big A refers to the overarching agenda of the client. It is the main reason they wanted coaching and usually represents some greater understanding they seek which will result in self-awareness and growth. In career coaching, this takes the form of finding their career purpose, creating a leadership style, or improving their productivity and/or business skills.

Big A and Little A in action

Let’s say a client had a difficult interaction with her boss and wants to review what happened and how she could handle it differently in the future. That’s the topic of the session, the little a. The big A for her is developing leadership skills as she wants to move into a more senior role.

Here are three ways we might address the little a in a session:

  1. We may investigate her saboteurs and how they affected the interaction;
  2. We could conduct an exercise to view the topic from different perspectives before brainstorming some new solutions;
  3. We might explore the feelings that came up in that interaction to release them and regain lost energy.

We address the client’s Big A on leadership by using little a as an example. She may come to realize her Judge saboteur emerges when she feels threatened or that her negative view of her boss affects her interactions with her or that she bottles up her emotions at work. 

All these viewpoints are valuable in understanding leadership. With awareness of how she reacts in this situation, she can find better ways of responding in future situations. Ways that identify her as a leader.

The Boulevard Club

That snowy night was a come-to-Jesus moment.

I was spinning my wheels.

My Little a was what happened on the Gardiner. I realized the current working scenario was unsustainable. I quit the next day.

My Big A was prioritizing what was important. I thought I could have it all. What I learned was, I could have it all … but not all at once.

Header Photo by White Field Photo on Unsplash, Photo by Jakob Rosen on Unsplash, Photo by kevin turcios on Unsplash

In the story arc of our lives, each of us has our Big A which shifts over time as we grow. Our little a’s act as assignments – homework – to make sure we remember the big picture. What’s your Big A?

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.

MM

I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.

MO

Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.

LE

I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!

VB

Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.

MM

I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.

MO

Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.

LE

Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.

LM

Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.

CP

From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.

AG

Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.

VB

I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.

OS