Allison, MBA, Hult International Business School, Shanghai, China
Allison knew where she wanted to be in ten years, but her goals were hazy and she was having trouble connecting them to her day-to-day decisions. After meeting Melissa at a conference, Allison tried coaching, and found her first session so valuable that she stuck with it. With Melissa’s help, Allison — a Canadian — let herself dream big about her ten year goal of working internationally. She narrowed down her options and made the bold decision to complete an international MBA. Now, two years later, Allison has completed her program. It exceeded her expectations for professional development, international exposure, and future opportunities. She reflects on how coaching helped direct her path along the way.
Getting Clear on What I Wanted
Before I started coaching, I knew I had potential, abilities and drive, but I wasn’t fully applying my strengths and skills toward making myself happier. Although I had an idea of where I wanted to be in ten years, it didn’t seem directly connected to what I was doing in everyday life. For three or four years, I had been investigating different ways I could take my life to the next level—like moving to a different city, or going back to school. But none of these options seemed a clear winner.
When I began coaching with Melissa, I started to get super clear on what I wanted. She helped me focus, she asked me thought-provoking questions, and she pushed me just the right amount.
When Melissa listened to me, I could hear myself better: I heard my own answers coming from within me, and Melissa paraphrased my answers back to me in vivid detail.
As our coaching work progressed, I realized that I wasn’t content just dreaming about doing something new in my life. What I really wanted was a job that made me excited to commit for the long haul! And I discovered that my big picture dream was to stay in my current line of business, but to expand it across the globe.
Melissa helped me see that my goal wasn’t impossible – I just needed to take clear and focused steps to work toward it. As we worked together, I found that the more narrowly I defined my goals, the easier it was for me to make decisions about my next steps. I identified that the best next option for me was to go back to school for an MBA, and I started to put the plan in motion.
Discovering What Was Holding Me Back
Making this big decision wasn’t quite as easy as I’ve made it sound in the paragraphs above, though. Although I’ve always been someone who tries to live life to its fullest, along the way to this dream, I ran into the habits I’d been using to sometimes hold myself back. Thankfully, Melissa was there to help me see these habits more clearly and move past them.
For example, I used to look at my spirit of adventure and think, “Everyone wants to backpack through Turkey. Everyone wants to go to school overseas and have an international career. These desires aren’t anything special.”
Melissa told me, “Don’t write yourself off so easily.” She helped me realize I was selling myself short – a pattern that was holding me back. She also helped me realize that I wasn’t even noticing some of my biggest strengths like being bold and not accepting the status quo.
As we worked together, Melissa helped me notice other recurring patterns that weren’t serving me well. Anytime she saw one pop up, she’d point it out and say, “That’s your inner saboteur talking.” Melissa held me accountable for listening to the inner self-talk — for not living my life to its fullest. Now I can recognize my inner critics and say, “This isn’t helping me.”
Melissa taught me how to catch myself, to be aware of my gut feelings, and to take advantage of that split-second opening to decide how I’ll react. I’ve learned that I can keep my thoughts open to options and opportunity instead of getting bogged down.
Choosing A Life I Love
I chose to complete my MBA in Shanghai, which was directly linked to something Melissa had helped me discover: she helped me see that adventure and challenge are very important to me — are really the essence of my being — and that I could make choices to vibrantly live those values.
Once I had determined my own goals and switched my focus to attaining them, I wasn’t distracted by other people’s choices or opinions. In fact, when a resistant friend questioned my decision to study capitalism in China, I heard myself saying, “You’re not supposed to think this is your normal; it’s mine!”
Going through the decision-making process and getting into my program wasn’t easy, but Melissa’s attention to detail helped me stay on track. She helped me tie the steps together and make the process manageable. Sometimes, if I hadn’t completed my homework in time for a coaching call, I did feel uncomfortable. But I wanted accountability, and she kept me on track.
As a result, I moved my life halfway around the world and completed my MBA in Shanghai, and I loved it! My MBA class had eighty-one members. I was surrounded by people who, like me, chose to take a risk and have an adventure. Through these new lifetime friends, I have contacts in thirty-nine countries! My dream of going global in the wine business is suddenly much more attainable – the world has gotten smaller, and my opportunities have become bigger.
The Gifts of Coaching with Melissa
When I think back on my coaching with Melissa, I realize it was a gift to uncover that I was different from the people around me. I no longer feel embarrassed that I was bored with a life that other people loved.
Through coaching, I began to feel more confident than ever before. I strengthened my positive inner voice that continues to shine through the clouds in times of uncertainty. I learned how to connect with my inner wisdom and run with it.
Getting to Shanghai was big. I don’t pat myself on the back too much, but the truth is, I do feel proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish. The excitement of moving toward my goals is what gets me up in the morning.
I’m enjoying my life so much more now that I feel this way! I’m very grateful that, through coaching, I made a friend for life, a friend for improving my life: my coach Melissa.
Would you like to get clear on your strengths, goals, and values, identify and overcome your inner self-talk, and learn how to take clear and actionable steps to move toward what you want? Contact Melissa Creede at firstname.lastname@example.org for a 20-minute consultation, and learn how coaching can help you.
Melissa Creede, P.Eng, CPCC, is an accomplished and results-focused coach who enables individuals and organizations to activate their full potential as leaders. Leveraging her two decades of corporate and consulting experience, she founded Sapis Insight to focus on leadership coaching, career coaching, and facilitation. Melissa has a clear and direct style, and she combines a sense of playfulness with a determination to bring forth your truth, purpose, and motivation. She unwaveringly commits to your best vision of what’s possible, and helps you take practical actions to achieve it.