What do you do?
I’m a leadership coach, which means I work with people, mostly in organizations, on their leadership skills.
How long have you been in this field for?
I’ve been working actively with leaders in organizations since 2015, which is when I finished my training and got certified as a coach.
Before that I was career coaching, teaching in universities and colleges, doing communications and marketing for organizations, and playing piano in jazz clubs.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I always wanted to work one-on-one with people, ever since doing a psychology and philosophy degree. I looked at a whole bunch of different modalities – clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, philosophical counselling – before landing on coaching.
What was the biggest hurdle in attaining your career goals?
I think the biggest hurdle for me was committing to a particular career, as opposed to just getting the best work I could find. The difference between work and a career – for me, anyway – is that a career is something you create and nurture on a daily basis, whereas work is just something you do, to make money, or to satisfy other needs (social interaction, status, intellectual stimulation etc.). There’s something incredibly heart-warming about having a career, which came to me late in life and for which I’m very grateful.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy getting to know people as they really are, as opposed to the facade they present to the world. I get to see both their strengths and their weaknesses, as well as their emotional vulnerabilities. I get to walk in their shoes, to feel what it’s like to be them, and that’s fascinating to me. The longer I do this work the more I appreciate how unique everyone is.
What do you find most challenging about your work?
The business side of things. Accounting, business development, scheduling, all that kind of thing. I have a bunch of different relationships that support the business – companies that I deliver coaching through. And all those relationships need to be tended to, both interpersonally and in terms of reporting and tracking systems. That can all feel overwhelming at times, especially as I would far rather be doing other things, like writing (I write a blog for Psychology Today) or working on my own development.
If you weren’t a leadership coach, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a coach I would either be a psychoanalyst or a Buddhist monk.
Name one hobby you have that’s not related to your work.
I was a jazz singer/pianist for many years, and although I no longer play in clubs I still play at home. We also recently took up skiing as a family, which is a new hobby for me. I’d never skied before last year.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Meditate. For the past five years I’ve been meditating every morning. It keeps me sane, or at least more sane than I would otherwise be.
And last thing you do at night?
Read. I used to read more than I do, but I still have at least one and sometimes a couple of books on the go at any time. I’m currently reading Ray Dalio’s Principles.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy your work.
10. As a musician once said, “You don’t pay me to play. I’d do that for free. You pay me for everything I do to get to play.”