How My Coach Helped Me To Help Myself
Ezra VP Ali Frischman talks about her experience of getting openly emotional during coaching sessions, and what real organizational support looks like for those going through career transitions.
In my very first meetings with two different business coaches, I became emotional both times—but for very different reasons.
My first experience with a formal coach was about five years ago. After working as Spanish teacher, I was settling in to “life in Corporate America.” I felt lost, overwhelmed, and unsure of myself. While many of the skills I had acquired in my teaching career were translatable to my new role, the office environment was completely new to me.
I had seen one external coach in particular visit our office and meet with a handful my colleagues. Even though I was extremely junior, I asked to meet with him. Much to my surprise, HR helped me coordinate schedules to be able to get set up to meet with him in a few weeks.
In our first meeting, we said hello, shook hands, found an empty office and then sat down for a 45-minute session. I had not been “set up” for this experience, did not quite know much about this man or what to expect, and I ultimately became extremely emotional.
This was not the result of anything the coach said or did. (In fact, years later, he became a huge mentor to me and still is to this day.) At the time, however, I was unprepared for the interaction and left the meeting feeling frustrated and upset.
Fast forward a few years. I was with a different but extremely supportive company that placed deep value on talent development and offered coaching as a support tool. When I was offered a chance to engage with a coach of my own, I was thrilled.
Fortunately, this experience was entirely different from the one years prior.
This time, the coaching experience was to be delivered virtually via an app on my phone, which was great because we were all in full pandemic mode and working remotely. I received an email with login information, downloaded the app on my phone, and I was in.
I was presented with a brief list of development goals to consider, chose three to focus on, and then was shown three different coaches that aligned to my needs. Right away I could see that this was going to be different. I wasn’t just assigned to a single coach, suddenly I had options!
After reading their bios (which gave me great insight into their professional experience, coaching philosophy, and who they were as people) and watching short video clips of each of them introducing themselves, I made my selection. Just like making a reservation at restaurant, I was presented with a variety of dates and times that my coach was available. I found a slot for the very next day, scheduled it with the click of a button, and it was immediately logged on my Outlook calendar. SO EASY!
The next day, in the comfort of my home, I sat in a comfy chair, opened the app and greeted my new coach. Let me tell you, the 45 minutes flew by.
Once again, I became emotional. This time, however, it was not out of frustration or confusion but a feeling of pure joy. I felt an immediate connection to this woman. In our initial encounter, she made me feel more seen, heard, and understood than I had ever felt before. I knew that this was the coaching experience I had longed for.
Over the coming months, I had unlimited access to her and could schedule as many sessions as I wished. (I ended up averaging about one session per week, which would have been unheard of with traditional coaching solutions.) My coach helped me help myself, find my true values, and take the next step in my career. It was truly life changing.
So, I ask you, which experience would you have preferred? What does support at your organization look like?
Ezra has redesigned leadership coaching for the digital age to transform your company’s workforce through affordable, scalable and high-impact solutions that promote equitable access through our world-class coaching app. Find out today how everyone can be better with a coach.