In the month of December, I have decided to write from more of a personal perspective rather than about my normal topics of diversity and career development. In this blog, I want to recognize the recent tremendous impact of some outstanding coaches in different areas of my life.
What is a coach? Instead of quoting Webster’s dictionary, I want to offer my own definition. To me, a coach is someone who instructs, prompts and inspires a person to achieve aggressive results and maximize accomplishments in a targeted area.
During my long career, I had some great managers, mentors and sponsors, but it has only been in the past few years where I am understood the role and value of engaging various people in the true role of a coach. Let me discuss four coaches who have greatly assisted me in achieving goals in the areas of business, sports and personal health and well-being.
BUSINESS: I have actually had two coaches, with two very different personalities and styles, to assist me in starting Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer after my 31-year IBM career. Initially upon retiring from IBM, Right Management provided me with vocational transition coach Vickie Bevenour of RDW – Results Driven from Within. She inspired me with her own example of leaving corporate America to successfully forge her path as an entrepreneur. She was a tough coach who taught me that discipline and planning were key to starting and running a business. She gives her students rigorous homework assignments so we uncover the steps we need to take to succeed, but also provides warmth and encouragement that inspires.
I later transitioned to a second coach, Nancy Heller currently with Right Management, who has a soft-spoken almost laid back style. She has a creative mind and she frequently challenges me to look at business issues in different ways to find innovative solutions I would not have noticed without her coaching. And like Vickie, she always offers an encouraging word which inspires me to work harder. The mix of two different style coaches in the business area I believe led to the best possible results!
SPORTS: Five months ago I decided to move from being a spectator to a participant in a sport I really enjoy – figure skating. I sought a coach who was willing to take on a relatively old adult starting with no experience. My skating coach is Paula McKinley of the Central Carolina Skating Club in Hillsborough, NC. She has patiently worked with me from my first shaky steps on the ice to teach me correct form and basics, and she skillfully deduced how fast to push me so I could grow and achieve without being discouraged. Because of her, I have developed the basic skills and gained confidence on the ice and now discovered I love skating with a new-found exciting passion that has even surprised myself! I am having the time of my life – look for more about my skating journey in my next blog titled “Finding and Pursuing a New Passion!”
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: Because of hunching over a computer for hours at end year after year at work, I have developed some physical issues in my shoulders and upper arms. My physician referred me to physical therapy with the Trinity Wellness Center in Raleigh. I view my outstanding and cheerful physical therapist Caitlin Espy as more than a physical therapist; I recently told her that I consider her as more of a health and strength coach! She has been so helpful is helping me understand that physical therapy is a process where things improve over a longer period of time with diligence and exercise … it’s not like taking a pill where a medical issue is gone in day or two. She assigns me a few new and increasingly difficult exercises each session, along with cheerful encouragement, resulting in increasing upper body strength and mobility.
So … thank you Vickie, Helen, Paula and Caitlin – my life is so enriched in many aspects through these four wonderful coaches!