I exchanged emails with Deb Griest, ACC months ago in hopes of putting together a profile on her and her practice. With classes starting in less than two weeks, it seemed like a good time to share this quick yet inspiring interview! And just like the other profiles we have featured so far (see a few here, here and here), Deb’s answers are full of wisdom and great advice. It doesn’t matter if you are heading into Launch this fall (good luck!) or if you are close to applying for your PCC – this will surely give you something to think about when it comes to your own coaching practice. Deb (from Bay Village, Ohio if you keep track of these things) is an ordained elder in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and has a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation from Ashland University. She is the Executive Director of Seeking Stillness Ministries where she leads retreats and provides spiritual guidance for women, and during the work week, Deb is a business consultant and executive coach.
How did you get started coaching? As part of my leadership and organization development job at NASA. (She says that she has been coaching since before coaching was really, well, coaching!)
What is your coaching specialty/niche? Helping educated, highly technical professionals develop leadership skills.
Who are your clients? Professional services firms, health systems, Fortune 500 companies, mid-size private and family-owned businesses.
What kind of goals do your clients typically pursue in your coaching? Improvement in people leadership skills and strategic thinking.
Best coaching story: Coaching a person who was highly accomplished in her technical field, and completely overwhelmed by fear that she would make a mistake that would end her reputation and career. Because of this, her leadership behavior was very unpredictable and emotionally charged. People were leaving her teams and did not want to work with her. She realized, through self-reflection that she was become a person she didn’t like or respect. Over the past two years her approach to her work, her leadership of others, and her joy in life have improved dramatically.
How has coaching changed you, and what have you learned about yourself? I have learned how challenging it is to not play the expert consultant role and how important it is for others to learn from their own experiences and reflection.
What’s unique about your coaching? I am very direct yet caring in the way I work with people. I help them uncover their blind spots, but also support them through the emotionality of having to change.
What is your best advice to someone who wants to use coaching to develop the people around them? Be patient.
What have you learned while running your own coaching practice/business? Hire help (mine are contractors) for the things that distract you from doing your best work. For me, that is accounting, invoicing, and proofreading documents. Also for me, I have chosen to remain a sole proprietor and not hire employees and build a large practice. I prefer to provide coaching instead of supervising people who are providing coaching.
What would you say to someone who is considering coaching as a career? Don’t look upon coaching as just a way of making additional income, a way to use the expertise you have developed over your career, or simply to have more freedom. Good coaching is based on love and loving people through change takes a ton out of you. Too many people are becoming coaches for the wrong reasons.
What are your coaching goals? To help others achieve their goals.
What’s next in your coach development? Developing group coaching skills, I think. I really enjoy individual work, but more and more businesses want to economize by offering group coaching.
Would you like to be featured as a working coach? If you are interested, please email Lindsey and she’ll be in touch!