• Shira Kates

Personal Observations on Coaching

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

Years ago, as Head of Design at ABC-Startup, I was offered sessions with my very own leadership coach, the wonderful Carole Rehbock. The purpose of these sessions was to support me as a leader and work through any challenges that came up.

Carole and I met on a bi-monthly basis for over a year. She helped me navigate some tricky workplace situations and serious life events that took place simultaneously. The result of this coaching was that I stuck with the company for three more years – one of the best decisions I've ever made. A younger, more reactive version of me would have left for greener pastures.

Because I stayed, I went on to invent a new product, lead my team through an intense acquisition by a global media giant, and see my invention lead to a patent application, paid by said global media giant. Subsequently, I was promoted and about 1.5 years later, my giant company was acquired by an even more giant company and I was ready and able to depart very comfortably. This would have never been possible without the support of my coach, who encouraged me to stay the course, think strategically, not respond emotionally, and pave the way for the results I wanted.

Of course there are times when moving on is the right thing to do and it’s not always clear in the moment. Hindsight, as they say, is 50/50.

Working with a coach can be a miraculous way to see our talents and our struggles reflected so that we may connect with our inner wisdom and make better choices. I believe everyone has a coach inside of them and a desire to be supported. Given the resources and partnership to succeed, many of us will struggle less and feel grateful for having had a witness.

The moment I left my executive role at that big tech company, I knew my real adventure was just beginning. The road to get to that point was incredibly enriching, but it's time to focus on sharing my gifts in a more purposeful way, directed by me. Sometimes you must take a leap bigger than you ever thought possible, and in doing so, you help others do the same.

Something notable about working in tech, especially in leadership, is the sense of pride and also loneliness that comes from being one of the only women in the room. Of course this is changing, but the change is slow and other nations are eclipsing America in their embrace of women in tech. Although I derive great joy from coaching people of all ages, levels, roles, races, and genders, there is something profoundly satisfying in being present for women as they navigate these waters.

#leadershipcoach #womenintech #leadership #techcoach

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