Could a Coach Improve Your Life?

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Do you wonder what it is like to hire a coach? Join us for our second annual Taste of Coaching event today at Central: May 22nd 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and tomorrow at Crowfoot: May 23rd 6:30 to 8:30 pm. We interviewed Carol and Anita about their experiences working with a coach. After working with a coach, Anita Yok Sim Ho was inspired to become a coach herself.

How did you find out about Coaching as an option?

Anita: I was very curious about professional coaching while being coached myself in a Leadership Program. I decided to push beyond my usual comfort zone and become a professional coach. To me, coaching is all about love for people and reminding them of their infinite personal potential.

Carol: I first learned about coaching through a friend when she mentioned she was finding it extremely helpful talking with a life coach. Her comment was in response to an observation I had made about how she seemed to have a greater zest for life lately. It was a couple of years after that conversation before I sought out a coach for myself when I was struggling to create and implement a plan for how to accomplish my vision of living somewhere warmer than Calgary in the winter months.

Was the process what you expected?

Anita: I have come to learn in life to expect the unexpected, which means I enjoy the sweetness and fullness of the present moment so much more and have many more possibilities than if I were stuck in a certain expectation. To be an effective Coach, you have to go through the depths of yourself first before you can really ask a client to do so. You have to walk the talk!

Anita Yok Sim HoCarol: I wondered how someone who didn’t know me and didn’t have any corporate or small business experience would be able to assist me. I was pleasantly surprised – no, totally amazed – to find that this coach could help me move forward without having much in common with me at all. I attribute this to the professional approach taken of creating a joint understanding of the outcomes I wanted to achieve through coaching, the presence and engagement of the coach as I explored and came to my decisions, her persistence with insightful observations and inquisitive questions designed to assist me in gaining greater clarity and subsequent encouragement so I would commit to the actions that would move me closer to my vision.

I have heard coaching described as having an experienced guide walking alongside and guiding you towards your own answers that lie within. Can you describe your experience of being coached?

Carol: For me, the coaching experience was an opportunity to dive into myself and discover both delightful strengths and characteristics that aligned with my vision and life objectives as well as a few key beliefs and behaviours that were working against what I said I wanted. Having a coach make objective observations and ask insightful questions was fundamental in helping me get real with my underlying motives. The coaching experience was the opportunity for me to have a neutral and confidential sounding board so I could talk ‘out loud’ about my ideas and how I wished to achieve them while not worrying about being judged or told what I should or shouldn’t do.

Anita: At CTI, which is considered as one of the Harvard’s of the Coaching Schools, I experienced an environment which cradles you in love, compassion and acceptance in all that you can be. There was absolutely no judgment from other coaches, only vast possibilities. I had say in whatever direction I choose for me, period. There were no excuses, approvals or “shoulds,” only what I wanted and that was all I needed! This resulted in a sense of clarity, focus, passion and peace of mind in all that I wanted in life. This leap of faith into the unknown has allowed me to live a life I never thought possible. Coaching respects and maintains your personal values while providing a structure of accountability to empower you to persevere in fulfilling all of your wishes, which is our natural birthright.

Did your coach talk about accountability? In other words, did they help you move forward and keep to your plan?

Anita: Coaching is all about accountability and self-responsibility. Life happens and we often become unfocussed and push away our needs and focus on the needs of others. In coaching, the focus is always on the client’s interests to ensure precise continued forward movement and growth.

Carol: Yes, we definitely spoke about accountability and accountability partners – people in my life that I can call upon to support me achieve success in a specific action or activity. What I liked is that we also looked at the potential internal and external barriers to me achieving the actions I committed to at each coaching session.

Is coaching like most things in life, whereby if you put your whole self forward, you are likely to receive more in return?

Carol: Absolutely!I quickly realized what a treat I had given myself to be able to voice and work through my ideas, visions and plans in a safe confidential environment that also encouraged me to consider alternate perspectives simply by offering a non-judgmental observation or question.I could physically feel the change in my energy level both during and after the coaching experience.Since that first coaching experience, I continue to invest in regular coaching for myself because of the tremendous value I get from these precious moments of 'me time.'

Anita: Absolutely! I feel so honored when a client puts their trust in me and decides to lay their cards out on the table in order to truly take the driver’s seat in life. I greatly admire my clients for their courage and strength in sharing the hopes and dreams that fell away or got lost somewhere along the way. For me, life is meant to be lived passionately and to its fullest expression. If you are going to be living, live BIG!

Many thanks to Carol and Anita for sharing their experiences. Anita Yok Sim Ho from Holistic Balance is an Integrative Health & Wellness Professional Coach.

Future Foggy? Need to Get Unstuck?

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary Public Library is thrilled to be hosting our second annual Taste of Coaching event on May 22–23rd. Along with learning more about what coaching has to offer, Library customers will have the chance to sit down with a coach to get a taste of the coaching experience.

I had the pleasure of working with a coach in the past year and know personally how the coaching process can create focus on personal and professional issues, provide insights into dilemmas, and encourage a commitment to personal goals. Each one of us has something we want to work on and improve in life, and sometimes there is great value in having a skilled coach meet us where we are in life and help guide and support us.

To help give you a sense of how coaching works, we talked with local coaches Gary Armstrong and Nancy Love:

What attracted you to the profession of coaching?

Nancy: I was a classroom teacher for many years. What I noticed was that when I ASKED students about things they remembered. When I TOLD, them they forgot. So I spent a lot of time finding the right question to ask to get them to think about things differently. I love coaching because it does the same thing. It provokes learning, self knowledge, and self confidence. I love to watch the lightbulbs go on and to see people believing in themselves and their goals.

Gary: I had a coach. The experience was significant in moving me forward and inspired me to learn to do the same for others. Coaching is a strong fit with the skills that I picked up in my career as a police officer and educator. Both professions required that I listen intently to what was being said and ask thoughtful probing questions, two hallmarks of great coaching. I was amazed how asking questions which reflected intent listening could uncover thoughts I had never articulated before—thoughts that were the catalyst to new and sometimes very personal discoveries about how I was being perceived by others.

Coaching can be a transformative and profound process. How does it affect your clients?

Gary: What I notice most is the impact being heard has on people. Consistently people will delve deeper within themselves to find the answer to their own toughest questions when they believe someone else is their willing to hear them through. I am awed by the progress people make in their careers when they explore their own thoughts and devise strategies they know are right for them. It is extremely rewarding to help people move forward in such a significant way.

Do you believe that many of your clients have the answers to their questions hidden inside them?

Nancy: Everyone knows what they need to do to change a situation. Most just need a nudge in that direction. I like to use time-lining. I ask the person to consider a future point or a point in the past and look at the present situation from that perspective and describe it in detail. It removes the emotional response or adds a different emotion to the understanding of the situation.

Gary: I believe we all know our best path. Early in life we develop a set of values which guide our conduct and help us chart a direction in a career, or for that matter life. Understandably we all differ and from time to time we face situations which collide with our values. In those moments we may make small sacrifices to our values for the sake of harmony. For me coaching, in part , is an opportunity to affirm my values and return to a course of action I know is right for me.

Have there been any books or articles you have read that really explained or spoke to the power of coaching?

Gary: Mary Beth O'Neil's book Coaching with Backbone and Heart stands out for me. My opinion is that for most friends the heart piece of being there for someone comes naturally. It is the backbone that can be harder to call on. However there are also friends who have more backbone than heart. They are the ones who sometimes are too willing to tell it like it is. O'Neil does a great job of showing how both are needed in a balanced coaching relationship. Moving between backbone and heart is quite similar to teaching someone a new skill or task following the old adage two steps forward one step back. Being challenged to take two steps forward at times can be quite daunting. Being able to judge when to take a step back is heart. Balancing both is an acquired skill that a coach brings that a friend may not always be able to.


Gary Armstrong is an Executive Coach and President of Empowered Employee Education. Gary’s services appeal to enterprises developing current and next generation leaders. Those who wish to positively implement and navigate change with a collaborative, communicative, strategically thoughtful leadership team that possesses the skills required to focus others on a clear mission and vision, centered on confirmed values.


Dr. Nancy Love, PhD, M.Ed. works in many cities across North America to present the PULSE programs to government agencies and private industry. She is the author of PULSE Conversations for Change. Her continued interest in how people use conversation and language lead to the formation of the PULSE Institute which studies People Using Language Skills Effectively.