Why wait to use an executive coach?

Pretty early on in my coaching practice, I started to specialize in career coaching.  Those were the clients who were coming to see me.  I avoided defining more of a niche for myself because, even though I had a marketing background that told me it made sense to do so, I was still gripped by a fear that I would alienate potential clients.

The aluminum Festivus pole

The Festivus pole, painfully unadorned for the season, a reaction against the sometimes gaudy Christmas tree.

Soon, though, it made sense to define my practice more. I started promoting myself as "the executive coach for the rest of us." A few brilliant folks made the connection to the Seinfeld episode about Festivus, the made-up holiday created by George's father who said. "It's the Festivus for the rest of us."  And you don't have to get that reference to see me for coaching!  But that is what I was thinking.

We're used to the idea of VPs, CEOs and other high-level executives getting an executive coach.  But what I was seeing among my clients were a lot of highly-driven professionals in mid-career who were aiming for the corporate suite.  But they were experiencing burnout and frustration at not moving ahead as fast as they'd like.

It dawned on me that what they needed was an executive coach at this pivotal time in their career, not later.

A coach who could point out their self-defeating behaviors and faulty thinking. Someone who could make the connection that these issues were holding them back.  A coach who could help them start to think differently and allow them to create a path for themselves that made sense to them.

The Human Fund holiday card from George Costanza

To avoid looking cheap to his co-workers, the Seinfeid character George Costanza used his father's made-up holiday, Festivus, and combined it with his own made-up charity, The Human Fund.