The Power of Being Coached: A ‘Thank You’ To Kate

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I believe in coaching because I have been a client. Yes, I have experience and expertise in providing coaching, as well as two graduate degrees and extensive post-graduate training in relevant topics. But my belief in the power of coaching didn’t come from those things. It came, first and foremost, from being a client. 

Photo of Dr Kate HaysMy coach, the Kate Hays, PhD, was a truly great “performance coach to performance coaches.” She passed away on April 1, 2021. 

Kate changed my life at a time when I never expected it. I wanted a coach who was also a content expert to help me build my business. Simple. I went into that coaching experience expecting to get what I got: an incredible challenge, both professionally and intellectually. Surprisingly and more importantly, the experience also changed me in deep and unexpected ways. 

Kate asked people to write letters to her during her final weeks of life so she could have her own memorial. I am sharing a few excerpts from my letter as a testament to Kate and because I think it speaks volumes about the experience of being coached. Here are some highlights of what I shared with Kate:

I always came to sessions prepared with some complex questions to wrestle with – I expected to feel challenged and I always, always did! I also came with what I thought were a few simple questions … I was looking for an idea or two. I was running something by you that I was 99% sure was finished. I was hoping for a simple suggestion that would lead me to polish and perfect things just a bit more. I never recall receiving any of those things from you. Instead, your questions, comments, and feedback kept pushing me further and further and further. Every single time we spoke, I discovered something beyond what was in my field of vision – some new discovery, some new angle, some new aspect to consider, some surprise … I left every interaction feeling so grateful. I also felt very tired and intellectually fatigued! I rarely find connections that bring me to that exciting place of growth and change. Thank you.  

 

You prompted me to reach and grow in unanticipated ways. You led me to discoveries I did not expect to find. It is a true gift to have the opportunity to connect with someone who is quite brilliant and also deeply kind, compassionate, and truly genuine. Thank you.

  

So out of all of this – do you know what was and remains most powerful for me? You saw me, you understood me, and you believed in me at a time when my faith in myself was shaken. 

 

You have such a beautiful voice Kate – literally and figuratively. I will be eternally grateful to you for helping me reconnect with my own.” 

I reached out to Kate with goals to build my business. I didn’t think I needed more. With wisdom, patience, clarity, and humor, Kate saw beyond what I was asking for. She saw me rather than just a part of me. Exemplary coaching leads you to reconnect with yourself in the most fundamental ways. Your vision is sharpened and you see clearly what was blurry, obscured from your view — the truths you knew about yourself all along before losing your way. Coaching does all of this while also stretching you to grow in ways you didn’t expect. Your coach sees things you can’t quite see. They don’t have the answers, but they see YOU. With curiosity, respect, and empathy, they work with you to further define your values and your purpose as you work together to establish goals for your growth. 

Everyday, I take what Kate taught me and I try to bring it into the world to honor her and to hold myself accountable to the highest of coaching standards.