Coaching: Changing Lives from the Inside-Out

29 Jan

I would like to start by having you to ask yourself a question:

“How can a 30 minute conversation change my life?”

Take a few moments and think about it.

Coaching strategies make for more productive conversationsI can think of 2 and 3 minute conversations that have changed my life (some of them not necessarily for the better). But then there are the conversations that come few and far between. Those that have motivated me, giving me more energy and direction than I started with. I had one of those conversations with my oldest daughter last September. I would like to share with you my journal entry from that conversation.

September 3rd 2014

I have never believed in the power of coaching as much as I do right now!

This morning, Arianna was upset and refused to take a picture with Lia on Lia’s first day of school at her daycare center. She left the house upset and had a very sullen expression that Jamie and I thought was a bad attitude. Jamie tried to walk Arianna into her school building and she started crying uncontrollably. I tried to talk to her on the phone, but to no avail. Things got so bad that Jamie had to return Ari home to me. After sharing my expectations and expressing my displeasure about her behavior, I gave her a mild consequence regarding her favorite toy. Then I asked her if she wanted to talk about her feelings now or later. She chose to talk in a few minutes, but she was still sobbing and full of grief. Having taken note of her emotional cues (sadness, disappointment, anger); I could sense that this situation was more complicated than selfishness, jealousy or a bad attitude could account for. After Jamie debriefed with me about the last 30 minutes, Arianna and I had a conversation – a coaching conversation.

When I asked Arianna about her feelings, she began to explain. Soon, she came to a point, stopped mid-sentence, took a 5 second pause, looked me in the eye and said “…I don’t know what I’m feeling.” That was a great start. I respected her level of authenticity. After giving her a hug, I began to explain what was going on and what I observed this morning. I tried to make sense of the situation in a way that surrounded her with answers and choices, instead of telling her what I thought was going on.

In the conversation, we discovered that Arianna was sad because she was going to miss her sister. We talked about what would make her happy. She immediately went over to her toy chest and pulled out 4 toys and placed them on the sofa. She wanted to give those to her sister.

We continued to talk about her feelings. We talked about all the things Ari and Lia had to look forward to doing together. This made her happier, but I noticed that every time we mention her sister and school, Arianna’s lip poked out just a tad. I shared this with her and mirrored what her bottom lip was doing. Then I asked her if she wanted to draw a picture of how she was feeling, or how she wanted to feel. Her face lit up like a Christmas tree. She ran to her room and came back with a notebook and proceeded to draw a picture of her family and a house. After drawing the picture, she expressed a desire to leave it on her sister’s table, along with the gifts, to give her this afternoon. I asked Arianna, “how do you want Sissy to feel when you give her those gifts?” She said “happy.” I asked, “is there anything you can say to her when you see her to make her feel happy?” She answered “yes”. I asked “what would you say to her?” Arianna responded “I would say, ‘sissy, these are the gifts I have for you. I’m sorry for not taking a picture and being rude to you this morning.”

To make a long story short, Arianna – as a big sister – felt the same emotions about Azalia going to school as Jamie and I felt about Arianna’s first day of school 5 days earlier. On the way to school, Arianna told me “Dad, I’m glad we had that talk!” That meant a lot coming from my own child about a sensitive issue. She was able to take action steps to resolve emotions that she was having trouble understanding. And she is looking forward to a future with her sister. Arianna knows that no matter how old they get and where life takes them, she can influence the relationship she and her sister share.


Think about how many times you’ve felt like Arianna did. For example:

  • When you’re dream didn’t work out
  • When you didn’t meet a special goal that you set
  • Realizing that you end the day with more items on your to-do list than you started with
  • Engaging in a habit that took you away from what you wanted out of life

We have all felt like Arianna. My question is this.

If a 30 minute conversation can change a 5-year-old’s life, can you imagine how it can change yours?

I talk to people about goals, dreams, vision, habits, strategy and how to move past the obstacles and internal challenges that slow down their progress on the road to achievement. Just like I did with Arianna, I treat coaching clients as experts in their own problems. And I partner with clients to provide the coaching process. This is what separates a coaching conversation from plain old advice.  Advisors impart knowledge. Coaches draw out the answers that are already surrounding you.

To schedule your free 30-minute coaching conversation, email me at


Thomas E. Anderson, II is a credentialed life coach who enjoys motivating and equipping individuals to pursue their dreams.

Image appears courtesy of


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