The Question Matters

My Toolbox Felt Empty, Part 3

Posted in Change,Coaching,Entrepreneurs,Generation X,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on February 24, 2010

In the past week, I’ve shared the first two parts of my “re-tooling” story.  First, leaving behind a career meant the sudden realization that many of my tools from my past career would not come with me.  My toolbox felt empty.  Then, there was the matter of feeling very unprepared for the next phase of my career.  I knew then as I know now, that I have talents that fit the coaching profession.  Yet those talents are small tools in a big new toolbox, and there are days when I feel very unprepared for the tasks ahead of me.

Today, a different vibe.  Though Generation X has been accused of being a whiny generation (and sometimes with good reason), I won’t succumb to that.  Following my layoff in February 2009, I made space for reflection and contemplation of what had passed and what was to come.  By the time late spring rolled around, I begin putting new tools in my toolbox.  I’ve been relentless in re-educating myself, and it gives me confidence to know that I’m already pretty good at what I do, and it won’t be long before I’ll be exceptional.

I sought hands-on training. I added a certification in a facilitation strategy I’ve seen work firsthand, and have used on various occasions.  I looked under every rock for places where coaches were being trained–both inside churches and outside.  Eventually, I settled on an assessment that gave me solid insights into coaching, and some practice doing it as well.  It confirmed in my mind and in others’ that the coaching profession was a good fit.  I also sought professional training by enrolling in an eight-week marketing course for entrepreneurs, a course I highly recommend for anyone wanting to harness social media and do good marketing on a small budget.

I sought formal education. This is important to me.  I’m a learner, and I’m a believer in the power of formal education to change minds.  I’ll qualify that to say that good formal education changes minds, but that’s a post for another day.  Beginning in March, I will be a cohort in the University of Texas at Dallas in their Executive Coaching program.  I’ll be learning alongside students from around the U.S. who work in every sector and field.  We’ll do peer-to-peer coaching, supervised coaching, and learn about good strategies for coaching leaders.

I sought coaching. I hired a life coach.  We spent only four months together, but during that time, my life coach brought one of my fatal flaws front and center–my tendency to doubt myself until I’ve proven I can do it.  That reminder alone was worth the cost of coaching.

I sought a mentor. He’s technically my business coach, but he’s as much a mentor as a coach.  He’s further down the road than I am, and his personality is fundamentally different from mine.  That’s a good thing.  He pushes me.  He lights a fire under me.  He counsels me to jump fast when it’s called for.  He also works with me as I coach clients for the first time.  These are things I need in a coach.

I sought strategic partnerships. More on this another time; I’ll just say that one of my key learnings for the coaching industry is that it’s a lonely business to try on your own.

As you can see, I haven’t messed around.  The big picture is this–I’ve done what I needed to do to add confidence and competence to my work.  I can feel the toolbox filling up.


3 Responses to 'My Toolbox Felt Empty, Part 3'

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  1. Rhonda said,

    Trey, in reading the three posts about your toolbox, I see a great transformation in your perspective from “There’s nothing there.” to “I’m retooling and reloading.” As you pointed out in today’s post, one of your weaknesses was “my tendency to doubt myself until I’ve proven I can do it”. This post tells me you are overcoming that weakness and focusing on your strengths. Very few of us, over time, are in the exact field we studied in college. My field doesn’t even exist under the same name it had back then! But the skills, abilities and thought processes (tools) I gained then and in the ensuing years are being utilized in different ways today. As coaches, I believe one of our opportunities is to help people see their strengths in a new light to live out whatever passion God has placed on their hearts. You’re getting there! The tools you used before are being re-purposed for the next season of your life. How exciting.

  2. Rhesa said,

    I’m proud of you too, Bubba! You have shown great courage and nerves of steel in this past year.

  3. 2mannasisters said,

    I’m so proud of your eagerness to grow and stretch and become an entrepreneur. And I just love your authentic blog posts like this. –Marla

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