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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

What would Dear Abby say?

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

Someone recently asked me when I knew I wanted to be a coach. Actually, the first indication may have been my high school obsession with Dear Abby, Ann Landers, and even Hints from Heloise, despite my complete disdain for all things domestic. I loved opening up the Living section of the Times Picayune and reading those advice columns, getting a glimpse at what kept people up at night and marveling at how the columnist could efficiently dispense wisdom in just a few inches of space.

I’ve always been fascinated with people and their challenges, and I love to give advice. In fact, I love it too much. First as a leader and then as a coach, I’ve learned to temper my inclination to clobber people with my initial insights. I’ve come to understand that any advice I give pales in comparison to the nuanced wisdom one can tap into when they listen to their own inner voice.

About six months before the pandemic, I knew it was time for me to pay attention to that voice. I looked upwards in my organization and could see the obvious path: I could leverage my experience in Operations, Strategy and Process Improvement, take on more scope, and make a bigger impact in an organization I genuinely loved. But, what had begun to dawn on me was that what I really craved was not a bigger stage, but a smaller one.

Throughout my career, my best moments as a leader have been the most intimate ones. It has been when a team member seeks my guidance on their next career move or a leader needs support gaining confidence in a new role. It has been when an executive needs a trusted advisor to drive difficult change or when a colleague is struggling with overwhelm and needs to fight their way out.

For me, being a coach means connecting with people more deeply and meeting them in the moment when they most need partnership, creativity, and clarity to chart their path forward. It means having the time to write and share ideas like I do in the MindFrame Minute. And, while the leap to start my own coaching and facilitation practice took courage, it also felt decidedly right.

What are you doing today that would make your 18-year-old self proud?

MindFrame, LLC delivers leadership and career coaching, team facilitation and keynote presentations to help you create change for good.

Custom services can be conducted at your organization or virtually.

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