I need to tell you a story. It is an integral part of my story about how coaching supported me on my journey towards becoming an IT Executive Coach. It is also a story about the power of partnership and trust in another.
For those who have followed my articles, you most likely already know that I have self-identified as an IT professional for the past 40 years. I started working in IT in 1977 at time when women in IT were quite rare. Because I worked in infrastructure, I did not have a female co-worker until 1984 and it wasn’t until 2006, that I had the pleasure of working with a female peer.
Even though I have achieved the status of CIO a couple of times, nothing has given me as much joy and pride as helping great people to achieve their career goals.
As proud as I am of my overall career accomplishments, I am most proud of the most recent five years. I left my corporate life in 2013 with the intent of semi-retirement, focusing on part-time consulting while attempting to discover the meaning of life and perhaps picking up a hobby in the process. I found out far too quickly that I was not ready for retirement. I jumped at the chance to get back to work when a young CIO, who I had the honor of mentoring, asked me to help him in a new role less than a week into my retirement.
At the same time the CIO Executive Council, a premier membership of Chief Information Officers, invited me to “coach” IT Executives as a member of their CIO Emeritus coaching team. My first reaction was to chuckle and respond “Coach? I am not a coach.” They replied that I was as I had volunteered as a group mentor coach over the eight years priorand that they would pay me for my time. How could I resist that?
With those two events, my stars aligned and ITeffectivity, LLC was born with the mission of helping CIOs and IT Leaders as an IT Executive Advisor.
I did not intend to be focused on coaching. My husband played a role in my decision to formalize my coaching credentials. He often commented on my mood after sessions with my own coach. He called it my hobby job because, after each coaching session, I was so upbeat. Endorphins were flying to the point that he would remark about how happy it made him see me so satisfied.
After one particularly productive coaching session, a light bulb came on – Why not become a coach? If I was going to be a coach, it had to be with the highest level of integrity and professionalism possible as proven by the ICF (International Coaching Federation) credentials. My passion grew out of the prevalent need for leadership and emotional skills amongst IT management. My intention was set deeper than any other professional commitment.
With this revelation, I went in search of a coaching program starting with the ICF list of training options and I talked with a couple of ICF credentialed friends. I landed on the CoachU program due to its ICF qualifications, flexibility, and references. I began the Core Essentials Program in April of 2016 andgraduated on June 12, 2017. I immediately started the Advanced Corporate Coaching Program that same June, completing the course work in May 2019, and have been on track to achieve the Professional Corporate Coach credential by the end of 2019.
As a result of three years of hard work and commitment, I was awarded the Corporate Coach U Certified Graduate Designation earlier this month (August 2019). Like many professionals, I find it awkward and embarrassing to pat myself on the back, but dammit – it was hard work.
- Completing 39 coaching courses for a total of 365 classroom hours
- Passing all the course exams with a score of 80% or higher
- Being mentor coached by an International Coach Federation (ICF) Credentialed Coach for at least 10 hours (Trust me it took many more than 10 hours of mentor coaching
- Receiving at least four written feedbacks on recorded coaching sessions supervised by an ICF credentialed coach
- Coaching at least 25 distinct clients for a total of at least 500 coaching hours (In actuality, I coached over 80 clients)
- Being recommended by an ICF credentialed coach who has observed my coaching and could verify that I coach at a PCC level or higher (the role of my mentor coach)
- Passing the online multiple-choice final exam
- Providing a written coaching experience case study
- Successfully defending my application before the Certification Review Committee, which also included an actual oral coaching session target.
The graduation is enough to be proud of. However, what makes me most proud is that I was able to accomplish this while I was covering a full-time consulting client load, balancing family life,and balancing health issues. Many times, my family and friends asked if it was worth it. To be honest, I asked myself the same question more than once.
Many have asked how I was able to stay on course. Simply, because of the trust and support of my coach, Lerae Gidyk. Through the faith we built, I knew she had my back when I was challenged with continuing. Our work together enabled me todiscover my way, my vision, and allowed me to formulate my strategy and roadmap. Ironically, I help my clients with developing strategies and roadmaps.
I have the tools! But like all good practitioners, I discovered how it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. As my coach Lerae helped me tackle my doubts and blocks, she partnered with me to clarify my WHY. You’ve heard me say – Every good strategy requires the clarity of knowing your WHY, your purpose, your reason for being.
When you know your WHY – the what and how are so much easier.
- My passion for the coaching profession’s purpose and partnering with clients to find and unlock their potential, enabling them to realize a life previously unimagined
- The opportunity to enhance the leadership capabilities of executive IT leaders by utilizing my coaching experience and training combined with my professional IT leadership and consulting background
- My commitment to a life of continuous learning, includingthe required continuing education requirements and especially from all that I learn from my coaching clients
And YES! – I will most certainly continue to work with Lerae as I continue my journey.
I know through my experience as a coach, and as a coachee, that coaching can have dramatic effects on the performance of individuals and organizational success. I love working with CIOs and IT leaders, knowing that I provide them with a safe harbor to share ideas and contemplate options. Many CIOs and upcoming talented IT executives find the quality of my coaching to be outstanding and genuinely different from anything they have experienced before.
Here is what a few of my coaching clients have to say:
“Mary possesses great listening capabilities and is a trusted advisor, committed to providing unbiased guidance in a safe/confidential environment. She focuses on eliciting information rather than telling you what to do. She helped me make improvements in terms ofenhancing my visibility within the organization and improving my perceptions among leadership which, has led to an increase this year in the scope of my responsibilities.”
Sr. IT Director, Leading Building Management Firm
“As a new Global Executive Director, Mary’s assistance was instrumental in preparing me for the expectations and challenges ahead. She provided practical examples, roadmaps, templates, and her experience to assist me in this new role. We worked extensively on my first 90 days and how I would be demonstrating executive leadership and developing my vision. All of which were successfully completed.”
Global IT Executive Director, Life Sciences
“Mary’s extensive knowledge, quest to educate and challenge herself coupled with her excellent coaching/mentoring skills, thoughtful & probing manner,and caring attitude are invaluable assets that truly make a difference.”
CIO, Global Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Firm
Coaching is for everyone in times of change and challenge. Whether you are facing an outstanding new opportunity, or you want to take command in new and powerful ways, coaching will help. It is always individually focused on guiding and helping you with the challenges associated with your role and career, both now and in the future.
My high impact IT executive coaching is tailored to individuals and designed to meet your unique needs. As a result, career advancement is very often achieved while also developing your skills to become a highly influential business leader. Mycoaching is designed to help you take control of your development and move your performance to the next level.
You can choose from a range of approaches, including:
- Career boost, diagnostics & coaching: for when you want to immediately take your career to the next level, or create new and exciting options for your future
- IT Executive development coaching: for when you want to deal with issues that are impacting your performance or those in your team
- Group and Team Coaching: a new offering that enables the coaching experience for middle managers or teams at an affordable price point
Do any of these approaches resonate with you? For a confidential and complimentary discussion on how coaching can help you achieve your goals – Let’s Talk!
We will continue our discussion next week by exploring communicating as a leader.
Until next week!
Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com – an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry.