It’s a new year and many of us have set goals and reflected on where we would like to evolve in our lives. As prior years and to-do lists have proven, sometimes the initial momentum fades, the journey begins to feel more like a struggle, or even taking the first step feels daunting.
Before you give up, I have one question–have you considered a life coach?
At the end of 2018, I had the pleasure of interviewing life coach, Patrice Ford Lyn. A few of her upcoming events are highlighted here.
- Twitter chat on Loneliness and Building Community and Connection on January 15th at noon in partnership with the Melanin Collective. Learn more here and join her on twitter at #WorkingWOC
- Group Coaching Webinar on Developing Sustainable Self Care on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21st. Learn more and register here.
- Becoming Together – A Group Coaching Conversation for Women of Color on Wednesday, January 23rd. Find out more and get tickets here. I am on the host committee for this event (use discount code mmh). You don’t want to miss it.
With two ivy-league degrees, Patrice guided the startup of three national-level organizations and for ten years, she was a management consultant – helping leaders to build their organizations while supporting them through their own personal growth. For the last eight years, she has worked in personal transformation and wellness – as a certified professional coach, reiki practitioner, and a skilled facilitator/trainer.
Behind her resume, you will find she has a depth of experience, passion for helping people live their best lives and commitment to transformational outcomes. Her work is so highly regarded that she also coaches other coaches! And, in case it is important for you to know, she is a beautiful, badass, black, immigrant, queer woman. She gets it. When you work with her, your greatness is non-negotiable.
For our interview, Patrice guided me through a mini-coaching session so that I could see and understand her work firsthand. What captured me immediately, and that I appreciated throughout our discussion, is her naturally warm and open energy, which aided in ensuring that I felt safe, welcomed and seen.
We began the session with a very broad and open-ended question. “So, what would you like to talk about?”
As we navigated through the discussion what I appreciated most about Patrice’s approach is that it was deeply rooted in listening and understanding. From the moment we began it was evident that she was completely focused on hearing all that was being shared, both verbally and non-verbally. So much so that at one point I confessed to being intrigued by her lack of a form with pre-determined questions. Amused, she let me know that there was “a form” but after the first question the conversation was so seamless that she was allowing it to flow organically – probing when and where necessary. This is no small feat. By listening intently to the truth of what her clients need, she sees why the issue is challenging and helps you to discover why you are conflicted, struggling, or stuck. Patrice’s ability to know when to push and when to pull back and give her clients the time to process and respond from a quieted mind and spirit is only one example of what makes her so skilled at her craft.
However, if I were an actual client, there would not only have been a set of questions that she would have asked before starting the coaching session, but also numerous other steps to ensure that trust, safety, and understanding were established. The questions are designed to allow for a deeper level of conversation about the client’s beliefs, challenges, and context.
Prospective clients start with a complimentary initial consultation with Patrice to share who they are and what is bringing them to coaching. Once the coaching begins there is a spectrum of techniques that Patrice has at her disposal, designed to target each person’s individual needs.
During our time together we walked through a “Parts” technique. To summarize, the issue that we talked through was my decision to leave the country for an undetermined amount of time and what some of my concerns were in that moment. What we uncovered is that there is a “part” of me, the protector, that needs a degree of security and wants to make sure that I am going to be okay during this time. Using this parts technique aided me in engaging the part of myself that is hindering my ability to achieve my vision and desires. We not only acknowledged that the part exists but listened to its concerns, figuring out why it is there and speaking with it to determine what it would need to feel secure. As she noted, “sometimes it might seem like our various “parts” can’t all be in agreement, but they can. These parts have developed to protect and serve us – even if they are now getting in the way. We just have to lead them back into alignment.”
The moment that was probably the most powerful for me was when I told her my biggest internal debate about the decision that I had made and she restated the information back to me in such a way that it made a profound impact. I noticed early on that a lot of the conversation was based on her framing and sharing what she had heard me say. When I shared this with her she explained, “the work I do is based on the belief that the answers are within you -what you say, how you feel, what you believe.”
As a coach, she has the flexibility to use a plethora of tools and approaches (parts work only being one) for coaching her clients “individuals with normal neuroses – e.g., being stuck, not feeling worthy/enough, and challenges managing things that happen in your everyday life.” She shared that she does have clients who have left their therapists because of negative experiences – so scarred that they wouldn’t go back to therapy. Sometimes they get everything they need when they work with her, and sometimes she serves as a safe space for them to grow and learn before she guides them to get additional supports. When she knows a client could be better served by another professional, she recommends those alternatives. Patrice let me know that being completely present, creating safety, and doing no harm – creating no additional wounds – are core to the way she works with clients. When I told her that I would call her way of practicing – “integrity” she shared that for her, and this sacred work, nothing else is acceptable.
As someone so clearly aligned in her passion and purpose, did Patrice always know that this was the path she would walk? Not exactly. Like so many of us, she didn’t have the exact words as a child so she followed a career path that seemed to get close enough to it, even finding great success there, only to realize that it wasn’t speaking to the deepest parts of her and her life’s purpose. “When you’ve been successful but know it’s time to move on, figuring out what your new dream looks like can be challenging. It’s a profound moment if/when you realize that you’ve always known but never fully embraced it.” Patrice is clear on what she has always wanted– to help others become their highest selves and reach their full potential. Her fulfillment didn’t look the way she first imagined. Is that a bad thing? Not at all.
“The work I’m doing on my life is sublime and rooted in spirit. My work is to stay present and in alignment with source energy, God, collective consciousness, whatever word for the greater life force that we are all a part of that you use.” Does being in such an alignment mean that life is always easy? ” Absolutely not, but I am truly open to hearing everything, not just from the client, but what the universe is telling me as well.”
How does one who is so open and deeply committed not get depleted? Easy, she explains that transformational conversations are not tiring. In fact, her conversations with clients almost always leave her with a sense of peace, gratitude, and joy. Supporting and seeing her clients be courageous and gain new insights in service of their highest good is in itself fulfilling, She is awed by the power of the work and deeply grateful to have the opportunity to serve people in ways that are both challenging and life changing. Amazing.
Ideally, what would she like the impact of her work to be? She wants people to “open their aperture and see more possibilities than they could initially imagine. She wants them to know that they are inherently worthy and enough. She wants them to tap into their own knowing and step into the truth of their own greatness. On the highest level, through the work with my clients, each person will leave with a higher vibration – enhancing our entire collective consciousness.”
And so it is. May we all walk in full alignment this year.
Patrice provides numerous outlets for you to engage and gain a deeper understanding of who she is, what she believes and her coaching style. Learn more about her and her work:
Telephone: (929) 399-9856
Facebook group: Catapult Community Conversations
Until next time, remember to give time time and have the best day of your life–on purpose!
– Ms. Malcolm Hughes