Coaching Vs. Counseling for the Introverted

A life coaching client said to me regarding his experience with prior counseling, “I do a lot of talking but don’t feel it changes anything. I’m an internal processor, not an external one. I like to think and pray on it.” When he shared this thought, I saw some past correlations in my practice with other clients.

Reflecting on clients I’ve come to know well and understand as introverts have also commented, “I’ve been to counseling for years, and never made the progress that I’ve had in a few coaching sessions with you?” When I asked one why he thought that, his response: “We have a dialogue, you give me different perspectives and tools, then I can go off, think about it, and have work to do. I like having goals because it helps me see the progress I’m making. I didn’t get any of that in counseling. I basically answered questions and wasn’t even sure what I said was true at the time. I needed more time to think about it.”

Why Coaching May Be More Effective Than Counseling

Coaching is different than counseling, and I believe for people who identify with introversion, coaching can be more impactful process, because it enables the client to do most of the work outside of the session and at their pace. Coaching is future focused toward change and allows the client to process thoughts and feelings in the environment that serves them best. There’s plenty of work to be done outside the session, but during it, the coach provides perspectives, insights, and tools, as well as serves as a brainstorming partner.

Counseling, on the other hand, demands to know your thoughts and feelings right there to questions asked by the counselor such as (1) what do you think of… or (2) how do you feel about…  As one introverted coaching client told me, “I would get asked questions and feel like I needed to respond. I wasn’t in touch with my feelings and wanted to go off and think about it. I wished my counselor would’ve just sent me a list of questions that I mull over before showing up. I would’ve felt better prepared and that I got my money’s worth.” Additionally, my clients who’ve shared their experiences with counseling said they got insights into their feelings, but then was left with the unanswered question of “what do I do next”.

Many counselors never see or interact with their clients between sessions. Coaches usually make themselves available in multiple capacities in between. Counseling has its place and benefits but don’t discounted that life coaching can be more impactful, especially for clients who prefer introverted processing.

There’s an expression that rings true: not everyone needs a counselor, but everyone can benefit from a coach. And this may be especially true for those who self-identify as introverted.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership, sales, and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life story. She administers assessments, designs, and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Work Trends: Coaching at the Office for Mental Well-Being

Today there’s a lot of talk about mental health in the workplace. COVID has taken a measurable toll on people’s lives and their capacity to cope and remain resilient. Depression, fatigue, and loss productivity are only a few outcomes for those struggling to keep jobs, do more with less, parent, and work from home. How are people responding? Prescriptions for anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and insomnia have increased by double digits.   

Medical intervention has its place, and companies should be applauded for offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and other counseling services through their benefits program. However, there’s less medically evasive solutions that can help workers not only to cope but find ways to thrive in the new normal. The best tool in the tool life kit may be coaching.

Many times, people don’t need a pill to calm their nerves, they need a coach to help them see a different picture: set a vision, strategize on options, develop a plan, learn new tools, adopt a different mindset, find support, and partner with them through the journey to the opposite side of the continuum of mental well-being. Many people already have the solution inside of themselves. They need a coach to help them untangle the thoughts into a well-conceived plan or share some tools that will make them the master of their lives.

I applaud those businesses that offer coaching to their employees as an alternative to medical intervention. If your company doesn’t offer free or nominal fee coaching, there’s nothing stopping you from hiring your own coach. Coaching isn’t therapy, it’s targeted support. Do you need a pill, or do you really need a coach?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership, sales, and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life story. She administers assessments, designs, and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

The Second Wave of a New Normal: How Will You Respond?

People keep talking about a new normal and asking: what’s the new normal going to look like and will life be anything like pre-COVID? The reality: we’re moving into a second wave of “a new normal”. The first was exclusively working from home, fighting for internet bandwidth, home schooling while working full-time, learning how to cook versus eat out, finding a closet to work privately, wearing masks, obsessing over pandemic statistics on TV, entertaining bored children, and keeping teenagers from consuming even more technology. These were the struggles for the lucky who still had jobs. As if we didn’t have enough imbalance, we added several more responsibilities to juggle in new ways. Some people are mastering the change, while others are still trying. Now…

…the pendulum is swinging back. Just when you felt like you’d gotten command of this new way of balancing work and home, your employer talks about bringing you back into the office. But this isn’t about stepping into the old way from a year ago. Not everyone is going back at the same time, the work environment is setup differently, and some services you depend on for the old normal aren’t available or they cost more. You’ve restructured life during the regime of COVID. We are entering the second wave of a new normal, which…

…brings on a new set of problems and possible anxieties. Perhaps even your pets are having separation anxiety thinking about you returning to the office and leaving them home all day. What can you do?

  • Acknowledge that it’s okay that you’re feeling overwhelmed and recognize it’s because we are entering into a second round of trying to create a new normal. Give yourself credit for weathering through the first round and have faith that you can do it again. This isn’t as easy as picking up where you left off.
  • Decide what mindset you’re going to adopt? Are you going to have a fixed or growth mindset? If you’re not sure what mindset you have, you can learn more about mindset by reading The Power of a Growth Mindset and the Risk of Holding on the Fixed. How will you look at the change? Will it be an opportunity to create something new or will you grudgingly look at it as “woe is me or why me”? Will you see this change as an opportunity for growth or an excuse of why you have it so bad?
  • Find your tribe and support system. You weren’t designed to go it alone. We were built to live in community, to support one another, and to be supported. We need to be both givers and receivers of support.
  • Consider hiring a life coach to be your partner to help you develop a vision of your future, design a game plan, hold you accountable, and be your cheerleader.

We won’t be going back as we move into the future. Tomorrow brings a new set of struggles never seen before. Stay confident, have faith, set a vision, create a plan, and take action.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership, sales, and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life story. She administers assessments, designs, and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Core Values: the Link Between Life and Business Coaching

lee-vue-Ik5V3W8y96Q-unsplashWhen I life coach, invariably my clients will complete a core values assessment. Why? Because whether they are aware of it or not, core values drive personal meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. And I want to help my clients understand why they make certain decisions, choose to act in specific ways, and feel joy as well as frustration. Discovering your core values will help you understand certain dynamics in your life and empower you to choose a new course for your future.

Businesses, like life coaching clients, also set visions and define missions. If you work for any size company, you’ve likely noticed vision and mission statements nicely framed and hung in conference rooms. Perhaps the leadership has gone so far as to laminate them on a business card for their employees to carry around. In most cases, however, there’s likely no values to complement the vision and mission.

I find that many businesses skip values and rush straight to developing their strategy. Wait! Values are an incredible part of defining who the company is when it grows up. Values shape culture, provide operating guidelines, and attract people who have a shared passion for the vision and mission. People tend to resonate more with values than they do with vision and mission statements. Current and future employees want to know what a company stands as they make a judgment on whether this is the place for them to work.

If you’re a business leader and your company hasn’t defined its values, I can help your team as a coaching facilitator. If you’re an individual who would like to learn more about what makes you tick, reach out for a conversation.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Core Values for Your Business Mission

Vision and mission, a staple of life coaching, have easily translated into business. Almost all companies of any size have some sort of vision and mission statement. They serve as a legitimizing tool, so when a company doesn’t have an answer to, “What’s your vision and mission,” it’s almost as if the leadership doesn’t know what the company wants to be when it grows up.

ben-white-mO9vKbG5csg-unsplash

In my experience, vision and mission statements range from a check-the-box activity such as creating a website to serving as the foundation for strategy and critical decision-making. And identifying the company’s values that underlie the vision and mission becomes the fuel for business growth and hiring decisions.

When I life coach, I help clients identify their core values, because whether clients know theirs or not, they are trying to live them out in their behaviors and decisions. I’ve had many clients have light bulb moments and say, “That explains it,” as they work through struggle and roadblocks.

The concept of core values defines who you are, what you stand for, and provides predictability. This applies to an individual’s life and even more so for a business. If leveraged appropriately, a company’s values help define culture and help leadership provide the how of work for their employees. Values are also important in the hiring process, because they provide clarity to prospective employees on what they would be signing up for when they join the team.

If you’d like to learn more about the power of core values and/or go through a core values coaching session(s) for you or your business, reach out for a conversation.

david-iskander-iWTamkU5kiI-unsplash


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can engage her as your coach by reaching out to coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or learn more by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How to Create Your 10-Year Vision

matt-noble-BpTMNN9JSmQ-unsplashWhat’s your first thought when someone says, “I have a 10-year vision?” Is it (1) Wow! (2) How do you do that? (3) Not for me, or perhaps (4) I wouldn’t know where to start? If you don’t have a vision, more than likely, the current of daily life will take you wherever it meanders. Where will that be?

Hopefully, you won’t be one of those people who suffer any deathbed regrets. To avoid that sad outcome, set a vision toward where you want to go or what you want to do. Know that daily pressures of life will at times push you off your path. That’s to be expected. However, when you know the direction you’re headed, you can pivot and get back on the path. A vision doesn’t have to be accomplished in 1 year or even 5 years. Some visions can take 10 years or longer to achieve.

Below is my recipe for how to step forward into a 10-year vision. I give a name to each year which represents the focus for that year. Replace it with a word of your own if it has more meaning for you. The label is there to remind and motivate you until you reach your destination. Twenty-twenty is the perfect year to start your 10-year vision. Think of Vision 2020 as the decade challenge in achieving something bigger than you ever imagined.

Year 1: EXPERIMENT and say “yes” to the new

This is the year to say “yes” to meeting new people, trying new things, having different conversations, and creating new experiences. Be open to new world perspectives and thinking. Challenge your long-held beliefs and assumptions that might be holding you back from achieving more and walking in your purpose.

Year 2: Define and describe your VISION

With consideration of your last year of experiments and new experiences, write down a vision of where you want to be in 10 years. What are you doing? Describe the world around you. Write down a strategy, tactical plans, and a budget to get there. Break your vision into 3 big moves or steps. Each step may include one or multiple activities.

Year 3: Forge PARTNERSHIPS

Most people can’t reach their 10-year vision without some help from others. You may need expertise, financial backing, additional hands/feet on the ground, or emotional support. Identify and build relationships that will help you reach your vision.

Year 4: PREPARE yourself

What do you need to do to prepare yourself for a big move? Do you need to improve your health, land a certain job, reconcile certain relationships, or live within a budget? Get ready to move and press forward.

Year 5: Step FORWARD into your first big move

Big, big move! Press into the vision. Does that mean relocating, downsizing, or buying something? This is where fear and cold feet can enter the picture. Up until this point, visioning was more a paper exercise or fit into your daily life. Don’t stop now. You are making change toward something you’ve dreamed about.

Year 6: SOLIDIFY the foundation

Operate and settle into the new platform on which you are standing. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because there will be more of it. You’re building resilience.

Year 7: REST

Review all that has happened. Has anything changed with regards to your vision? What adjustments do you need to make? Recharge your batteries, because it’s time to press on.

Year 8: ONWARD

Take a second big step toward your vision. It’s getting real. This second step should feel uncomfortable again. You have the confidence from your first successful move to know that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Year 9: PUSH

Push forward. Take another step onward. By now putting one foot in front of the other is feeling more comfortable. You should have reached your vision.

Year 10: CELEBRATE

Take time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve grown, and start dreaming of your next big vision.

clark-tibbs-oqStl2L5oxI-unsplashSome might say that taking 10 years to reach a vision is too long. Others may think 10 years is too short. Work the steps at the pace you feel comfortable. These steps are just a way to take the concept of visioning and making it more manageable and less intimidating for those who become overwhelmed with the thought of visioning.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Are You Living Your Authentic Life and Loving It?

authentic life

What concerns me as a life coach is how many people value themselves based on the world’s definition of success. They pursue careers and jobs hoping for status, approval, and wealth, as if these rewards will fulfill them and make them happy. I also know people who married into wealth instead of pursuing purpose—easy access to the world’s envy.

People join the “right” clubs, pursue the “in” thing, climb the social register, and support the prevailing majority, even if their beliefs and desires aren’t aligned with their choices. Understandably, certain pursuits aren’t necessarily free choice but the result of coercion—relenting to the pressure of well-meaning family and social groups. However, I’ve found the happiest people are those who live authentic lives that align with their core values and what they enjoy the most, even when it goes against the world’s definition of success.

Forewarned, happiness doesn’t come without its struggles and sacrifices. Everyone has to wrestle with the definition of success that was culturized since birth. The happiest people tend to value comfort in their own skin over what the world defines as success. In many ways, you might consider them pioneers of a fulfilled life. They tell the world to go on without them as they are forging their own path through the wilderness.

I’ve not been immune to the pressures of this world, and I wouldn’t be on the pioneer path without my earlier life experiences. As I climbed the corporate ladder, I got a calling on my life to help others be successful—hence my role as a leadership coach. Although I make a fraction of what I earned as a vice president in a chemical company, I love what I do and just smile at friends and family who don’t understand how I could give up the status and income.

And then there’s my daughter with whom I’m most proud. As a parent, I can honestly admit my concern about a few decisions she made such as only pursuing an associate degree in veterinarian technology. I wanted her to go to a 4-year college and make decisions that aligned more with the traditional definition of success. I eventually realized she is the author of her own life story and appreciate her somewhat unconventional spirit. She struggles like the rest of us, and I applaud that she is real and purposefully pursuing use of her gifts while she makes her way in the adult world.

Life can be overwhelmingly hard at times. Even when you’re hating what you are going through, you can love that you’re living it authentically. Are you living your authentic life and loving it? If so, you are a pioneer of a life well lived!


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Consistent Success: Are You Doing This One Thing?

success

After studying the attitudes and behaviors of successful people, Gschwandtner (2018) proposes there are 5 key attributes common among successful people in any profession. Consistently successful people do the following:

  1. Understand and operate with strong core values
  2. Focus intently on a life goal or mission
  3. Build and architect their lives
  4. Manage their career decisions wisely
  5. Practice persistence and consistency

As a Leadership and Life Coach, I work with individuals to help them increase performance in one or more of these areas. Driving on one attribute, let alone all five, can be daunting depending upon where one stands on the continuum.

For people who want to make changes that deliver consistent success, I suggest starting with a Core Values Evaluation to understand the top values that drive who they are. Values are the foundation upon which everything else is built. If one doesn’t design a life upon his or her core values, the structure will be shaky, and in many cases, may crumble under its emptiness.

Coaching can help drive improvement in each of these behaviors shared among successful people. Ask me how I can help you become more successful in the ways you define life success.

Reference

Gschwandtner, G. (2018), Five Tips to Achieve Consistent Success, Selling Power, July 2018.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

What I’ve Learned from Coaching

humanity.jpgPeople sometimes ask me what I’ve learned from my coaching practice. Although the list is long, what has most surprised me most through my professional journey is how each of my clients has drawn me closer in seeing the spirit of humanity—the fullness of what it means to be human.

I was called into this profession after decades of achieving my own personal success in Corporate America, and now I’ve entered an era where I’m purposeful helping others be successful in their relationships, work, and purpose. I’ve had the thrill of directly impacting the bottom line and now have the opportunity to affect not only my client’s lives but those of their colleagues, families, and generations to come.

Coaching helps me suspend judgment, see different worldviews, and understand the breadth of human struggles. Coaching helps me see the full definition of what it means to be human. I’m honored to see the struggle, not the facade the client may present to the world.

My clients help each other without ever having met. I sit in the middle of humanity and see lives unfold, strategies implemented, and the feedback from the world build my own database. Without revealing names or circumstances, I have perspectives that challenge faulty thinking and can share successful client strategies that may help the next client.

People tell me my coaching has been a priceless gift. They’ve been able to be authentic, known, encouraged, challenged, inspired, and see their lives change for the better. What my clients may not realize is that I too have received a priceless gift in return. My clients learn from me, and I also learn from them.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, business, and life coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How Can Coaching Help You?



GreatnessI’m frequently asked what I coach on. Although it’s probably not a useful answer, the simple answer is quite a lot. Most coaches focus on a niche market and clientele. As a former business executive, who specialized in business development, marketing, and sales, I fully agree with this strategy. However, I’ve taken the road less traveled by offering a diverse range of coaching services based on my unique skill set and passion to see people grow across all dimensions of their lives. I’ve coached people in:

  1. Leadership
    • Improve ability to influence colleagues’ performance at all levels and across generational cohorts
    • Develop skills for coaching direct reports and teams
    • Identify and overcome personal barriers to performance
    • Cultivate stronger relationships
    • Improve communication and conflict resolution skills
    • Manage through a crisis
    • Build teams with the right skills sets and behaviors to succeed
  2. Career/Job
    • Select a job or profession aligned with preferences and strengths
    • Create a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile
    • Prepare for a job interview
    • Lead effective meetings and projects that deliver results
  3. Life
    • Create a personal, value-driven vision and mission
    • Identify core values and strengths and use for purpose and success
    • Establish and drive on meaningful goals
    • Balance work and family
    • Handle difficult situations
    • Navigate through different seasons of life (young adulthood, empty-nester)
  4. Business
    • Create a compelling vision and mission
    • Develop strategy and winning execution plans
    • Build and lead teams that deliver results
    • Identify and expand brand awareness
    • Prioritize and manage time to focus on the right things
    • Enhance productivity with limited resources
    • Develop sales and negotiation skills
  5. Financial
    • Create short- and long-term financial goals
    • Learn budgeting and financial skills
    • Understand money mindset and how it influences decisions
    • Build and be accountable to a personal budget
    • Plan for retirement
  6. Marriage/Premarital
    • Learn effective tools to communicate and solve conflicts
    • Understand different spousal personalities and how they work together
    • Define and meet marriage needs
    • Blend families successfully

When clients engage me as their coach, they learn and practice new skills and behaviors that translate across all life dimensions. Many clients see a holistic life improvement, even though they may have initially focused on one area. For example, relationship strategies in how to lead people at work are transferable to family life.

My clients have said I’ve changed their life for the better. What can I help you with? I welcome a conversation. We can talk about an approach and how to get from here to there. Although I live in Houston, my clients live across the country. Video calling is a wonderful tool for coaching. Don’t let distance between us stop you from getting the coaching you want.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or engage her as your coach by reaching out for a conversation at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com