Client Study #3

How I helped a wise, skeptical social worker expand her professional life, break out of her rut, and start “living out loud”.

Client Introduction:

Name: Nicky Mendenhall
Profession: Independent Social Worker, LMFT and Keynote Speaker

Nicky is a wise, self-aware woman who’s been serving her clients compassionately as a marriage and family therapist since 1980. She’s bright, adventurous and energetic, and she refuses to accept anything less than living her life fully each day. As a personal development expert herself, Nicky initially carried a healthy skepticism that coaching could work for her. And with over 20 years experience in the field, who can blame her? As you’ll see, she’s the type of person that doesn’t allow even her own skepticism to stand in her way.

Client Goals and Challenges:

When Nicky initially contacted me in January 2004, she was feeling stuck. She was yearning for something new in her life, although she wasn’t completely clear what it was or how to make it happen. It’s not that things weren’t going well for her. They were, but she was bored and would no longer settle for having her life be just “good,” as it had been for so long.

As our initial discussions deepened, it became clear that Nicky wanted to expand herself professionally. In particular she wanted to further develop herself as a writer and public speaker. She had already joined a writer’s group, and she wanted to write more personal essays. Her greatest challenge, however, was to “trust her own voice.” She had trouble believing she had something to say, and she needed more confidence to break through her fear and just say it.

In her professional practice, Nicky had maintained a case load of 12-15 clients per week for several years. She wanted to expand that number closer to 25 clients per week, and she needed some expert advice and support to further develop the business and marketing skills that would enable her to break free of the inertia that had built up over the years.

In addition to expanding herself professionally, Nicky also wanted to increase her income and build a larger financial reserve. That goal, in turn, would contribute to her goal of wanting to travel more.

What We Did:

I initially spent some time helping Nicky get very clear about what she wanted, and although she was skeptical that it would work, I asked her to write down everything she wanted to accomplish.

The next step was to strengthen Nicky’s confidence, help her trust her own voice and get her past her fears. As she stated, her “fears had become rules,” and those rules were keeping her from achieving her goals.

We spent some time flushing out the limiting beliefs that locked her fears in place. Beliefs such as “I have nothing important to say.” We reframed those beliefs based upon a more accurate and healthy assessment of her extensive experience and resulting wisdom. We followed that by creating some important and powerful distinctions to help her consistently internalize and express more confident and effective ways of being.

We then got her to begin writing more, initially, just for herself. Soon, she began writing what I call “power stories,” which are personal written stories based upon one’s real-life experiences. These stories can be cathartic for the writer, as well as entertaining and educational for the reader. We followed that up with some technical training on how to develop and publish an electronic newsletter.

In her professional practice, we created a plan and established some goals for growing her client base. We further developed her marketing skills, drew up a basic marketing plan and designed a new brochure. We went on to assess and strengthen the infrastructure of her business to support the larger client load.

We also developed a plan to expand her speaking career and helped her begin the process of booking some speaking engagements and conducting seminars.

Results Achieved:

Nicky has refused to allow her initial skepticism to prevent her receiving tremendous value from her investment in coaching. Shortly after beginning our work together, her professional practice began to grow. Within six months, she exceeded her goal of 25 clients per month, which, in turn, led to an income increase of approximately 40%.

Personally and professionally, Nicky’s confidence has blossomed as well. In her own words, she states, “I have a new confidence in myself, and I’m much more able to put myself out there.” That “new confidence,” along with her newly developed technical skills, has enabled her to create and publish her own electronic newsletter titled “Living Out Loud.”

Further, since beginning our work, Nicky has officially become a professional public speaker. She’s conducted more than a few paid public speaking engagements, and she has several more scheduled in the future.

Her social life is flourishing as well. She’s been dating more frequently, which has helped her learn a great deal about herself. She’s certainly having more fun and may have even found her perfect life partner. Time will tell.

To summarize, since beginning our work together, Nicky feels much more energized about her life. She’s more alive and productive, and she states happily, “I have more things to do now than I have time for.” With her new-found confidence and increased income, she’s equipped to take more risks, achieve her goals and turn her dreams into reality. She finally trusts her own voice and is, herself, “living out loud.”