February 2014 Newsletter

by Alison Hendren

February Newsletter: How Successful Relationships Impact Career and More...

The month of February has us reflecting on love, partnership and balancing work and life. Three of the core members of the Coaching Out of the Box® team (Alison Hendren MCC - CEO, Bruce McLeod PCC - Chief Culture Officer, Amy Ruppert MCC - Chief Learning Officer) have each been in long successful marriages. We asked them to each answer the same two questions:

How has being in relationship impacted your work? Neil has always been a humble supporter of my work. He quietly does all kinds of things that make my life easier like cooking, building and maintaining our fabulous home, amazing landscaping that I look out at from my office, washing my car before I leave for various business trips and bringing in his good sense when I start to go off the rails. He has never taken a coaching course BUT he has one key incredibly important skill...he listens!


What advice would you give to people trying to nurture career and a healthy relationship? Nurture what each other is passionate about and don’t require your partner to be passionate about the same things you are. Be a champion and advocate for your partner's talents and abilities. Neil has by far been my biggest supporter.

How has being in relationship impacted your work? The depth of our relationship makes Lori the PERFECT mirror. She reflects back to me the good bad and the ugly but is able to do so in a way that cares, nurtures, loves, and is planted fully in the intent of wanting the best for me (and us). The nature of the work I do demands a lot of physical (travelling) and emotional energy. I am at my best as a coach when I am fully in service to others and that means being fully vulnerable and transparent—it can be exhausting. Lori is my source of energy. She is a refuge, a safe place to re-charge and reground myself. She believes in me when I often have trouble believing in myself. Lori is my rock. She is the ONLY thing I have in life that I know is certain and absolute. We got engaged six weeks after we met and I knew from the very moment we met that I would spend the rest of my life with her.

What advice would you give to people trying to nurture career and a healthy relationship? A healthy relationship is rooted first and foremost in your love and care for self. When I look at the times of struggle for us over 30+ years, it coincides with the time one or the other of us was not paying attention to self. That may sound counterintuitive, but I have learned that if I am not loving and respecting me, I can't do or be for others. Secondly, find the career that is your passion, not just a job. It has taken me most of my life to find that but the difference it has made to my relationship with Lori and my three adult children is truly unbelievable. By finding true fulfillment in my career, I no longer carry the expectation that my family will provide it all.

How has being in relationship impacted your work? When I first told Brian I wanted to become a coach he leaned in and asked me to tell him more about it. He was able to detach from what was at stake for him (it would mean I'd be leaving a lucrative business behind) and support me in doing something no one had ever heard of. He was very supportive throughout the whole process and was willing to be the steady-Eddy guy earning the steady paycheck in the corporate environment while I chased my dream. Over the years he has held down the home front while I globetrotted to advance coaching throughout the world.

He wasn't so much enrolled in the vision I had for coaching as he was a believer in me and the passion I have for coaching.

Being in a relationship has encouraged me to look at myself. There is no way to spend a few decades with another person day in and day out without them becoming a powerful mirror for when you are being true to yourself and the relationship and when you are not. The more decades we are together that mirror has become a powerful microscope as well. Just the nature of being and staying together for so long forces one to grow introspectively and evolve in the delicate dance of being in relationship with another. I have learned how to have compassionate conflict where I can be at complete odds with someone I care deeply about without giving up on them or us. We work it out, no matter how painful, difficult or challenging.

What advice would you give to people trying to nurture career and a healthy relationship? Love and lasting partnership is built one day, one year, one moment at a time. It requires a constant renewal and willingness to see yourself and the other person in new ways. You learn to accept the imperfections of the other and support what you may not agree with or are afraid of. Most importantly, the career is a means to support what is most important - the relationship and what is built around that.

What Would You Do?

You're working with a client who is extremely good at the work they do, but who doesn't enjoy doing the work at all. They are reluctant to even think about switching professions because of the seniority and level of aptitude they have achieved, though it brings them no joy. What would you do?

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Quote of the Month

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