Photo Credit: Nik Shuliahin,

Written by Ashlee Dutton
June 17, 2020

Coach and the Beanstalk

Sometimes, what coaching is and how you become one can be quite the fairy tale. In my case, coaching was not the knight on the trusty steed coming to rescue me as we galloped happily ever after into the horizon, it was more like a lost soul risking it all on three magic beans.

I was less than a month into my new position in leadership and development–a position that was a complete career trajectory change from my entire adult working life–when I persistently sought out accredited coaching programs so I could “show them” what a coach is. I thoroughly remember the moment I laid out the program and the cost in front of the President of the institution for which I worked and his response was, “I’m in this for the long haul if you are.”

And right then, I realized I was trading my cow–my “solid” grasp on what work is and the comfort of doing things how I always did them–for some magic beans.

The greatest reward of all, throughout this entire fairy tale adventure, has been the Magic Mirror (You know the one, “Mirror Mirror on the wall . . .”). But instead of the usual trope, I was spouting, “Who’s the client that needs help most of all?” and boy did it answer!

Me. You. We. I.

To truly be a coach, I realized that I had to become my own client first. In order to see and address my internal conscious reflection in that mirror, it was my turn to take the role of brave adventurer within my own fairy tale–giants and all. 

The craziest part about it all was that this mirror was here the whole time. Becoming a coach didn’t bestow upon me as if by don of a blade on each shoulder, a title of Mighty Sir-Skills-A-Lot, and a magic spell book with all the answers to life’s success. Rather, it reminded me that I already had those answers and that person in the mirror, alone, had the power to put them into play.

Coach or not, that mirror is there, that armor is already yours for the taking. You can already tap into that coach mindset to harness the power of choice in your own life by looking into that mirror and asking yourself:

Why do I want to climb that beanstalk?

When I asked myself that question, what I thought was a run of the mill box to check for my job, turned into a definitive philosophy to how and why I work. 

Ask about your “why” and here is the tricky part, listen to the answer. Truly hearing your “why” may be the prescriptive adjustment you need to view your purpose just that much clearer.

What giant(s) stand in my way?

My “Not Good Enough” giant stood at 74.2 feet tall and I was caught between his index and thumb, greatly feeling the pressure of being squished into oblivion. 

See your giant. Name your giant. Slowly start to develop strategies to recognize that giant, where it resides, and what song you need to make that harp play to lull it back to sleep. You are the only giant that belongs in your story.

The beauty is, when you begin to coach around that giant in the mirror, you begin to see the disclaimer inscribed at the bottom: “Objects in the mirror are smaller than they appear.”

What is my golden harp? (aka “Do You, Boo!”)

What is it that you possess that keeps the valleys green? What is it about you that would make you climb a beanstalk and slay a giant for? That is you. That is what makes you an intuitive, inspirational, connected, whatever-it-may-be coach.

Find it. Be it. Live it.

There’s no enchanted goose–no seminar or training that’s going to give you the one-size-fits-all tools and niche and skills all wrapped up in a golden egg–only you have the ability to create your unique and authentic power. Unleash it!

There will be trials. There will be times that giant’s too big to slay and you return down the beanstalk with no harp, no golden eggs. There will be times that not all of your beans sprout into an impressively-statured stalk. And that’s okay! A flat tale never lives to be told.

When you realize that the hero of this journey is you, that you’re the client in the mirror, that’s when your fairy tale truly begins.

And they all lived happily ever after.

How would you like to close this chapter of your tale today?

Photo Credit: Nik Shuliahin,


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