Coaching Alumni Profiles: Lori Rhoades
by Lori Rhoades
My coaching story has a very unconventional beginning, as I was completely unfamiliar with coaching when my journey began. As an active duty military spouse and a United States Army civilian, I accepted a position at the Pentagon shortly after learning that my husband was being reassigned to Washington, D.C. Part of my new duties was to manage a two-year pilot coaching program that involved sending senior executives to coach training so they could provide coaching services to our workforce. My supervisor recommended that I attend the coach training so that I would have a better understanding of the coaching program and coaching in general. So off to George Mason University’s Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being (LCOWB) cohort 2 training I went.
I did not think that coaching was my forte, but was eager to participate in the training so that I could do my job. Little did I know, my life would be forever changed from the first day I set foot in the classroom. I had been warned that the course was life-altering, but I had no idea just how transformational this journey would be.
The LCOWB program provided the tools I needed to help others become better versions of themselves through a structured process of focusing on clients’ needs; coaching people, not problems; being cognizant of the being verses the doing; being fully present; and how to truly listen to people using both audial and visual senses. But even more than that, this program taught me how to coach others on mindfulness and gratitude – practices that can greatly enhance our lives by changing our personal outlook and perspective.
Now I see things very differently than I did before participating in LCOWB. I am less inclined to infuse my “story” or opinion and more inclined to be curious to find out the truth. I see things in a much more positive light and tend to be more willing give others the benefit of the doubt.
I can honestly say that coaching provides me with a job satisfaction that I never would have imagined possible. It is very powerful and rewarding to interact with other employees at such a deep level and to watch them discover their own answers to overcome challenges and to set and meet both professional and personal goals. Not only did this program improve my professional life, it has also made me a much happier person in general. In fact it was so transformational that I encouraged my husband to attend cohort 3! I am truly grateful to have had this experience.
I continue to provide coaching services to federal employees as a part of my job. I am a part of a group of federal coaches who are on a mission to change the coaching climate from a punitive view to a professional development view. We are in the process of making our pilot coaching program a permanent program and we hope to grow our coach and client base significantly over the next few years.
Now I have over 120 hours of coaching government employees and others under my belt. I have obtained my ACC credentials and am looking forward to see what coaching has in store for me in the next five years!
Apply to join the next cohort here