The Coaching Secret

I was feeling stuck.

It was 2003. I was rare among friends in having one name on my business card since college graduation.

Over 12 years, I worked out of J.P. Morgan’s offices on Wall Street, Midtown Manhattan and San Francisco. I had incredible bosses, was surrounded by mentors, and enjoyed some of the best professional training in corporate America.

My first role was on a small team charged with building out investment products called mutual funds.  I didn’t know what they were, but they seemed important.

I quickly became one of the leaders on the team. It grew in size to where I didn’t know every person’s name. I balanced a busy travel schedule with studying for the CFA charter. I lived through the 1990s Internet boom. And bust. And two corporate mergers.

But things were beginning to feel different. I no longer felt energized. I didn’t hate my job, but I no longer loved it. There were several things I did love–San Francisco, the growing and ever-important wealth advisory industry, and man with whom I had just purchased a home.

I chose love.

Having always had a passion for understanding money and its importance as a tool, I decided to pivot my career to the wealth advisory world.

There weren’t many people I could openly talk to about this– most of my friends were colleagues or clients. I had all kinds of questions. Would this reignite my professional fire? Was being a wealth advisor the best use of my skills? And simply, how do I do this?

One day, a former business contact told me he had become an executive coach. I asked what that meant and about the people he worked with. He asked how things were going in my life and career.

We had some follow-up conversations. With him, I had more than someone to talk to. I had a non-biased partner. And soon, I hired my first executive coach.

One of the reasons I chose Craig was because he was a new coach. He had recently made a career transition from financial services to coaching. From the emotional to the practical, he understood me. Every time we were together, Craig was solely focused on me.

Only me. It was luxurious.

He asked probing questions and listened intently; he played devils advocate. He gave me homework assignments, exercises which my uncovered my strengths, likes and values. I immediately felt re-energized.

Craig and I worked together for six months. And here’s the funny thing–I didn’t become a wealth advisor.

But here’s what I did do.

I did leave J.P. Morgan the following year. I remained in the asset management industry, joining a start-up where I partnered with the most forward-thinking wealth advisory firms in the U.S. I focused on my personal relationship; together, we renovated our newly-purchased home.

I’m grateful that I continued my job while exploring my burning questions with Craig. I found I was ready to test myself–to know that my success was attributed to me, not just the company name on my business card. I realized I could be a leader in the wealth advisory industry without being a wealth advisor. Finally, I found that putting down roots in San Francisco was the thing I wanted most, and that uncertainty on the personal side of my life was driving me crazy as I contemplated the professional side.

My work with Craig was incredibly impactful, even though it ultimately led me down a different path.

Going forward, I found myself more adept at making decisions and subtle career shifts based on my inner truths. For example, given my personal passion for emerging markets, I jumped at the chance to lead Matthews Asia’s U.S. investor initiatives. It was an incredible eight years, despite having to live through the late 2000s Global Financial Crisis. And the rapid rebound. And several CEO changes.

One of the most rewarding parts of my Matthews career involved two coaches. Jim was retained to work with our management team. He opened my eyes to conscious leadership, tools like the Enneagram, and the importance of commitments. In our 1-on-1 meetings, I realized how utterly drained I was feeling. Jim kept me centered. He also called me on my occasional B.S. And sometimes I need that.

Having recommitted to coaching, I retained a second coach to elevate the effectiveness of our sales and client management team. Jamie introduced many of the same tools I had learned from Jim. Our focus for the team was communication–both internally and with clients and prospects.

Our dedicated team coaching days were among my favorite days at Matthews. I loved seeing my team members engaged, curious and experimental. We’d break for lunch, and Jamie and I would meet in a conference room, reviewing what we learned that morning and brainstorming next steps. I was a partner in coaching; at the same time, I considered her my coach.

Working with Jamie, I realized I felt lonely at work. It seemed an odd thing to say. But I didn’t have a trusted person internally to bounce things off; across our management team, I was a rare female voice. Jamie understood. She listened. We brainstormed. It was luxurious.

Several years ago, I made a life pivot and created my own Portfolio Career. Leadership development is one of my three focus areas. I apply my ongoing learning to both my personal growth and consulting work.

I found others less interested in what I was doing, but rather how I navigated my life and career. Several individuals asked if they could hire me as a coach. I thought carefully about it. I knew from personal experience the impact of the right coach at the right time.

I said yes.

And now, success coaching is a component of my work. My passion is helping individuals and teams find their “why” towards having lifetime impact. I leverage my own experiences and my favorite coaching tools. To me, nothing is more rewarding than knowing you were part of someone’s aha moment.

A coach can help you see what is often impossible to see yourself; a coach can get you past that feeling of being “stuck.”

What each person seeks from coaching and the selection of a coach is very personal. Luckily, I stumbled upon my coaching needs and choices.

Yes, I started my career as an investment professional. I’m still an investor in the traditional sense. But I’ve found investing in myself–and the lifetime impact of others–offers the highest return of all.

Coaching is an investment in yourself, and your choice of coach is a very personal one. Learn more about my work as a Success Coach and let’s see if I might be a fit for you.

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Jodi Morris Written by:

Venture Guide to High-Achieving Seekers. Success Coach. Venture Travel Curator. Impact Investor. Traveler. Writer. Global Connector. When we connect to others' stories it changes our own. Let's Venture!