TODAY, I'M EXCITED TO DEBUT THE 2nd IN A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS ABOUT COACHING, FEATURING MY FORMER CLIENT AND NOW APPRENTICE, JESSICA TRAINOR.
Jessica is not having your shit, and I love it. She is a whip-smart, fiercely loyal, crazy talented, and a seriously fabulous brain-based coach in the making. It's been such a pleasure working with Jessica. She has committed to the work in a big way, and transformed her life to suit. A year ago, she was working as an office manager. Today, she is freelancing full-time as an opera singer, voice teacher, and much more while simultaneously training to become Rowan Coaching's next coach. She's in a happy relationship with a great guy, and she's learning circus arts (lyra, silks, etc) on the side. IN ALL HER SPARE TIME.
I'm so proud of my clients, and Jessica is no exception! Since I've been training Jessica, I've been really interested to see her perspective transform from client to coach - which is not only something that inspires me, but something from which I learn! In that spirit, I had a few questions for her...
To start, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I currently live in Somerville, MA, and am pursuing my career as an opera singer, performer, voice teacher, and am apprenticing with Rowan Coaching to become a coach, too!
When did you decide to look into coaching, and why?
There are two reasons – first, I was interested in coaching as a career. Second, I had recently escaped from an abusive relationship. I felt super alone, disjointed, and like all my dreams and plans had come undone. I was so stuck in my head, and I didn’t know what to do. While I was in therapy to address my anxiety as a result of the trauma, I wanted something else that would help me get back on track with my career in performing, and help me plan for the future I had once dreamed.
Why did you choose Colleen / Rowan Coaching at this point?
Honestly, I was about to move home to Pittsburgh, PA and hit reset on my life. I felt like a failure. I was ready to throw in the towel, and start all over again. When I realized I was really about to give up, I knew I had to try something different. My voice teacher, Dana Varga, actually connected me to Colleen, saying she specialized working with creatives, or people with non-traditional career paths.
If you had to describe what you wanted to work on or change in 2 sentences or less, what would they be?
Although I initially came to Colleen to work on realizing my performance and coaching career, I soon realized what I really wanted to change my mindset. I felt lost in this cloud of negativity, and it led me to feeling like an imposter among my friends and colleagues.
At the beginning, coaching felt…
No joke – it felt fucking magical. I left feeling empowered after each call with Colleen, and ready to work in between our sessions. It was nice to have someone outside of my sphere of influence who could see things with a neutral eye, AND keep me accountable and on task.
The longer I worked with Colleen / Rowan Coaching, the more I realized…
I realized if I shifted my focus to the possibilities, going after my goals became more fun (and made them achievable!). Thinking in terms of “possible” also opened me up to opportunities I would have overlooked because “they weren’t on the path”, or would have skipped on because “I wasn’t ready”.
How long have you worked with Colleen / Rowan Coaching?
Almost a year.
What are your top three key insights from working with Colleen / Rowan Coaching?
- Try everything with the spirit of play. Even if you make a mistake, that is just a misfired idea to laugh about later.
- Someone once told me this at a music festival: do it for the story. Big moves will cause big changes and big growth.
- Trust the process. That means working with the discomfort, the challenges, and moments of brilliance.
In fact, one of the most important things I learned about myself is…
The necessity of forgiveness and kindness I need to show myself in order to achieve my goals.
What do you like about the process?
Colleen never told me what to do. I sat in the driver seat the whole time, and her questions simply challenged me to think differently to address the issues I faced.
What would you change about the process, if you could?
Not a single thing – I love that brain bending goodness. That is the only way I cultivated real change.
What tangible progress or change has occurred in your life as a result of working with Colleen / Rowan Coaching?
I left my day job to freelance entirely as a performer, teacher, and now coach. I knew that if I didn’t take the plunge, I would miss gigs, and opportunities to grow as a professional performer. I wouldn’t have the availability to teach, and I would have no space to explore coaching, too. It has not been all sunshine, but I have been so much happier and more productive in my pursuits as a result.
Would you agree that coaching has a significant Return on Investment (ROI)? Why or why not?
Absolutely yes. Since I left my day job, I found a teaching job, increased my church gigs, landed a ringing gig, found a network of opportunities to take when singing gigs were slow, will perform a principal role in an opera for the first time, landed my first opportunity as studio artist at a young artist program, and I traveled to London for a week to participate in the Neuroleadership Institute for coaching training. It has been a ride to say the least.
Three words I would use to describe Colleen are…
Kind, No-nonsense, Brilliant. (But, also Unicorn Fairy Godmother).
Colleen / Rowan Coaching are exceptionally good at…
…integrating. I sometimes look at my jobs separately, and Colleen has helped me find the value in fusing the mentalities, and sharing strategies between my many hats (and even from my hobbies and interests!).
Coaching has definitely improved my confidence in / ability to…
…be a performing artist, teacher, and coach…and just live the life I dreamed.
Having worked with Colleen / Rowan Coaching, it is obvious that she stands for…
…unconditional support/love, entrepreneurial spirit, curiosity, and adventure.
If you’re thinking of hiring Colleen / Rowan Coaching, I would say…
…do it yesterday. You really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
What are you hoping to accomplish next?
I’m hoping to formally become a part of Rowan Coaching, and formally begin my coaching career. I also hope to land more opera gigs and roles, and even experiment with creating my own opera-tunities (ZING)!
Where can we stay in touch with your progress?