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  • Writer's pictureJohn Galvin

Reflections on My Year

As we end the year and the decade, I think we all have a tendency to reflect on it. We think about our highs and our lows, our accomplishments and areas where we fell short. And we begin to look forward to the new year and the decade ahead. We take stock of where we are and what we want to accomplish. For some, turning the page of the calendar to the new year represents a new start, potentially even the promise of a new life. For others, it is the status quo, just another day, week, month or year. There is no judgement in these statements, because I have experienced both. And I have had years where the new year sparked something not planned or even thought of before. This year I want a new start. I want to start a leadership coaching business.

This isn’t the first year that I have decided to do something new or different. On January 2, 2008, I was driving to work when I heard an ad on the radio for a fundraiser for the American Lung Association. They wanted people to climb Mt Hood, raising money from family and friends in support of the climb. I got to my office and signed up. I started training by working out two to three times a week and hiking every weekend with the group I would climb with. Four months later I was at about 10,000 feet when a lightning storm was on the horizon, moving towards the mountain. As a result, I didn’t summit. And I was incredibly disappointed. But I went back a month later and did summit. The next year, I took a ten day mountaineering course and then went on to summit Hood a second time and over the next few years summitted three of the seven highest continental peaks. I learned a lot about myself climbing mountains. It is mental and it is physical and you have to prepare both to be successful. It is not about summiting, it is about getting home safely.

In December of 2017, after deciding to leave Intel, I was thinking about what to do next. My wife and I had an amazing dinner experience at a holiday party with the chef of Lazy Bear. His stories of staging in restaurants inspired me. The next night as I was relaying the story of our dinner experience, a friend told me about the San Francisco Cooking School and their six month full time program for commercial cooks. I signed up right away and started on January 2, 2018. It was a way for me to live my dream of becoming a restaurant level cook while also deciding what I wanted to do next in my life. I learned so many things and made so many mistakes, it was a humbling and challenging experience. I learned to cook at scale, how to layer flavors and entirely new flavor profiles. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to have that experience. I hope to have the opportunity to cook for large events in the future, but the restaurant path is not the right one for me now. Cooking and large events are part of a bigger dream I have for the future…

At the beginning of 2019, I decided to pursue a certification as a leadership coach. With the influence of family and friends, I decided to lean into something very different. I found climbing mountains and cooking in a restaurant humbling and challenging, but learning to be a leadership coach gave an entirely new dimension to both. It provided a view of myself that I had not seen before, but others clearly had. Like climbing a mountain, I had to learn to lead from behind. I had to learn to not get ahead of my client or solve their problem for them, but to stay behind and like on a climb provide the safety of a rope for clients to achieve their aspirational goals. And just as I experienced in cooking school, there was so much unlearning of previous habits, good and bad, like how I had coached as a manager or how I had mentored or consulted. Instead I learned how to engage someone completely with curiosity and empathy, suspending judgement. And the hardest of all, I needed to leave my problem solving skills, which had served me so well at Intel, at the door. Because as a coach, I don’t solve problems. I help enable my client to see their problems differently. To do that, I learned how to flex my energy level so I could be fully present for my client, giving me an appreciation for unlearning and learning I had not had before. I also relearned something about myself, I need to be OK asking for help. I can’t do it all on my own, just as my clients can’t achieve their aspirational goals on their own.

Early in my coaching certification process, I decided leadership coaching would be my next career. I immediately started building my website, identifying my perfect client (someone like me as I was working on becoming a leader). I defined my areas of focus, my coaching packages and pricing. I outlined a business plan. I updated my LinkedIn and even started writing some articles and posting them on LinkedIn.

A couple of months into the program, our 20 year old son, Jackson, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The world stopped. Suddenly, nothing else was important. Our daily life was now focused on him with days every week at the hospital or when home making sure he was taking his medications six times a day. Or trying to get him to eat when he had no appetite and was nauseous from his chemotherapy. I have cared for people in my life with cancer before, but nothing really prepares you to do it again. I decided to continue coaching clients to get my coaching certification but put my business plans on hold. At times, it was a welcome distraction and at other times it gave me something to do when Jackson was resting. Six months later, seemingly against all odds, I have my coaching certification and Jackson is in remission!

So now, on January 2, 2020, I find myself reflecting on my year and my life. I’m thinking about the year ahead. I don’t think it will be like 2008 or 2018 or 2019. No mountains or new programs. But, a new business. A new normal. And as part of my new normal, I want a new start. I want to start my coaching business. And I could use your help spreading the word.

As founder of Triskelion Consulting, I work with emerging and high-potential leaders to improve their leadership skills and team dynamic using a design based approach to achieve specific goals. I want to work with leaders who are ready to take the next step in their career, moving up and broadening their responsibility. I want to work with clients who recognize that what has served them well to this point in their career will not be the stuff that will get them to the next level. I’m looking for clients with grit, humility and courage. A leader’s success is dependent on their team, and I’m passionate about team development and performance too.

Given my twenty-two years at Intel, I know what it takes to grow and to achieve outstanding results. I have experience leading global strategic initiatives. I have formed new teams and businesses. I have acquired and integrated a business. And I have experienced reductions in force and shutting down businesses. I’ve made the transition from a “hands on” role to a role that required a “view from the balcony.” I experienced corporate culture at multiple levels. Including the start-up space when coaching founders in a tech accelerator for two years. These experiences allow me to make a connection or to “see” my clients, to enter their worlds and offer a fresh perspective. This experience of being deeply seen often unlocks new perspectives and potential within them.

I coach with my signature blend of warmth and courage. I’m insightful and observant, even when it leads to uncomfortable conversations. I coach with a heart as big as my laugh and bring curiosity and empathy to each of my coaching conversations. I take a holistic approach to coaching, focusing on the personal, the professional and client as self. I work with clients on sustainable change, focusing on the tools and practices necessary to achieve their life dreams and ambitions. Location doesn’t matter, I’m coaching clients across the country, using video, phone and in person when we can make it work.

As we close the year and the decade, I am grateful for so many things, including my career, taking on the challenge of climbing mountains, the opportunity to go to cooking school and especially for the transformational experience of becoming a certified coach. I am very grateful Jackson is now in remission. The past six months have been a journey that we didn’t walk alone, we couldn’t have done it without Jackson’s medical team and all of our friends and family who have provided us with support. I know I could not have achieved my coaching certification without the incredible support from the Hudson team and my cohort. And I’m grateful for my extended network who have voiced so much support to me along the way. I hope I can count on your continued support as I build my coaching business.

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