Coaching Case Study – Moving a Practice from New Orleans to Austin, Post-Katrina

Debra:
I have been quite busy doing all the things that you got me geared up to do when we first talked back in mid-January.  You offered me a free teleconference after reading my “missive,” as you called it.  I had entitled that full-page email “Confused in Austin” and after re-reading it tonight, I see that I was truly confused.
 
 As I stated in that “missive,” I have so many different interests, skills, and experiences, but have not known how to organize them into a coherent whole, especially since being uprooted in such a traumatic way with Katrina forcing my family and me out of New Orleans.  Our “lives” flipped upside down on such short notice; my kids had experienced various adjustment issues in the year and a half since we have been here in Austin, and I had been functioning primarily in the coping/re-establishing equilibrium mode for over a year.  That day — January 12, 2007 — I asked you to help me achieve some clarity and direction with my career development and that is exactly what you did during that hour and a half telephone session.   Amazing!

First of all, you normalized my experience.  When I expressed that I felt overwhelmed with trying to develop two careers at once in a new, highly competitive city like Austin, you validated my feelings totally:  “You’re feeling that because what you are doing is, indeed, overwhelming.”  Then you proceeded to help me see that, although the task might feel overwhelming, it certainly is not impossible.  That realization was empowering and I was so high that day after talking with you that I knew  — finally — that everything was going to work out exactly as it should, albeit with some hard work on my part for the next year or so.  With a tentative plan in mind, I felt much more optimistic and, therefore, patient about hanging in and doing what I could do each day, each week, each month to develop my “presence” in this awesome community.  And, lo and behold, it is starting to happen.  And more incredible, I am starting to have fun doing it!!

You helped me see that my skills and experience as a therapist would serve me well in establishing new relationships with people in the Austin community, and you reframed my resistance to “marketing” (something I had never had to do before due to living in one city for nearly 30 yrs) as merely establishing relationships with people (something that I very much like and feel confident in doing).  Additionally, you suggested that perhaps I might try looking at this marketing business in a different light and you recommended the book Rainmaking Made Simple to me, which I immediately ordered on Amazon.  That book was, and is, quite helpful in keeping me headed in the direction you helped me forge. 

I cannot thank you enough for your generosity and your help with brainstorming ideas when I was floundering.  You supported my experience and helped give it some shape for the current task of presenting myself in this city to others who do not know me at all.  You suggested that I write articles; since that conversation, I have written several and am excited about that direction because, as I told you, I love writing.  Also, from there I branched out into the training arena and have met with different people from various entities in town who are looking for therapists and/or lawyers to provide some CLE or CEU training opportunities in areas that I can offer.  One meeting has led to another and another; I am no longer having “random acts of lunch,” but rather interesting, mutually satisfying interactions with others who are suggesting yet other people for me to meet and get to know.  Today is the end of another productive, yet fun and sociable week; as I am learning to network and market, I am finding myself actually developing, with some of the folks I meet, what will one day turn into actual friendships, not mere acquaintances.  That is such a good feeling, and I thank you so much for getting me started down this cool path.  One day, I hope to meet you in person.
 
Best regards,
D. H.
Austin