Why My Core Purpose is Leading Me Back to the Coaching Seat

Twenty-one years ago this month, Daniel Harkavy invited me to join him on a coaching session. Not more than 20 minutes into the call, I found myself fidgeting in my seat — I wanted to push Daniel out of the coach’s chair and help this client myself. I identified with what he was going through at his company, and I knew I could offer some ideas on what next steps he should consider.

Anyone who knew me at the time wasn’t surprised: they knew that I’m at my best when advising and mentoring others, whether they’re executive leaders, friends from my faith community or my own children. At the time, though, Building Champions was just a fledgling start-up in Portland, and I had an offer on the table from a more established company in southern California. Despite the inherent risk with joining a young company, I jumped in and have never looked back.

During these two decades, I’ve filled many roles at the company, my most recent being its president for the last six years. I’ve tried to consistently stay in touch with my core purpose, regardless of how my title shifted. And today, I’m writing to share about my most recent title change at Building Champions.

A few weeks ago we welcomed a new president, Kirk Lohmolder, to lead Building Champions’ daily operations and guide our growth for the coming years. In turn, I will be throwing all my support behind his efforts while also re-claiming my coaching seat. It might be easy for me to look at this as a demotion or being escorted out to pasture. But here’s what is actually going on: The Building Champions culture is continuing to foster a place for me to live out my calling.

Whether my title is “president” or “janitor,” as long as I am holding fast to my core purpose and my faith; I know I am in the right place. These last few months have certainly brought their share of mixed feelings, but I remain convicted that I am here to support and expand the mission of Building Champions.

Professional transitions such as my own aren’t anything new, especially to our clients. Every day our coaches counsel executives on how to handle such highly impactful career changes. It’s no easy task, and it’s not a path I’d recommend walking alone.

If you find yourself in a season of transition, I want to share a few guiding principles that are supporting me during my own journey back to the coach’s chair:

  1. Change is hard because it always involves loss. But if it’s the right change, the gain is always more fulfilling.
  2. As my friend and CEO Mentor Jerry Baker says, “The best is yet to come.” Give yourself time to find clarity around where your core purpose will be put to good use next. The more clarity you have around the future, the more that clarity can bring hope, excitement and a new, fresh perspective.
  3. This is the time to ensure that you’re leading from personhood, not from authority. People will be looking to you to see if you are modeling the behaviors you believe in your heart.

A few people have asked what I’m looking forward to about this new season of life, as if my entire world is being flipped upside down. I’m quick to tell them, “Other than the gift of extra time, there’s not much that’s changing about my daily life.”

I’ve already begun coaching calls with senior executives, and I’m eager to connect with anyone who could benefit from someone helping them navigate the world they live in. If that could be you, I’d be glad to connect and learn more.


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