Through her coaching company, Get There From Here, Jennifer Gleeson Blue uses the power of story to facilitate strong, authentic and creative clients. She equips individuals and organizations to identify prevailing stories that serve as personal or strategic obstructions and then re-author or transcend them, effectively bridging the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
Having received coach-specific training from Coach University and Collaborative Leaders, Inc., Jennifer is an accomplished speaker, writer and coach. Additionally, she holds a bachelors degree in communication, is a past board member of the Philadelphia Area Coaches Alliance and a member of the International Coach Federation.
What was the best compliment you have ever received about your business or your business efforts?
In my line of work, I actually get a lot of constant feedback from clients, which is nice. But every once in awhile something extra special comes through.
Some time ago I worked with a client on boosting her self confidence at work. We worked together for several months and when I checked in with her about a year later, she emailed me back with a stellar report, detailing how all of our work had paid of tenfold. Not only was she feeling great but her professional successes were mounting up. She thanked me for helping her push through her fears so she could get to this place in her life.
The compliment warmed my heart; more than that, seeing the lasting effects of coaching rocked my world!
Do you have any examples of a situation in which you would say you failed? What did you learn from this?
Several times in my business I formed partnerships or strategic alliances with other organizations. With those that turned into “failed” partnerships, I’d had a nagging feeling at the very beginning that something wasn’t right. I chose to ignore that nagging feeling and experienced several set-backs as a result, some of which were very painful.
The obvious lesson is to listen to that still small voice. Nothing beats paying attention – with our minds and our hearts – because the information we need is almost always there for us if we choose to be present to it. I’ve also learned to take partnering more slowly and to be explicit about the terms of the business relationship.
How do you stay calm when your business stresses you out?
First of all, I stop. I’ve discovered I can effectively short-circuit stress if I walk away for ten minutes or an hour, or even a full day (and yes, I mean in the middle of a work week!). If I come back centered, I am undoubtedly a better coach, writer and presenter. It also means I can actually get something done.
Secondly, I unhook myself from the story that busy-ness is best or that I need to get twenty things done yesterday or that perfection is what my clients require. Most entrepreneurs hold themselves to pretty high standards, but there’s no need to buy into these particular cultural narratives, especially considering they actually impede productivity, good service and a meaningful experience.
Thirdly, I have a preventative measure I put in place. As a rule, I’ve learned to be very generous with setting time expectations. If I think it will take me 15 minutes to do something, I give myself 30. If I think I can get back to a client by the end of the day, I tell her it’ll be by the end of tomorrow. First of all, this enables me to be wrong (maybe it does take me 30 minutes, not 15), but it also takes away the perceived pressure of having somebody waiting on me.
Who is your biggest mentor/role model for success?
I love this question because I can picture my biggest role model for success rolling her eyes at me! I’m going to have to go with my mother for this one, who moved to Guatemala by herself when she was in her late 50s and now has started an organization down there.
It takes a whole lot of guts to do something like that and, if I’ve discovered anything about being an entrepreneur it’s that it, too, takes a whole lot of guts! On the days when I don’t feel like putting myself out there or am afraid of taking a risk, I only need to look to my mom and her courageous move for inspiration!
Do you have any funny, inspiring or noteworthy client or business anecdotes?
Of course! A recent one occurred during a session with a client when I was sharing my perspective on what he thought was impeding his business success. I used some curse word and he said, half jokingly, “I thought you were a lady!”
I said, “I’m that, too.”
Jennifer Gleeson Blue
Get There From Here