My coaching career began in 1993, right out of college. I was hired by a community vocational rehabilitation agency to provide job coaching services to individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as they transitioned out of illness, job loss, and disability into new jobs and careers. My undergraduate degrees are in Health Science Education and Health Information Management (Medical Records) Technology. My graduate and postgraduate level coach education, training and continuing education are from accredited coach training programs (ACTP) and schools.
I had been providing volunteer speaking engagements since 1987, when I was first invited to speak with medical students about my eating disorder experience. Over the next few years, I was often asked to come speak with adult patients in a hospital-based eating disorder day-treatment program about recovery. These speaking presentations were well-received by medical students, patients and staff alike. They soon turned into regular monthly speaking engagements in the eating disorder day-treatment program. Over the next 30 years, these presentations grew, evolved, and by the 1990's expanded into professional life coaching presentations for eating disorder recovery groups, workshops and trainings in my community, nationwide and in Canada.
By the mid-1990's, I continued my training and advanced my career into the larger professional coaching field. I received graduate foundational life coach training from the Institute of Life Coach Training and graduated with the first classes of formally trained professional Life Coaches. Ultimately, I achieved coaching board certification in 2012, becoming one of the first group of professional Coaches to become board-certified. This set the board standards/regulations across the field of Professional Coaches. As a credentialed Coach today, I abide by both the Board Certified Coach (CCE) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Code of Ethics.
It was during those early career coaching years that I first saw the parellel between my vocational rehab clients (traumatic brain injury, cognitive and mental health disorders) and adults with eating disorders whom I continue to mentor informally. I saw how limited recovery support was for recovering adults (in my community) with eating disorders once they left formally structured clinical treatment settings and returned back into community and their lives. [This is a critical transitional stage when the focus becomes less on acute clinical treament and more on determining "what do I want now?" The risk of relapse is high if appropriate supports are not in place that are available, affordable, and accessible.] Both of these groups were in transitions, both were stuck in figuring out what they wanted. And both struggled with how to get started or move forward in their respective life areas. When I saw how coaching helped my vocational rehab clients identify what they wanted in a job, determine a direction, set goals and move into action, I had my "aha" moment, perhaps even my epiphany:
If coaching helped my career clients with their vocational transitions and career goals, could this help adults with eating disorders through their recovery transitions and life (after treatment) goals?
The need was obvious, the seed was planted and from that point onward, I focused my training on acquiring the knowledge and skills I needed to effectively life coach adults with eating disorders. I added to this what I had wished for, yearned for and learned from my own successful recovery process. By the late 1990's, I added eating disorder recovery life coaching for adults to my coaching practice.