Website: Jefri Franks
Eight years ago I lost my daughter Heather to cancer. At the time I had an 18 year history of working in health care marketing and sales.
In the 3rd year following her death I began to get requests from organizations to speak about the experience. I found that I really enjoyed doing this and had the ability to articulate the story in a way that proved inspiring to my audience.
As I would do this work, an evolution began in my soul. For the first time in my life I felt like I was doing what I was born to do.
Three years ago I gave my first keynote speech. My work in the health care field became less and less satisfying. It was becoming clear to me that vocationally, I needed to make a lane change.
Although I was very interested in speaking opportunities, they lacked the one on one experience. By September of 2008 I was desperate to move out of health care and further into what had become my passion.
Miraculously, at the end of September I was laid off! When my panic cooled down and with the support of my husband, I began to build a new career.
I attended a seminar six months ago with the intent of marketing myself to the MD’s as a keynote speaker / consultant. In a conversation with a dietitian about grief and loss she exclaimed, “Oh, are you a grief coach?”
This was a pivotal moment for me. I was aware of the life coach industry and had thought about pursuing it in the past. In that moment with the dietitian it came together for me – coaching could give me that one on one experience I craved! I looked at her and replied, “I could be a grief coach!”
I began the process of comparing coaching programs and decided to become certified by International Coaching Academy. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
How are you using coaching to make a difference?:
I am now working with a children’s hospital to support parents of terminal children. I am doing seminars on “The Power of Presence” and I am developing a partnership between an animal shelter and a shelter for homeless teens to bring dogs and kids together in the hope of creating coaching opportunities.
What was the most valuable thing you learned at ICA?:
I chose ICA because it afforded me the opportunity to become certified by an ICF accredited school, it offered great choice and flexibility in times and days to take classes, it offered the required classes and required hours to be eligible for ICF certification in addition to ICA certification. It was totally virtual – no extra traveling expenses and because it is a virtual school, I did not have to incur the cost of overhead in my tuition, making ICA extremely affordable! In my experience, ICA has exceptional instructors. They come from a vast array of life experiences and are creative and inspiring in their approaches to the materials. Toward the end of every class I have had the opportunity to volunteer as either a coach or a client and actually practice the skills we are learning. Unlike other experiences I have had, the feedback from instructors on role playing is positive, encouraging, instructive and gives me the courage to volunteer again and again! The classes give me the skills I need to coach others and the ICA community is at my fingertips. I can float ideas and learn from others. The ICA experience is helping me grow into a professional coach with a solid foundation underneath me. It is allowing me to become who I was born to be. As I go through this process, I can “see” myself as a professional coach. Some of the most valuable things I’ve learned through ICA are: Coaching is not about giving advice or suggestions! Within the client are all the answers, my job is to help uncover them. Powerful questions, requests and feedback move people forward. Coaching is patient as well as provocative. Coaching is an art. Coaching is a valuable service to offer my fellow human beings and there are infinite avenues to deliver it!