Tapping Into Your “Horse Sense”

“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.” -W.C. Fields

horse-sense-for-coachesI was mesmerized by the interactions of a horse, unresponsive to training so far, and a professional “horse whisperer.” As the two interacted inside the ring, the trainer moved around the horse watching, walking, talking, petting, directing and even complimenting. After 45 minutes, trainer and horse had become partners. The horse whisperer was able to guide the horse to follow him, do figure eights, turn around, back up and more. What began as a tentative encounter ended as a veritable horse/trainer ballet.

Last week I had the unique opportunity to witness Louis Wood‘s work with an untrained horse out in horse country just outside Washington, DC. I attended this leadership program, the same one chosen by hundreds of Fairfax County First Responders, as continued professional development so I can stay on the cutting edge of leadership training and psychology to serve my Washington, DC life coaching clients better.

Later seated on the horse, Wood was able to move in different directions without using a bit or reins. He used his knees and heels to motivate the horse to move, without whips, tugs, pushes or food rewards. After an hour of this, the owner of the horse was brought in to saddle up and ride. In short order, she was astonished as she too was also able to ride and guide her horse bareback, under Wood’s close supervision.

“Horse Sense” for Professional Life Coaches

Before there was Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ), there was “horse sense.” The opposite of “book smarts,” “horse sense” is a great term for the practical knowledge and good judgment about ordinary life that so many people exhibit.

The term is completely applicable to the leadership principles and coaching competencies Mr. Wood embodies. His approach to leadership development is incredibly helpful for those who wish to engage the heart, mind and body to create meaningful partnerships with clients and colleagues, using the beautiful metaphor of his work with a 2,000 pound horse.

“Horse Sense” and Emotional Intelligence

According to psychologist Dr. John D. Mayer, who has published extensively on emotional intelligence, here is what EI is NOT:

  • Agreeableness
  • Optimism
  • Happiness
  • Motivation
  • Calmness

Someone with a high EQ DOES have the ability to:

  • perceive emotions
  • access and generate emotions to assist thinking
  • understand emotions
  • regulate emotions (of both yourself and others)

getting-my-horse-senseHorse whisperer Louis Wood would never have been able to accomplish what he did with the horse if he relied on his personality traits alone. Sure, he was a charming guy. But his “horse sense” had nothing to do with that. It had everything to do with his ability to perceive, understand and regulate both his own and the horse’s emotions. He was able to take charge of and control what happened next with the horse because of his ability to manage the “mood” in the ring.

People who are considered to have high EI can solve a variety of emotion-related problems accurately and quickly. They can correctly perceive emotions in other people’s faces, gestures and words, and what the emotions convey. For example, they know that angry people can be dangerous, that happy people want to relate with others, and that sad people often prefer to be alone. High EI people can manage their own as well as other people’s emotions. They know how to use the “mood” in their own lives to promote specific types of thinking. Solving problems requires less cognitive effort for those high in EI.

This is why the old-school methods of “breaking horses,” according to Mr. Wood, are not only outdated. They’re less effective. In the same way, I find that when many of my life coaching clients come to me, they’ve (unsuccessfully) tried all manners of self-flagellation, guilt, pushing, striving and grasping to get what they want. This is why life coaching with an ally or guide like me can be the one thing that helps my clients break through to a new way of living.

You’re No Horse … I’m No Cowboy

washington-dc-life-coach-catharine-ectonAs a Life Coach, I am friendly and a people person. I develop great relationships with all of my clients, and we have fun with coaching. But first and foremost, I am not my clients’ friend. My primary role is as their advocate. My clients have come to the realization that they don’t need another parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker telling them what they should be doing. They are ready to pursue the life they were born to live, and have always dreamed of – not to please others or fulfill someone else’s dreams, hopes or aspirations for their life.

As your Life Coach, my job is to move with you, ask questions to bring you to “aha” moments, and work through my proven coaching methodology and toolbox to help you along in the process of self-discovery. It has nothing to do with me or my personality traits, and everything to do with helping you live life to its utmost potential. Unlike a friendship that involves give-and-take, a life coaching relationship is unilateral – it’s a one-way street exclusively focused on you and your goals.

Like the horse and his trainer, we establish a relationship of mutual trust and respect. We observe, watch, listen, and feel to learn from each other. (Read more about how Life Coaching differs from therapy or the advice of a good friend.) This type of relationship allows my clients to work through goals, achieve them and have a fulfilling life without so much frustration and overwhelm. I love the metaphor, but we can agree: you’re no horse, and I’m no cowboy. But if you sometimes feel like a racehorse, primed and ready to break through the gates and run the race meant for you (but not able to quite see what’s holding you back) schedule your free initial Life Coaching consultation today. We’ll chart the processes you need to remove fear, jump over roadblocks and squash any anxiety around them. Let’s explore how you can have what you want and live with more ease and freedom … the kind of freedom that comes with living life on your terms.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.


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Life Coaching: Top 3 Signs You’re Bringing the Office Home

top-3-signs-youre-bringing-the-office-home-3My hard-working Washington, DC life and career coaching clients often struggle with finding a healthy work-life balance, and “bringing the office home” with them. Most are high-achieving people, yet still unsatisfied with their lives. I put this list together to help high-achieving people learn to unplug from work and really begin to live their lives to the fullest.

Life Coaching Tips: Top 3 Signs You’re Bringing the Office Home

1. Your family life, hobbies or outside interests are suffering.

If you have nothing to talk about besides work, you are often late to family events or cancel on your kids, friends, spouse or friends you used to enjoy. Maybe you’ve stopped exercising or quit a personal hobby in order to achieve work goals. Perhaps your kids complain that you’re on your phone or computer too much. Any of these point to an over-focus on work at the expense of your home life.

2. At work, you find yourself spending too much time on social media, or sidetracked by Facebook.

Procrastination when you’re actually in the office could signal you’re putting in too many hours at home or on the weekends. You’re on overload and your brain needs a break. Instead of taking a real break outside the office, you’re sitting at the computer being unproductive.

3. You can’t get to sleep at night, or you wake up panicked about work.

This is a classic symptom that you’ve brought the office home with you; you’re unable to let go and the stress is ruling you 24/7. Not pleasant!

3 Tips from a Life Coach: How to Leave the Office at the Office

1. When you first get home, put your phone, laptop and all electronics in a drawer for at least an hour and do something totally unrelated to work.

This creates a little space between you and your work day. You’ll be able to prioritize the things you care about outside of work better after spending time regrouping.

2. Get outside, preferably somewhere other than a city street.

A walk in nature does a lot more for you than simply help you relax, though in our fast-paced world that’s significant in itself. It can also boost the immune system, relieve stress, reduce blood pressure and heart rate, reduce fatigue and improve mood. Take a walk through natural surroundings like a park if you are urban (a city street has unfortunately been shown not to convey the same benefits!) and leave your electronics at home. This will fuel your creativity, which will actually help you achieve more at work.

3. “Unplug” by a set time every night.

Have a set time when everything will be turned “OFF,” no exceptions. Sending email or messaging colleagues at odd times like in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning destroys personal boundaries between work and home life, and signals that you’re always available.

Why Leave the Office at Work?

1. Increase productivity / creativity.

This has been scientifically proven! Down time is when you come up with your best ideas.

2. Get better rest.

Sleep is the most important time for your body to heal both physically (boosting anti-cancer cells) and emotionally (dreams to help you work through your daytime stresses).

3. You need a life outside of work!

We’ve all heard the old adage, at the end of their life, no one ever says “I wish I’d worked more.” They often say they wish they’d spent more time with their family, been there for loved ones, traveled somewhere interesting or tried an activity totally unrelated to work. Also, how boring is it to talk to people who have no interests outside of work? Don’t be that guy. Get a life – if for no other reason than to have more interesting stories at cocktail parties!

at-desk-brightThrough my work as a Life Coach, I’ve noticed that “workaholics” almost always have an issue with self-worth. They rely on external validation from bosses, colleagues and clients, work from a place of fear and allow others to determine their value. I work with my clients to instill an unshakable sense of self-worth which gives them the ability to set boundaries on their work life. They are then able to stay true to their most deeply-held values and work with a sense of freedom and abundance.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on helping you achieve a healthy work-life balance. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you for your free consult. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Life Coaching: Get off the Hedonic Treadmill

get-off-the-treadmillMy DC Life Coaching clients often tell me that they feel stuck, like they’re on a treadmill. I recently learned about this concept, the “hedonic treadmill” and it fascinated me. Many psychologists and behavioral scientists have studied this phenomenon, and it may be a key to helping us live happier lives.

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the tendency of people to return to the same level of happiness – even in the face of major positive or negative events or life changes.

For example, researchers have found that if Sally gets a raise – wins the lottery – or even becomes a quadriplegic – she will initially experience a change in happiness levels. Very quickly though, she will become accustomed to the change in circumstances. She will quickly return to her original level of happiness. I have observed many clients and friends in similar situations during my time in Washington, DC.

During the late 1990s, the concept was modified by Michael Eysenck, a British psychologist. His “hedonic treadmill theory” compares the pursuit of happiness to a person on a treadmill, who has to keep walking just to stay in the same place.

Let’s say we decide to start running in Rock Creek Park to get in shape. At first this new activity gives us a boost and good feelings. But the sense of achievement can wear off eventually. Boredom can set in. We don’t get the good feelings any more. Now we even feel guilty if we miss out on the daily exercise. That’s the “hedonic treadmill.” Similar to substance addiction or tolerance, a person has to do more and more to get the same effect.

Another example of this is someone who gets a raise, and moves into a bigger house. She might enjoy great feelings for a short time, but “keeping up with the Joneses” in her new neighborhood saps her earnings. She becomes accustomed to the new lifestyle and ends up at the same happiness level she was before. My DC clients report that this is an exhausting and self-defeating enterprise!

Life Coaching to Get Off the Hedonic Treadmill

So what can lead to lasting changes in happiness levels?

Modern materialism coupled with our natural desire to always want more, better, or newer means that just about everyone has experienced “hedonic treadmill fatigue” at some point in their life.

My Life Coaching clients often say they are tired of the same old same old daily routines, exercise plan, job, unsatisfying relationships and feeling of disconnection – from family, friends and neighbors. Our sessions together take them out of their rut and inspire effective work towards personal fulfillment that lasts.

Here are some “how-to” techniques – proven ways to boost happiness levels:

  • Helping others. Charitable actions have been confirmed to have enormous positive effects on personal well-being. One study found that those who displayed charitable actions developed stronger relationships with others, developed an appreciation for their good fortune, even improved their immune function.
  • Self-denial. Intentionally “going without” something you enjoy for a short time can actually make you happier. For example, ride your bike or walk to run an errand or your commute instead of driving. Denying yourself makes you appreciate the thing you love more once you have it again.
  • Live in the moment. View life as a process and events as “mini experiments” instead of a pass/fail test. Take the long-view and focus on what you’re learning and be happier.
  • What would you do if today were your last day? Jolt your system to attention and ask yourself this question when faced with a decision of any kind. You’ll gain perspective and motivation to be true to your guiding values.
  • Stay connected socially. Gathering a supportive network around you – whether friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors – has been shown to positively impact happiness levels.
  • Be the boss. A sense of autonomy or control over your life has been shown to be important to achieving long-term happiness and fulfillment. In taking control, we must not just follow our desires but choose which of our desires to follow. If you believe you often conform to social pressure, base important decisions on what others think or are very concerned about what how others evaluate you, you might not be the boss of your life.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on getting you to more lasting levels of happiness and personal fulfillment. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

Want to get off the treadmill for good? As a DC Life Coach, I’m here to help. Call Catharine Ecton Life Coaching or schedule your free Life Coaching consultation today. In my blog about Life Coaching vs. Therapy, I discuss the differences and reasons why you might want to hire me as your life coach. You can also learn more about how Life Coaching differs from from friendship here.



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Life Coaching for Bold Action: Bill’s Story


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I recently attended a talk by author and life coach Rick Tamlyn. His central message was that life itself is one big game. And if life is a game, then why not play one that excites, fulfills, and challenges you to fully express your talents and creativity?

My DC-area client “Bill” was downsized when a new boss joined his company and restructured his job. He came to me for life coaching to explore making a career change and getting support as he looked for another job. As a 41 year old, bright single male with a partner, he recognized during our coaching that this was an opportunity to make a big change. Like many of us, he wanted to stay in the same field but was interested in a different work enviorment that would stretch him in a new direction.

Through life coaching sessions with me via Skype, Bill and I:

  • Clarified his core values,
  • Practiced job interview skills,
  • Zeroed in on what was essential in his ideal job and what would deplete him,
  • Defined his life purpose,
  • Defined what his “best life” would be like,
  • Focused on how he wanted to be remembered,
  • Chose to be intentional about reaching those goals.

With a clearer purpose, Bill was then able to work tirelessly networking, interviewing, refining his resume, meeting with friends of friends, connecting with anyone and everyone who could help him.

Bill took a bold action by deciding during one of our life coaching sessions to look outside of the Washington, DC area for a job. This led our life coaching sessions in a totally new direction. I will never forget the call when Bill realized he had decided on looking for a new position in North Carolina. His reasons included quality of life, easier commute, and lower cost of living – all things that lined up with the core values we had identified in previous coaching sessions. Bill told me, “doors keep opening for me” in North Carolina. It became clear how everything was falling into place and resonating with his beliefs, values and life purpose. The work we had done in self-exploration had paid off: it gave Bill insights and the courage and strength to act on what he knew would be best for him.

The accountability system I set up with each of my life coaching clients worked so well for Bill as continued on his journey. His big transition was not a quick easy fix; it was a big move, a game-changer thought through and and assessed with a compelling purpose behind every action.

Bill’s hard work paid off with an offer of an excellent job at a prestigious University.

He sold his house in DC, bought a new one in North Carolina, moved and started a new job that meets his needs and is personally fulfilling.

Bill’s is a success story of someone who took bold action, played a “bigger game” and won.

*Names are changed to protect client confidentiality.

at-desk-flippedContact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to discuss your desire to “play a bigger game.” Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Life Coaching for Leadership: “Tribes” and Values

what made these leaders different?

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Are you trying to please others when they’re looking to you for leadership? When you’re seeking validation, approval, compliments, being thought highly of, respected, or wanting to be seen as a great friend or leader, it’s a drain of energy, authenticity and a time suck away from your values and cause.

When your leadership is in line with your core values and passion, what should be ignored (outside chatter, negativity and distractions) will become clear. Make no mistake: a great leader fulfilling his or her mission will receive pushback. A great leader will have failures and people who don’t like them. A great leader may even be publicly ridiculed or shamed. Fortunately, a great leader’s cause, desire, intention and values are so much bigger than other people’s opinions.

Leading Your “Tribe”

David Logan, PhD, USC gave an interesting TED talk recently about “tribal leadership.” Whether we know it or not, we are all part of what he refers to as “tribes” – at school, at work, in professional circles, within our families or through our friendships. The five types of tribes that humans naturally form illustrate our shared tribal tendencies, and clarify how we can help lead each other to become better individuals. Watch the full TED Talk here.

How to be a Great Leader

Leaders, in Logan’s view, are effective when they understand people’s shared values, and can nudge them to a new way of thinking and acting. Leaders also introduce people from different tribes to each other, extending the reach of their own tribe. Great leaders like Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and even America’s Founding Fathers were able to touch nearly every person in their society through their ability to read the situation, act in a timely manner, use intuition to sense trends, communicate well and inspire people to act.

Great leaders also understand that not everyone in society is operating in the same type of “tribe” or mindset, yet can speak in a language that touches everyone. Logan points out that MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech was successful because it spoke from individual experience, yet was fluent in language that appealed to the shared human experience.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

King spoke from his individual experience, focused on the meaning of his own values and passion, and also spoke in a voice that resonated with all Americans.

King’s intention and energy to bring others on board to his cause, values and movement created a groundswell. Great leaders who inspire others share values with their followers, and are able to motivate based on that common goal or passion.

Life Coaching for Today’s Leaders

Directing attention and focus where it needs to go is the first task of leadership. Becoming a powerful leader – and managing yourself well in this role – starts with self-awareness and insights about your core values, and those of your tribe.

Many of my clients have told me that working with me through Life Coaching has given them the opportunity to discover their values, be intentional about their goals and to make a plan, take action to realize them. Here are some of the things my clients say they’ve gained as a result of working with me*:

  • Inspiration
  • Self Confidence
  • Self Awareness
  • Ability to go outside their comfort zone
  • A feeling of fulfillment
  • An alliance with me
  • New perspectives
  • The ability to stay focused
  • Better decision making ability
  • Peace & contentment
  • The ability to see themselves in a positive way

*All of the above drawn directly from my many happy client testimonials! Read all of my Life Coaching testimonials here.

This week, listen to the way people actually communicate with each other in your own “tribes”. What language do they use? What values do they share? How will your tribe impact the world?

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to discuss the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Career Coaching: Instead of Resolutions, Try GOALS

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It was the typical corporate holiday party with everyone decked out, enjoying each other’s company and toasting to the year’s successes. When someone asked Rebecca, “what do you do?” she answered by once again mentioning whom she worked for and in what role. Her response didn’t include the fact that over the past year, she was passed over for a promotion. Nor did she mention how she discovered that one of her underlings was earning as much as she was. Despite her chipper response to anyone who asked “what do you do,” she was beginning to resent the late nights working on proposals, lunches spent at her desk and additional roles and responsibilities she’d assumed at work. No one seemed to notice her outstanding track record nor outcomes. She felt undervalued and under-appreciated, and that her career had stalled. She wondered whether this should be her year to leave, stay, go back to school, be more, do more … what?

There comes a moment in many of our professional lives when we realize: being “good” at what we do isn’t good enough.

Being good (even great!) at your job is no guarantee that your career will advance. As a career coach in Washington DC, I see the same pattern over and over again: a smart, driven person learns very early in life to put her head down and earn an “A.” This works well for school, and even for the first several years in the workplace. But sooner or later, you’re surrounded by “gold star,” “straight-A” performers. Doing your best isn’t enough to distinguish you or advance your career. As a life and career coach, that’s often when I receive the phone call: “help, I’m stuck, I’m spinning my wheels!”

A Time of Transition & Change

The holiday season and the New Year especially is often seen as a time of rebirth, the chance to wipe the slate clean, start anew, change. We might trot out our regular “resolutions,” which are good things, but too often they don’t mesh with reality – and they don’t help us get to where we want to be.


Like Rebecca at the holiday party, we know we could do more, be more, and are worth more – but we feel stuck in our current situation. We make resolutions about things we wish were different, but we lack the tools to take meaningful action to change our situation. So another year rolls around and we find ourselves still stuck in our careers, unable to advance. As a professional Life and Career Coach for many smart, ambitious people, I can say there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. But there are tools we can use together to set meaningful, achievable goals to get you closer to where you want to be.


Let’s Work Together to Make 2016 YOUR Year

at-desk-brightMake this your year to skip new year’s resolutions and set some meaningful career goals instead. Contact me, Life Coach Catharine Ecton, to get started. Let’s chart a course to the truth of who you are and start living the exceptional, remarkable life you were always meant to live! I can help you:

  • Set achievable goals using coaching tools and focusing on what you want,
  • Look at goals from various perspectives and making choices that connect to your values,
  • Make a plan including personal transitions to transform your habits, attitudes and mindset,
  • Get closer to being the powerful, authentic, purposeful person you are truly meant to be.

I have coached clients whose career transition entails:

  • Permanently or temporarily leaving or re-entering the workforce
  • Exploring and taking steps toward a new professional identity
  • Re-arranging their career landscape to support their unique interests (i.e. multiple career options) or needs (i.e. balance)
  • Advancing or changing roles within an organization
  • Effectively managing a job search
  • Creating an exceptional life post-retirement.

My Career & Life Coaching sessions are intensive one-on-one conversations by phone or Skype with me. We’ll meet once or twice per month for three to six months for a total of six sessions. Visit my Payment Page to review my life coaching packages and options.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to discuss my Life Coaching for Authenticity program. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person.

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Career Transition Coaching for A Solopreneur Craving Community: Jennifer’s Story


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“I want a clear career path.”

Jennifer*, a 42-year-old solopreneur, told me this was what she was looking for when we started our Career Transition Coaching sessions together.

Jennifer had owned and operated her own business for five years, which at first was tremendously fulfilling. She loved the freedom of creating her own company and calling all the shots. It was immensely rewarding to be “the boss” and the responsibility empowered her.

But working by herself alone and often in solitude, she missed the camaraderie, team work and collegial atmosphere of working in an office environment. Her loneliness led her to question the entire decision to strike off on her own. Despite her success going-it-alone, she wasn’t happy, which made her unsure if she should return to a job working for someone else.

Career Transition Coaching: The Process

Our work together was aimed at uncovering ways she could pursue her passion (entrepreneurship and the things she was creating) while involving a larger team in the process. We were working towards getting Jennifer “out there” and involved in a relevant community of colleagues rather than going it totally alone with her business. She needed to build “community” into her gig as a solopreneur if she was going to continue to her business. On the flip side, we also examined what it would look like to return to a corporate job working for someone else.

One of the assessment tools I use in my Career Transition Coaching practice was especially useful to Jennifer on her journey. The 20 minute test I had her work through helped her identify strengths and weaknesses in her entrepreneurial work and relationships. The results not only supported what Jennifer already knew about herself, but gave us a shared vocabulary to articulate what works and what doesn’t work for her. This allowed her to see light at the end of the tunnel, and pursue what she was after in a more concrete way.

Meshing Who You Are With What You Want

Jennifer was excited that the results were so on target with how she felt about her old career and what a new one might look like. Our next step in Career Transition Coaching was to spend time uncovering her talents through discussions and stories of past experiences. Once we knew what we were working with, we created a strategy that applied her strengths in the workplace.

Career Transition Coaching Results

Today, although she has a master’s and a law degree, Jennifer is taking additional courses to build a foundation for a new career where she can collaborate with others, learn something new, retain her entrepreneurial spirit and realize her dreams. Jennifer is excited to build upon what she knows and launch into a new professional life that will energize her and be in line with her passions, need for camraderie and desire to have the support of a team. Reorganizing her work life gave her the balance and fulfillment she was looking for.

Starting Career Transition Coaching

Layoffs, retirement and moving within an organization can be an “a-ha” moment for personal reinvention. The isolation and “grind” faced by many solopreneurs and entrepreneurs can create confusion about purpose and direction. Are you ready to start a new chapter in your career, or are forces beyond your control making this the moment for you to start afresh? What changes do you want and need to make to pursue your dreams through your work? Check out the useful tips and another client case study on my Career Transition Coaching page.

It may be obvious when we are unhappy, going through the motions or stuck in a “rat race” in our career … but it can be difficult to articulate what gives us true joy … and take concrete steps to get ourselves off the hamster wheel. Contact Catharine Ecton for a complimentary, no-obligations Career Transition Coaching consultation and let’s discuss the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone and via Skype.

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

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Life Coaching for Career Transitions

Life coaching in busy Washington, DC often means I assist clients who are making big career transitions. My busy Washingtonian clientele spend much of their week at work, and often find a lot of their self-worth is wrapped up in their career. Our careers are such an important part of who we are, it’s no wonder that career transitions can be a crucial moment for personal reflection, reinvention and change.

What is Career Coaching?

At Catharine Ecton Life Coaching, I give my clients guidelines and tools to adapt to big career transitions. I also help them rediscover all the positive qualities already within them to help them unlock the life of their dreams. I have coached clients whose career transition entails:

  • Permanently or temporarily leaving or re-entering the workforce
  • Exploring and taking steps toward a new professional identity
  • Re-arranging their career landscape to support their unique interests (i.e. multiple career options) or needs (i.e. balance)
  • Changing career paths within an organization
  • Effectively managing a job search

Career Coaching Success Story

headshot-facebookOne client, Jim (name changed to protect confidentiality), had been with the same organization for six years. Personnel changes brought some major shifts in his company and Jim was being let go.

He came to coaching for help in accepting this unexpected and distressing change. Jim sensed the unique opportunity that being let go gave him. He felt this might be a chance to reinvent himself as he focused on finding a new job.

Following his agenda and using coaching tools and worksheets, we examined his passions, interests and values. How did he want to spend his time, how did he want to connect? What did he have to contribute? Then we set up a plan of vigorous networking, specific monthly goals, practicing his “elevator speech,” asking others for support and learning to be authentic.

Here are the steps Jim went through during coaching. He was able to:

  • Establish that something had ended,
  • Commit to making a change,
  • Decide to move out of his comfort zone to a different position but in the same field,
  • Open up to others, develop confidence and ask for support,
  • Shift his mindset to one with greater self-understanding and belief that he was worthy of big changes.

These steps took time and work but Jim was determined to find a job that brought out his best.

Career Coaching and You

What do you want to call the next chapter of your life? What changes do you want and need to make to start afresh and handle a smooth transition?

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“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.” (Rumi, 1207-1273)

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and let’s discuss the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler on my homepage and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone. Read what my clients have to say about Catharine Ecton Life Coaching on my Testimonials page.

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Experience Matters in Career Mentoring & Life Coaching

headshot-facebookOne of the great advantages of late-in-life work is the opportunity to support others just beginning their careers through life coaching and mentoring relationships. The challenges and rewards of my years of transitions, including living abroad and building my own career puts me in the perfect spot to remind others that following their passions will bring fulfillment and purpose. It can be scary starting a new venture. I know that, and I can help you balance out the stress and worry you may be experiencing right now as a 20 or 30-something just starting out in your career with the excitement of the adventure and the thrill of the chase.

  • I coach clients based on their commitment and potential to make a change;
  • I listen to past mistakes and we examine what can be done differently next time;
  • I suggest that they don’t limit themselves because of what might happen down the road but embrace a new challenge now, the timing is never perfect;
  • Together, we will explore perfection and control issues and how trying to do it all can lead to disappointment.

There are rich personal rewards for coaching clients who are looking for new beginnings. I owe it to today’s youth to contribute my expertise, and provide support and encouragement where needed. My goal is that the next generation is able to choose a purposeful life without emotional obstacles keeping them from doing what they really want to do.

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.

Vince Lombardi, (1913-1970)

What does a Career Mentoring & Life Transitions Coaching relationship look like?

I coach 90% of my clients over the phone. I can accommodate out of area clients via Skype and I have worked with clients as far away as California and Dubai.

Those who live in the Washington, DC area have the option of meeting with me one-on-one at a convenient, mutually agreed on location for coaching and mentoring.

Each session is an hour intensive one-on-one conversation. My methodology is based on a partnership and a co-active approach. You sets the agenda and decide upon the subjects for life coaching. At minimum we will meet twice per month. Some feel that weekly sessions work best for meeting their goals. I request accountability on mutually agreed upon goals, and I follow up and keep in close touch with you through emails and reminders. Catharine asks for a three month (six session) commitment from all new clients.

I was honored to hear from one of the younger individuals I coached recently, who said:

Catharine’s life coaching helped me assess where I was, figure out where I wanted to be, and find tools to keep obstacles from blocking me. It was amazing how much fun we had getting me unstuck.” 

Read more client testimonials here.

Call me today to begin an exciting adventure of life transitions coaching and career mentoring for YOUR future. If you’re interested in life coaching, contact me today.



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Steps to Gain Energy and Power to Move Forward from a Life Coach

french-lavenderEvery time you don’t follow your dream, your inner voice, or your personal goals, you lose energy and power. Knowing what you want and learning how to get it gives you the creative energy to move forward and the power to be yourself.


  • Make a list on a sheet of paper of five activities you did on a certain day;
  • Write next to each entry how much time it took;,
  • Make a list on the other side of the paper ten activities you enjoy doing;
  • Next to each to each entry write the date when you last did that activity.
  • Look at your two lists. What do they tell you?
  • List ten tiny changes you want to make by completing this phrase:  I would like to__________________
  • Make that your goal for a week.

Does even one accomplishment make you feel more powerful? Does that power rev you up and give you energy? With practice and a plan, even these few simple steps can help you begin to move forward. The art of possibility is there for you to acknowledge and act on if you are willing to make small changes. Staying closed and inactive keeps you powerless with no gains.

Just Get Started

You don’t have to be a perfectionist to achieve your goals, you just have to get started. Safety is an expensive place to be stuck. It takes you nowhere and the cost is boredom and loss of time. If you do make mistakes or fail to accomplish something, consider that as a way to learn, discover, and grow. Look at the risks involved as you take new steps and accept that anything you want to do is worth trying whole-heartedly and without the need for perfection.

True life is lived when tiny changes occur. –Leo Tolstoy

I believe that by working collaboratively we can change our lives one day at a time through Life Coaching. My clients come to coaching with the belief that they have everything within themselves to create the life they’ve always dreamed of. They are teachable. They can change. With the right tools, a few powerful questions and the intention to create something amazing, we can get to where we want to be. We don’t even have to know what “our best life” looks like, just that we want to live it.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to discuss the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person.

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