Coach Interview Series: Caron MacLane

by Brandon

Caron MacLane

The Clarity Coach

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Caron MacLane, The Clarity Coach, based in Kent, WA.

NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Caron: I’m The Clarity Coach. I work with people who have lots going on and want to get clear. I attract people who are like me: strong, powerful, motivated, and willing to talk about the elephant in the room. People who can face direct input and feedback.

NCA: Can you talk a little bit about the sorts of challenges that your clients are most commonly facing when they come to you?

Caron: My clients can feel overwhelmed and unable to see the forest from the trees. They confuse the messages from their heads and their hearts, making decisions more difficult. Their issues run the full gamut from business success to personal life harmony.

NCA: What initially got you interested in becoming a coach and did you need to complete any kind of degree or certifications to get to this point?

Caron: I have a Master’s in Counseling. I always thought as a counselor I would have to sit too much. I’ve been teaching skiing for over 50 years and am very active. I realized teaching skiing was a form of coaching because I was working with people through their fears so they could face whatever slope they wanted. Then I realized I could do that work without the slope. That was about the time I first heard of coaching.

I already had my degree in counseling. I found the College of Executive Coaching for those with a degree in a related field. At the College for Executive Coaching, I became more aware of how intuitive I was. I was more heart-driven while most seemed more head-driven. I realized I could discern the difference between head and heart voicing itself in a person. Others can discern the difference if we’re just talking about it theoretically, but they’re often unable to notice that difference when it comes out of someone’s mouth.

One of my first jobs was at a home for emotionally disturbed children. I was an institutional childcare worker, so I worked 24-hour shifts taking care of troubled kids. It was tough work caring for 21 children. And that work was another form of coaching.

The common thread throughout my history is working with people. The coaching skills facilitate working with people specifically for growing and finding their answers.

NCA: In working with your clients, what would you say is the most rewarding part of your career and on the flip side of that, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Caron: The most rewarding part is when I get Aha! Moments from clients and when those clients change their lives and are in alignment with who they are and thus, happier.

The most challenging part is when people continue to get in their own way or are inconsistent. I have a client right now who I’ve worked with on and off for 10 years since he was 15. I worked with him through getting his driver’s license and being able to walk on graduation.

Then he went into drugs. When he was on drugs, he would stay away from me. Then he would call me and say, “Oh, I’m detoxing”, or “Text me.” It’s been a very inconsistent relationship. That’s really challenging for me. I keep thinking, “Oh. he’s just so close. Just stay with it. Be consistent.”

One of the fun things is using coaching while teaching skiing. Now, I just tell people, “Oh, by the way, I am also a coach.” I’ll say things even in the very first lesson, “Look where you want to go and if you look at me, you’re going to run into me.” [laughing] I would say, “It’s just like life. You’re going to go where you look.”

I tell them, “Where attention goes, energy flows and results show. So how about if we keep our attention and our energy on the positive so that we can get positive results?”

I realized teaching skiing was a form of coaching because I was working with people through their fears so they could face whatever slope they wanted. Then I realized I could do that work without the slope.

NCA: Can you think of a mentor or a coach who was the most vital to your success and in what ways did this person help you thrive in your career?

Caron: The person that comes to mind first is my dear friend, Sabina Nawaz. She and I met when another friend set up a peer coaching group with four of us. She was working at Microsoft and excelling. I watched her, then received coaching from her and gave coaching to her. It was empowering to give and receive from her as I watched her career growth trajectory.

Seeing her TEDx, and being part of her personal life, watching her have two sons and being part of their lives —has been quite inspiring to me as I watch her coaching and speaking career thrive and as I continue to exchange coaching with her.

My clients on the slopes in my ski lessons also contribute to my success, I end lessons with “What did you learn?” or “What did you like?” Depending on who they are I ask for feedback. If they’re kids, I’ll say, “What did you like about skiing with me?” If they’re adults I’ll say, “What was it like skiing with me?” Just receiving that constant feedback is very valuable. They say common things like “You’re patient.” Yet many say less common things like an Asian man saying I was like a parent. After asking, I found out that meant, caring, positive, and present even as the person is learning.

One woman said, “This is way more than a ski lesson” because I bring the coaching in. How much life coaching I do will vary on the person and the lesson. With kids, I work on independence. With adults I work on relaxing and confidence in addition to the skiing.

It’s just fascinating to work with such a wide variety of people on the ski slope who would have never come to me as The Clarity Coach and yet display openness and receptivity to life coach as it integrates with skiing in the snow.

NCA: What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is just starting out in their coaching career?

Caron: For me, it worked to coach without charging at the start. Begin with a pro-bono client. With my pro-bono client, I saw for myself what a difference I could make. That’s where I gained the confidence and the sense of, “Wow! I could charge for this because I’m definitely adding value to this man’s life.”

I go with the tried and true “Just do it.” Do it in a way that works for you to take that first step rather than making that first step a big one and start charging full price right out of the gate. Allow yourself to take iterative steps and to take that baby step and get somebody for you to receive reviews and positive feedback. Then you can have your own encouragement built-in and take those steps leading you to fully give your gifts.

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