Coach Interview Series: Deseri Garcia

by Brandon

Deseri Garcia

Team Building and Development 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 Deseri Garcia. Deseri is a Team Building and Development Coach and a graduate of Corporate Coach U. She is the President of Vida Aventura based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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

Deseri: I put my coaching clients in two categories. The first is executive coaching clients that I work with on their development as leaders. I do performance-based coaching as well as development coaching with them.

Secondly, I also have personal coaching clients. Some people might call it life coaching. I call it success coaching. These are clients that come to me as individuals. Their organization isn’t contracting me for coaching. They are just individuals contracting me to help them through development issues that they may have, opportunities, or various other reasons for wanting to engage with a coach.

NCA: Can you talk a little bit more about some of the challenges and hurdles that your clients are facing when they come to you and how that might differ between these two types of clients?

Deseri: My personal one-on-one coaching clients often come to me because they feel stuck or at an impasse. They might feel like they just need to get their arms around where they’re headed, what they’re doing, and how they want to get there. The challenges that come up are things like, “I’m feeling stuck” or “I don’t know what to do next,” and they like to have some help with the process around that. I don’t do career coaching per se, but some of them might ask, “Do I continue on with what I’m doing or do I pursue a different path?”

When I’m working with my executive or leadership development clients, it’s usually helping them to develop as stronger leaders. It could be that they want to lead their teams better. They want to be visionary leaders that really help change their organizations and make their organizations come together around goals and missions. Or it could be, “Hey, as a leader, I really need to develop my self-awareness or my emotional intelligence so that I can be more impactful.” Those are some of the things that they may work on.

On occasion, I have coaching clients where the individual being coached is someone that has been identified as either a high potential leader or someone that would be in succession for another leadership role, but there is that thing that they need to be better at to help them be more effective.

I have yet to be able to outgive what I get in terms of making a difference in other people’s lives. The biggest reward is seeing someone realize their potential and really live into that possibility. It’s helping people to break through their limitations, their limiting beliefs, or the challenges that they’re facing. That’s why I keep going back.

I mentioned emotional intelligence earlier. I’ve worked with some really strong leaders. Their tendency might be to be more directive with their people rather than bringing them along. They just need to work on ways to adapt to the people that they are working with and maybe bring a different approach with them rather than being directive and completely results-driven. They need to build those relationships so that they’re more collaborative in nature and cohesive as a leader.

I always say that how we do anything is how we do everything. So if you are working on yourself as a leader in an organization, chances are you’re going to be better, say, as a partner, husband, wife, mother, father, or community member.

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

Deseri: I have yet to be able to outgive what I get in terms of making a difference in other people’s lives. The biggest reward is seeing someone realize their potential and really live into that possibility. It’s helping people to break through their limitations, their limiting beliefs, or the challenges that they’re facing. That’s why I keep going back. It’s great to be able to make a difference in that way.

The biggest challenge is when I can see someone’s potential and they’re just not willing to go where they need to go to get where they want to get. When we’re partnering with our coachee, sometimes it’s hard to crack that code and help them truly realize their potential. You pretty much have to convince me that you don’t have potential. [laughing] I cannot not have hope that they’re going to completely blow me away with what they achieve.

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

Deseri: I have a mastermind group. For me, it happens to be a group of three other women and we meet once a month. They are really my coaches and mentors. They challenge me to do things that I know I should do and may be reluctant to do. They help walk me through the process of identifying the fears that I have about doing those things and knowing the things that may get in the way. They encourage me to take those steps. Eventually I may have taken them, but they help me to take them sooner and therefore, have more impact in my life and in my work.

NCA: What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is in the beginning stage of their coaching career?

Deseri: Great question. I was just talking to a coaching colleague of mine. I think that one of the most potent things that a new coach can do is to not underestimate the value that you can provide to the person that you’re coaching.

Force yourself to charge a fee for your coaching. I have a friend who is in her third year as a coach. She spent the first year coaching for free, which is great because she wanted to get experience, but it was a little bit more about undervaluing what she was doing. For her to make the shift last year from going from free to start charging was really, really hard. For new coaches, I would say even if it’s nominal, force yourself to charge at least some fee for your coaching because it’s harder to go from nothing to something.

I scholarship a few people each year — folks that I want to help out and they don’t have the financial resources. I’ve done that for a number of years since I started my business, but it’s definitely more intentional now. I’ve yet to have a scholarshipped client say to me, “I want to continue to work with you, so start charging me.” It hasn’t happened. I’m not saying that it won’t happen, but it has not happened.

When I was in corporate America, I did huge contracts. I would slide this contract across the table — a couple hundred thousand dollars — and say, “Please sign right there.” Because it wasn’t mine. When my first client pushed that check across the table to me, I was having a heart palpitation. It was a different ballgame. It’s so important to get past that hurdle or that fear. It really inspired me to make sure that I was providing insight and value to that client. I think it made me value myself and it also compelled me to make sure that I was making a difference with that person across the table.

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