Coach Interview Series: Marcia Reynolds

by Brandon

Marcia Reynolds

President, Covisioning LLC

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 Marcia Reynolds. Marcia is an ICF-accredited Master Certified Coach (MCC) and the President of Covisioning, LLC, an Executive Coaching and Leadership Development company based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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

Marcia: I do a balance of coaching, teaching, and speaking. My coaching is done primarily with vice presidents, directors, and senior leaders in companies. I come out of the corporate world so I gravitated to that world. It’s pretty much a corporate leadership coaching practice.

NCA: What kind of challenges or struggles your client typically come to you facing in their careers?

Marcia: I would say there’s kind of two paths: One, whether they are a new leader or they’ve been around for a while, there is still that difficulty sometimes connecting and inspiring people. You’ve got new people in the workplace, things are changing. And it’s not just about the work. It’s about how we engage.

But there’s also the view looking forward: who do I want to be as a leader going forward in my career? Do I want to create my own business at some point? How do I envision my future and then figure out what it is I need to develop in order to get there? It’s those two paths: learning to be more effective right now or creating a future for myself.

NCA: I noticed in your profile that you are also a speaker. Can you talk a little bit about how you got started with that and what your experience has been like for coaches who may want to one day also go down that path?

Marcia: I do a lot of training; I’ve been a trainer since the early 1980s. I was always in front of people and wanting to inspire them, not just teach them. When I left my last corporate job 25 years ago, I sought training in both coaching and speaking. I thought all three paths – coaching, speaking, and training—would support each other. I can use my speaking to develop my business and introduce me to new clients. Also, I really like being on stage.

But I knew I had to develop my stage speaking skills which are different from classroom training. I actually worked with acting coaches for a couple of years in developing my authenticity on the platform.

You work your way up. First, you do local speaking and you ask them, “Would you recommend me to a couple of people you know and write me a letter of reference?” I worked my way up from local to state to international that way and once I started getting some of the bigger speaking engagements and having them videotaped, then I could create my demo reel which demonstrates that I could give a good speech that people really liked.

It takes a while to build that business and it’s a skill that needs to be developed. It’s not just something you’re born with. It’s very specific, the things you need to learn — both in crafting the speech and delivering it.

NCA: What is the most rewarding part of your career and on the flip side, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Marcia: While coaching, there are these moments when the light bulb goes on and you know you’ve really broken through some barriers and they see new possibilities they couldn’t see before. That’s always really rewarding.

On a personal level, I admit I love the acknowledgment of what I’ve given to the profession. The ICF inducted me into the Circle of Distinction for my consistent work in promoting and developing our coaching profession. I’m very proud of that. It makes me feel good.

I’m a founding member of the ICF. I was the 5th global president and I’m still fairly active. I teach for a coaching school in the US as well as one in Russia and in China, so I support the growth of coaching around the world. I totally believe in it and I’m very passionate about spreading the word of the power of coaching and how it raises our consciousness.

Of course, it’s also a challenge because even though we’re very passionate about it, we still run into people that don’t really know what it is. I had breakfast with someone who is a small business consultant but he calls it coaching and all he does is tell people what to do. [laughing] And that’s fine. I know what he’s offering them is a great value. It’s just that there is still confusion around what coaching is and what we do.

Every new coach has coaching fears like, “If I do this coaching thing and I’m just facilitating, I’m not providing value.” And that’s just not true. Coaching provides great value even if all we do is provide a safe space where people can show up to be themselves — we may be the only place in their lives where they can do that.

NCA: What do you think has to happen for these definitions to be a little bit more well-understood?

Marcia: That’s a difficult thing because I know the ICF has worked really hard not to have it regulated but the downside of that is that anybody can call himself a coach. This is why having a credential is so important. When we go out in the world and say we’re a credentialed coach, this is what it is, this is what it means and then we coach people and they get a sense of, “Oh my. This is coaching.” They recognize the difference themselves.

All we can do is continue to do our best work out there. Then we and our clients keep spreading the word and let people know that coaching is partnering with our clients to think more clearly and broadly for themselves as they make decisions and determine how to move forward to resolve their dilemmas. In this crazy, busy world, it pays to have a thinking partner to move more confidently toward your goals.

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

Marcia: I’ve had my own coach from the very beginning. I had various coaches that mentored me and then I found one who was the best for me. There’s been times where we work consistently and times where we’re just on an on-call basis. But I feel like she’s always there to help me when I have questions and when I want to continue to grow in my practice.

I think that having mentors is not just at the beginning when you’re trying to develop your skills. We all have to have so many mentoring hours and good mentors but throughout your entire history of being a coach, it helps to have someone there because we can get sloppy. I know I do. [laughing] We get to know some of our clients way too well and it’s just good to have someone be there to talk to about your coaching and to remind you of the great value that you provide when you coach.

NCA: Can you offer one piece of advice to somebody who is just getting started in their coaching career?

Marcia: Remember that even when you’re starting out and you’re not perfect in your skills — which you’ll never be because we just keep getting better — that you’re providing a great service for people by being a coach and just creating that safe space for them. They want you to be present, not perfect.

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