Why do you do what you do?
Because I was born to do this work. Because nothing excites me more than standing with someone who is saying “yes” to something scary, woolly, and wildly unknown. Because I love hearing a client say, “I never really thought about it that way…” or a group member say, “I thought I was the only one.” I do this work because I believe courage is one of the most attractive qualities a human can have – and it deserves a witness. I do this work because I believe in the power of connection and community to create change.
The short answer to this question is that it’s time and it’s needed. I want to do everything I can to help unlock the world of resources that live inside women. The longer answer involves my own personal story about identifying with the feminine after years of adopting and aligning with only the masculine. I am passionate about highlighting the differences women bring and am committed to helping others celebrate and optimize those differences rather than gloss them over. There is also a growing demand for support of women making change, and I’m proud that SheChanges responds actively to that call.
Do you work with men, too?
Absolutely. While I market my business primarily to women, I also have a deep and abiding faith that the people with whom I am meant to work will find their way to me. The men most commonly drawn to my business are looking for a more holistic approach and a different perspective on work, life, and making change. These men intuitively sense that I am a good fit for them. They have often been referred by a woman in their life who knows me personally or has heard of SheChanges. The appeal of not needing to have all the answers, being real, honoring the emotions that can surface in times of transition, and valuing the integration of all the parts and pieces of themselves into one life is often refreshing to them.
Do I have to live in Maine to work with you?
Absolutely not. In fact, more than half of my clients are typically from out of state. While I live in Maine and adore my hometown clients, I was born and raised in New Jersey, so I am naturally drawn to clients who live and work in larger cities such as D.C., Boston, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta. In these cases, I coach, consult, and facilitate circles via telephone, occasionally using Zoom.
Do I need to know what I want (a vision, a sense of where I’m headed) to work with you?
I get this one a lot. The answer is no, you most certainly don’t. Most of my clients come to me simply because they know something needs to change, but they are stuck and aren’t sure what that change looks like, where they’re headed, or how to get started. All they know is “here” isn’t working for them anymore, and they are ready to do something about it. In my experience, clients actually have a lot more clarity than they think, but because of our fast-paced lives, noisy society, and/or certain “rules” we have set up for ourselves, they either can’t hear it or don’t want to acknowledge it because of the changes needed to get “there.”
What do you mean by “leader” and do I need to be one to work with you?
I’ve come to appreciate just how loaded the word “leader” is for women. It has so many meanings and associations – and not all of them positive. In the context of my work, I use it to suggest a “way of being” in the world, not necessarily a specific role or title. I consider a person to be a leader when they willingly assume responsibility, self-authorize, stand in their power, and unabashedly offer their gifts up to the world. It’s not about charisma, politics, scope of influence, or even experience. It’s about choosing to be one. The women I work with are leaders (even if they don’t quite see it in themselves yet). That being said, most of my 1:1 clients are senior level leaders or business owners who fit that definition in the classical sense and are seeking to now embody it more fully—and unapologetically.
Do you have your own coach?
Absolutely! And she’s a rock star. I often joke that it takes a village to keep me standing upright, but the truth of the matter is that I fundamentally believe in walking my talk. I’ve been told part of my appeal and strength in doing this work lies in my ability to relate to others, to keep it real, and to create lots of space to be messy and make mistakes on the way to gaining clarity and traction. For me, it is about living in a constant state of curiosity, learning, and growing. I am not over here pretending to have it all figured out and perfected. I’m a work-in-progress, too, and my clients appreciate knowing that because it’s real, they can relate, and it sets the stage for them to do the same. Plus, doing my own work keeps me “clean” as a coach and ensures I won’t be confusing my world/work with my clients’.
What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?
This can be a blurry line for coaches and clients alike. Simply put: coaching isn’t about exploring and further understanding where something came from (your past), but it is about acknowledging where you are today and who you want to be/where you want to go moving forward (future). That being said, some therapists have a coaching-style feel to the work they do. But it’s important to note that the inverse ought not be the case unless the coach is a clinically certified professional counselor. I am not. I’m a certified professional coach, which is different. In coaching we go after new information, learnings, and realities you want to live into – not past stories and experiences you want to revisit.
What's the difference between coaching and consulting?
I used to care about this a lot more than I do now. When you work with me, you get all of who I am. Yes, I have my Master’s in Organizational Change, so I’m a behavioral scientist who can geek out on system-thinking, group dynamics, and how humans move (or don’t) through change and transition. And yes, I am a trained and certified professional coach. Those are my tools, not who I am. So, whether I’m working with business owners or corporate leaders, you get Lael—full throttle.
What type of coach are you – life, executive, business?
I tend to dodge this question, but I get it a lot. I dodge it because the answer is inevitably “yes” to all of the above. When I work with clients interested in “life” coaching, they are often interested in pursuing new careers, opening their own business, going for the promotion, or navigating politics at work. When I work with “executive” coaching clients, we spend time on work/life balance, spirituality, and fulfillment. So yes. I see life as a spider web – you pull on one thread and it’s bound to impact another. It’s all connected. I coach what shows up when the web is pushed or pulled. Call me what you’d like, but you’ll get Lael.