Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Modelling the ‘dream warrior’

Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by International Coach Federation

When I started my coaching practice, I was bright eyed and excited about the future.

I organised my website, business cards and started a mailing list. I met with potential clients and talked to those who might promote my business.  I did free talks. I even advertised. I did lots of things.  “If I build it, they will come” was my philosophy. 

But I waited. And waited.   

And you know what? I received more calls from telemarketers than new clients. I spent far more money than I brought in through client revenue.  This was not what I was expecting. What was I doing wrong?

Getting clients as a new coach can be a very challenging process, and I know many new coaches face a similar dilemma. For me the question about what to do next was answered by taking a look inside.

As coaches it can be a challenge to practice what we preach. I myself had put off travel for 12 years as I busied myself with work and day-to-day life.  When I started my coaching practice I did what I had always done- took action.  I thought that I had to spend all my time working on my business, and felt terrible guilt taking time out to do the things I enjoyed.  Putting myself first was still something I viewed as an indulgence rather than a necessity.  But all this activity covered up that inner voice which was begging for a break.  When I started getting colds and viruses every two weeks, my doctor sat me down and explained that I had suppressed my immune system.  She ordered me to take five days off work and do nothing more than watch Dr Phil.  Did she know who she was talking to? I was always doing something- well lots of things, actually.  To do nothing at all but rest was something I found hard to do, but my body was making it clear that I had to change my ways.  After this experience I looked inside myself and asked what it was I really wanted at this point in time. Not what I thought I should do, or what I thought I had to do.  The answer was clear- go on a holiday.  No plans, just go with the flow and experience life in a different setting- my idea of heaven. So I went.

Coming back, I was far more focused and gentler with myself. I pared down the ‘to do’ list and put more energy into myself.  It was interesting that I began to get calls from people who wanted to talk about starting up a new venture after a secure corporate job.  Funnily enough, my ups and downs were just the sort of issues they wanted to know about.  They wanted to hear about a real life ‘dream warrior’- not a seemingly perfect person for whom things happened effortlessly.  I realised that it was okay that I shared the struggles faced by my clients in trying to balance personal and professional commitments, paying the bills, self-care, and striving towards goals.  My experiences began to make sense.

So, dream warrior, what is the most important piece of advice you would give to new coaches?

If I could give one piece of advice to new coaches, it would be to make personal foundation work a priority when starting a coaching practice. The journey toward developing a solid personal foundation provides an abundance of experiences that clients will be drawn to you for, as I found when I returned from my travels.  Another recommendation would be to enlist the help of a coach to support you through the journey. Mine provided me with invaluable insight and gentle, consistent encouragement.  Without it I may have given up in the middle of the road, missing those experiences I needed to help me achieve my goals, and ultimately, make me a better coach.

“Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about”- Author Unknown

For all those new coaches out there who feel like their coaching practice will never get started, keep believing in yourself and your dreams and working toward them little by little. Trust that you were drawn to coaching for a reason, and that you will be supported in sharing your gifts. As Richard Bach said, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” Every time something seems to go wrong or nothing seems to be happening, tuck that away as a ‘dream warrior’ experience that will come in useful one day.  Most importantly, keep moving forward. You owe it to yourself and your current and future clients to model the ‘dream warrior’ spirit by working towards your dreams.  May the New Year give you abundant opportunities to make them your new reality. 

Kristina Pawliw is an Australian based coach and writer. Kristina’s professional passions include helping people make their dreams a reality; and developing capacity in individuals, organisations and communities. As a step along her ‘dream warrior’ path, this year Kristina released her book Steps to Success- Sustainable Capacity Development following her experience working in a mentoring and coaching role in Papua New Guinea. Kristina can be contacted via her website a


  1. Awesome advice, thank you Kristina, just what I needed to hear today and it really resonates with me - isn't life wonderful when it leads you to places that help?
    Sandra :-)

  2. Great inspiring experience. I am challenged and encouraged


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