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The Coaching Dept. Blog

My Experience with Coaching

It was almost 22 years ago. I remember the drive home like it was yesterday. I was feeling a combination of sadness, anger, fear, and relief. On the way to work in the morning I was a Club Manager and now on a drive home to my family I was not.

The relief I was feeling was that I was leaving a place where I didn’t fit. I was leaving a place that was not in alignment with my values and I was leaving a place that did not really want me to be me. It was like a great weight had been lifted off of me. On one level it seemed easier to breathe.

But then there were other emotions. The sadness came partly from not being successful in something I had taken on. I was sad to be leaving some relationships. I was sad to no longer have the title that I had enjoyed having. I was sad that it just didn’t work out.

The anger showed up in a few ways. I felt that I had been painted a picture that wasn’t close to being accurate. I was set up for failure, not success. I hadn’t received the honesty and respect that I was used to receiving. Perhaps the biggest anger was with me. I was disappointed that I didn’t pay attention to the red flags that I clearly saw before I accepted the position because I really wanted to be the Manager of this special place.

Maybe the fear was the most powerful emotion on that drive home. What would people think? What would my colleagues think? How was my wife going to react? How would it affect my family? What about the income I need? How long might I go without income? What might we lose?

When I arrived home and shared my news, Rose and I had something in common, both of us had our employment come to an end on the same day. Trust me, the fear was magnified!

I now look back on that day as one of the worst days and one of the best days of my life. On that day I could only see it as one of the worst.


The Next Chapter: Design and Coaching!

It was definitely time for a new chapter. The great awareness for me at that time was that instead of reading it I needed to write it. I realized that in many ways I was living life designed by others instead of me. I started to consider what it would be like if I could design the life I wanted to live.

That might sound like I was clear about what I needed to do and that I knew how to do it. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was feeling down, lost, and way over my head. I had a mindset that if I asked for help people might think I didn’t have it all together. I might look like I was out of control or weak.

When I realized that pretending I could do it on my own wasn’t going to get me to where I wanted to go it was amazing how support showed up from many directions.

Within weeks three coaches showed up for me. At the time, my reference of a coach was limited to sports. I did have awareness that sometimes a leader could play the role of coach and I liked the idea of learning how that concept could make me a better leader. I wasn’t aware of the concept of a coach that works with you on your life and your career.

In a short period of time, three different coaches showed up. They each supported me in a different way and when I decided which one was the best fit for me, I dove in.

My coach helped me to get clear on what was important to me. She helped me to create a plan. She challenged me to think bigger and held me accountable to live up to my potential. I am not sure if I would be living the life I am living now or not without that support but I am sure if I was it would have taken longer.

I simply didn’t have the tools, the understanding, or the willingness to look at myself as the obstacle or the solution, the way I did when someone was guiding me.

That year I made the decision to study coaching and learn how to do what my coach did for me. One of my discoveries was that after 21 years of leading people, I had labels for many of the skills I had been using for years. I started to get clear on how I had been supporting people to bring out their best. I created a life and a career where the part of club management that I enjoyed the most is what I got to do every day.

In 2003 I was asked to create a coaching program for the members of CMAA. It has been such a privilege to support people in the industry when they decide that they would like some support in getting to their destination quicker.

As thrilling as it was for me to realize that I could design my life, connect to my passions, competencies, and values and be a happier, more engaged version of myself, it is even more thrilling when I can support others to do the same thing.

What had happened in my life as I was driving home on that night in the year 2000 seemed catastrophic to me. In a moment when it is obvious that something has to change it is easy to make the decision to change, but it makes more sense to get support so that you don’t have to go through the hardship.

Everyone has been going through something during these past few years. If you or someone you lead could benefit from the support of a coach, please know that coaching support is available.


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. They can be reached by calling 1-866-822-3481 toll free.

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. CMAA offers coaching as a benefit of membership. To set up a coaching session you can call 1-866-822-3481 toll free.

About the author

Kevin MacDonald

Kevin MacDonald founded Clarity Success Coaching in 2000. Kevin is deeply passionate about his work with his clients and loves living on purpose to assist those he works with to elevate their lives and live to their fullest potential. Kevin MacDonald is a Coach and Facilitator, a Communicator and a Storyteller. As a Coach he initiates action from within the people he touches. Kevin believes that knowing who you are is critical to your success. Kevin's business and management background combined with his exceptional Coaching skills make him an asset in any people development initiative.

Kevin is a member of the International Coach Federation and a graduate of Teresia LaRocque Coaching and Associates Abundant Practice Program. Kevin has received his Coach training from Coach U. Before he began coaching he spent over 20 years as a manager in the hospitality industry. His focus now as a coach is to inspire his clients and help them lean the skills in that they can use to change their lives. Kevin empowers his clients so that they can take the actions that will start to change their behavior so they begin see the results they are wanting in life.

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