Ever have a question lead you into a new way of living? A few years into coaching teachers in San Diego, I smashed head first into a cast iron question. Ouch! Is everyone meant to teach – especially children? It interrupted my thoughts, took refuge in my dreams and generally made for a bitter companion. (The answer by the way is “No”.)
At the same time, I heard of a 3 day coach training event for experienced coaches in San Francisco. I read a book by the teacher/ founder of the school and signed up, because he was asking even bigger questions than I was. Little did I know that a movement from horizontal (skills based coaching) to vertical (developmental coaching) was about to unfold. And my life was taking on a new form.
What I discovered led me to a year long course in Chicago – a gateway into the world of adult developmental change that keeps me enlivened and engaged every day – sometimes frustrated and always eager to understand more.
Integral coaching is a developmental journey, a mystery and opening. It took me from master teacher, high school principal, teacher trainer, curriculum developer, editor and educational coach into realms I couldn’t imagine. Along the way I discovered the intelligence of the body, the significance of daily Sitting, the gifts of self-observation and the shifts made possible by rigorous practice. And that was only the beginning.
Here’s a little context…
I came to the USA as a young girl, living in poverty with my mom. Quickly I learned to navigate many worlds…in several languages. No wonder I became fascinated with linguistics and culture
and years later did my graduate work in cultural anthropology.
My poor mom, a Holocaust survivor, also had a severe mental illness. Out of the pain her condition imposed on all of us, my love of psychology – understanding the mind – arose. When things were really tough, books were a refuge – igniting a lifelong love of learning. Being a child of immigrants with a colorful cast of characters traipsing through our apartments, I listened a lot and learned as much from the non-verbal cues as from the 7 languages that were freely bandied about.
And from an early age, I loved reading to and organizing games – leading the younger kids – seeing myself as their champion. I started teaching when I was still a teen myself and kept going into a rich and meaningful career that included accelerated learning, experiential education, neuro-linguistic programming, learning styles and brain-based methods of reaching students. Oh and I co-wrote a funny book/game on the Enneagram. My own reading took me into philosophy, ontology, semantics, literature,, and neuroscience. And I traveled… a lot.
The story is complex (we all are) and changes locales often, yet a theme arises from the mist – I was always involved with development – of the mind, and then the body and spirit.
Finally, combining my own spiritual practice, Kundalini yoga practice and EVERYTHING (with a capital E), that I knew, I began consulting and coaching under the name The Valiant Group – since courage in conversation and life was essential to me.
I’ve worked with clients at Busch and SpaWars, NASA and Twitter, Clorox and Genentech, Nikon and SD. City Schools. I’ve delivered workshops at universities across the country, taught in Moscow, Singapore, Capetown, S.A., and Greece and continue to be fascinated by the ways we humans encounter and expand our experience to fully live into our potential.