Client Spotlight: Lisa Cefali
Lisa Cefali is the Partner of Executive Search and Strategic Development at Legacy Bowes Group and the North American Regional Council Chair for Variety—the Children’s Charity. As a professional and mother who wears many hats, Lisa would often get approached by executive coaches on LinkedIn. “I was curious about coaching because I thought it would be wonderful to get some insight and I’m always looking to grow my career,” she says. “I often had to make tough decisions without having people to bounce my ideas off of.”
Over the years, Lisa would interview these coaches, but she never found one who she could relate to. They either didn’t have a sufficiently extensive coaching background, or had only ever been a coach and didn’t have expertise in other areas.
Then Lisa attended a Family Enterprise Xchange symposium at which Kim Ades, President and Founder of FOM Inc, was a speaker. When Kim asked for a volunteer during her presentation, Lisa didn’t put her hand up. “I attend conferences to sit back and learn as opposed to leading,” she says. “Kim called me out on that and showed me how I was limiting myself.”
Lisa did end up volunteering when Kim asked for another volunteer later in the presentation, and Kim demonstrated how Lisa had a fear of asking for help. Lisa asked for Kim’s business card afterwards and told her that she had wanted an executive coach for a long time but had never connected with one like that. “What struck me was that I could relate to Kim’s journey and to her pride of being a successful leader,” she says.
They had a complimentary coaching call and Kim introduced Lisa to FOM Coach Dave Gorham. “Initially I wasn’t sure if I would be able to open up to a coach because I’ve always kept a professional persona,” says Lisa. “I had high standards for how I wanted to be perceived, and was quite filtered.”
Despite her misgivings, Lisa and Dave hit it off right away. “Dave gave me the insight I needed on so many fronts, from a business perspective to my personal life,” she says. “It was an all-encompassing experience that was truly transformational for me.”
Lisa liked that she was finally getting challenged on her thoughts, by someone who had a perspective that was both professional and relevant to the topics they were discussing. She gained the ability to ask herself, ‘why not?’ “I had encouraged many other people to engage in ‘why not’ thinking,” she says, “but in my own life, I thought I needed to have everything in place before taking off.” Coaching showed her how certain rules that she set for herself were actually limiting her. “I had never thought about it that way!” she says.
At the beginning of coaching, journaling consistently and openly didn’t come naturally to Lisa. “I ended up finding my rhythm and began looking forward to it,” she says. “Journaling allowed me to express my thoughts, answer the journaling prompts and focus on things. It wasn’t open-ended—which was a real benefit.” Journaling gave her the ability to let out whatever was happening that day and get Dave’s insights on those events. Lisa liked how Frame of Mind Coaching™ has a different focus every week and how each one builds off of the last one.
Together, Dave and Lisa evaluated the relationships in her life. They discussed her friends, family and colleagues—who she was at peace with how they showed up, who she was tolerating versus accepting, and who was becoming toxic. “That was enlightening; I have so much clarity about who I accept into or remove from my life,” she says. “Now I have even better relationships with everyone. I just am myself with them and I’m present.”
Before coaching, Lisa thought that how she showed up in her personal life and in her professional life was like two completely different people. When she did an FOM Coaching™ exercise that encouraged her to get personal feedback from all the different places in her world, she got the same feedback regardless of the source. “Through this, I learned that I can be unfiltered at work and still be a great leader, I can be unfiltered at home and still be a great family member and friend, and I can just be who I am,” she says. “I used to compartmentalize and now I don’t.”
Another important coaching moment for Lisa was overcoming her fear of asking for help. “I realized that I’m good at asking for things when it’s for a cause or an organization—I rarely asked for help for myself,” she says. “I recognized that if I ask for help and get a ‘no’ it won’t be detrimental.”
Lisa incorporated what she learned each week of the coaching process into her work with her team. “I tested out the theories I was learning,” she says. “What I learned in coaching was so useful.” She later joined the FOM Methods coaching and leadership program for additional development and depth in regards to what she had learned during her coaching experience, particularly with the FOM Coaching™ Principles and Concepts. “I got a lot out of speaking to the other FOM Methods participants who had a similar coaching experience to me,” she says. “Taking FOM Methods after having the experience of being coached allowed me to see how others have used the concepts, and allowed me to be able to expand my breadth of understanding of how I can use what I learned in an even more intentional way.”