Goalminded Talks Coaching with Professor Brenda Ellington Booth, Director of the Leadership Coaching Program at the Kellogg School of Management



Since launching Goalminded, we’ve told you a lot about why we think coaching is so great. That’s why we thought it was time we had an expert weigh in on what exactly this whole “coaching” thing is all about and why it’s become such a hot topic. We caught up with Professor Brenda Ellington Booth, faculty member at the Kellogg School of Management and leading authority on coaching and leadership, to get her take:


Let’s start with the basics… What is coaching?

I think the ICF (International Coach Federation) puts it best when it says that coaches partner with clients “in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Hmm… coaching sounds a bit like therapy. How are they different?

Therapists are in the business of healing and people tend to seek them out when they have a mental health issue. Coaches are in the business of helping clients maximize their potential and create new possibilities. Whereas therapists tend to focus on the past as a way to understand the present, coaches tend to live in the future, helping clients figure out what they need to do now to overcome obstacles, create possibilities, and reach their goals.

Working with so many clients over the years, I’m sure you have a few interesting stories to share. What is one of your favorite coaching moments?

One of my clients was hired by a Company to eventually take over as CEO. The Company hired me to help her prepare for an interview with the Board of Directors. A few sessions into the process, she was in tears. It had become clear to her that, at this point in her life, she valued family above everything else. She’d been divorced twice, hadn’t spent as much time with her kids as she would have liked, and was now considering a job that would lead her to spend even less time with the people she cared about most. Despite the fact that I was hired to coach her to prepare for a role that most people would covet, she eventually realized that she did not want the job as CEO. It’s truly amazing what coaching can help people realize about themselves.

What’s your favorite piece of advice you give your clients?

Make time for yourself to think and reflect. It sounds simple, but it’s often easier said than done. If a busy person just says they are going to make time for themselves, they usually won’t. They need to find a compelling reason to do so; they need a clear objective. In the case I just discussed, for example, when my client was forced through our sessions together to reflect on what was really important to her, she was able to avoid getting herself into a job situation that didn’t align with her values. It is critical for business leaders to allow themselves time to self-reflect, space to come up with new and fresh ideas, and the freedom to think independently. Also, business leaders need to ask themselves: is this where I want to be? Am I satisfied with my life? So many leaders get caught up in the trappings of success, they might not even realize they are not happy. The legendary commencement speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford a few years back is a great reminder of what’s really important.

You mentioned how important it is for coaches to “practice what they preach” and that you have a coach of your own. How has coaching helped you in your own life?

I tend to be a perfectionist and obsess about making sure things in my life go according to plan. My coach helps me make sure I’m not focusing on outcomes that are beyond my control. I can prepare 20 hours or 100 hours before teaching a class, but my level of preparation will have no bearing on whether or not a student shows up to my class. All I can do is be confident in the knowledge that I’ve done enough to prepare myself for success, and then be present enough to enjoy the experience of teaching my class.


So, what is coaching anyway?



Here’s something we hear a lot: “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of coaching. It’s not really for me, I don’t need therapy right now, but thanks anyway.”

But here’s the thing…coaching is not therapy. Therapists are in the business of healing. Coaches are in the business of getting you from good to great. Unlocking your potential. Clearing away the obstacles that have held you back from being the best version of yourself. It’s about developing strengths and finding strength in acknowledging areas of weakness. Coaching doesn’t focus on where you’ve been or what you’ve done, but where you are going and what you need to do to get there.

Let’s face it, even if you know what you need to do to get ahead, sometimes life just gets in the way. Jobs come and go. Relationships form and fizzle. Successes ebb and flow. It’s human nature to, at times, lose sight of the goals you’ve set for yourself amidst the chaos of a busy schedule. That is where coaching can be most powerful.

A coach helps you re-gain perspective on what is most important to you and formulate an action plan for getting back on track. Want to be healthier? A coach provides the inspiration, motivation and accountability necessary to make healthier choices in life. Plateauing in your career? Coaching can help you build the skills necessary to accelerate your professional achievements. Finding yourself just generally stuck with no idea of where your path might lead? Work with a coach to disentangle the competing influences in your life and get back on track.

In the end, the best way to understand what coaching is, and what it can do for you, is to just give it a try. We’re confident that once you do, you’ll see what all the hype is about.

Try it for free by clicking here.

Happy Coaching!

The Goalminded Team

Watch our Video!

We are excited to announce that our video is now up for your viewing pleasure! Let your loveable cartoon guide, Tom, take you on a 1 minute and 40 second tour of what Goalminded is all about!

You can watch the video here: Video on Youtube.

Or click on the ‘Watch our Video’ button on our Homepage.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback, so drop us a line at info@goalminded.com and let us know what you think!

Happy Coaching,
Alex and Carson

Hello World!

Well, its been quite a whirlwind few months! Carson and I officially began pursuing Goalminded full-time in May with the goal of changing the way people think about wellness and achieving their goals through clinically-proven, customized and convenient coaching. Since then, we’ve had a lot of firsts that we are very proud of:

Over the coming months, we are looking forward to using this blog to share updates, thoughts, reflections, musings (gotta love the thesaurus) on Goalminded, coaching, wellness and anything else we think you guys might want to hear!

Future near-term topics in the works include:

  • What’s the difference between therapy and coaching?
  • Who uses coaching anyway?
  • Why is that Alex founder guy so much more talented than the other founder guy… I kid. But seriously, tell us if you want to hear about that and then we’ll be forced to do it :-)

Anyway, just a few ideas – tell us want you want to hear at info@goalminded.com!

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us over the first leg of this amazing, exhilarating, and downright exhausting journey.

Happy Coaching!

Alex (and Carson)

AJS and CFB - Quarter Size