Alexandra Phillips started her career as a soap opera actor but didn’t feel that it was a great fit. So she hired a coach to help her think through her options, and the process was extremely eye-opening — she realized that she’d like to pursue a career as a coach. So Phillips went back to school at NYU to get certified as a coach and to learn how to effect transformational change in her clients. She is now the founder of Alexandra Phillips Consulting, LLC.
Phillips draws upon her experience as an actor when she’s coaching clients. The ability to pivot and to improvise help her respond to whatever challenges clients bring through the door.
Phillips is encouraged by the fact that, increasingly, companies view coaching as a means to invest in employees, and not simply as a remediation tool. A typical client is a newly-minted executive who may have been promoted to a management role without proper management training. “You coach a professional basketball player the same way you would coach an executive,” she says. “They need to recognize their challenges and train those muscles so they can use them better.” Functional expertise doesn’t necessarily mean that one has the soft skills necessary to lead and motivate a team, Phillips notes.
As an executive coach, Phillips has many clients, but admits that being a coach can sometimes be “solitary.” So she joined Forbes Coaches Council to find a community of peers.
“The way that you get the most out of Forbes Councils is by being active, really responding and making sure you’re publishing articles and helping other people out in the forum,” Phillips says. “This how you create relationships and how you help others and eventually how you might get helped yourself.” For example, she says, “I posted a question on the forum and within three seconds… there were 10 coaches offering me solutions and advice.”
Phillips was once working with a client and, midway through the engagement, found that she lacked the forms she needed to move forward. She asked for help in the Forbes Councils online forum and, within minutes, had the materials she needed. “I had a trusted group of professionals, so I didn’t have to second-guess what I was looking at… I knew the level of material was solid.”
Phillips is now working on a startup called GoalSquad, an online platform that aims to democratize coaching and offer transformational coaching to a wider audience. She hopes to make coaching accessible to early-stage professionals. “Right now, coaching is available just for the top tier of executives,” she says. “But with GoalSquad, we’re going to bring coaching to everyone at every stage of their development.”