Womenlines takes pleasure to welcome Elaine Jacques in the ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’ show at Womenlines!
Elaine Jacques is an International Coach Federation certified coach and a medical Speech-Language Pathologist. Elaine’s coaching focuses on answering the questions: What’s your big goal? and What’s one thing you can do today? Her holistic coaching approach draws from evidence-based research in neuroscience, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, positive psychology, mindfulness, and strengths. One of her secret superpowers is calmly and effectively communicating during life and death/high-stress situations.
Listen and read about her interesting journey in her own words-
1. Please share with our reader’s little bit about yourself!
My career path has gone from international education (teaching English as a Foreign Language in southern Taiwan when I was 18) to filling a variety of administrative/executive assistant/HR/payroll/customer service/event planning roles after graduating with my bachelor’s degree. Then finding myself feeling bored and unchallenged and going back to school to earn my master’s degree in medical speech pathology when I was 28. And after doing that for 13 years, becoming restless again and adding International Coach Federation coach certification to my list of certifications (along with accent modification instructor and body language trainer!) The terms I resonate with are ‘multipotentialite’ and ‘lifelong learner’.
2. So when did you start working and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into your present venture?
I did not grow up in an affluent family. And I was tall for my age, so I started working when I was about 12 years old to help pay for my school expenses. I cleaned houses, was a caregiver for several people, did babysitting, washed dishes in a restaurant, cashiered at a grocery store, did chores for neighbours, etc. All of those jobs taught me time management skills and the importance of having a good work ethic, so I could earn and keep people’s trust and respect. Having jobs that weren’t all that much fun inspired me to keep pushing forward to get my education so that I could have better jobs and make a better life for myself.
In the hospital setting, many of the patients I work with are very sick and are in their final chapter of life. So after 13 years of hospital speech pathology work, I finally took the plunge into moving myself in a new direction! Three years ago, I started on my coaching journey to be part of having a positive impact on peoples’ lives who would then go on to live and benefit from my work with them!
3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?
It is humbling to “start over” and be treated like a “newbie” even when you have 20+ years of work experience and a pretty broad background in education, business, marketing, training, supervision, medical work, etc. It can feel like none of your “prior experience” is worthwhile. And it can feel like you are “throwing away” your education by going into something new that doesn’t require that degree. Working part-to-full time and taking a heavy load of classes is exhausting and can feel insurmountable at times. And begging people to let you coach them to fulfil coaching hours can make you question your decision as well! And then working two careers plus all the rest of life’s responsibilities can feel like a self-imposed sleep deprivation torture sentence.
4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
As difficult as it can be to try to find balance, especially when things seem to constantly shift and change; remembering to take care of yourself (eat right, get some exercise, give yourself at least short breaks – even just to stare out the window for 2 minutes, listen to a short meditation/favorite pick-me-up song, etc.) can help to offset the overwhelm and your stress level. I have struggled with this a lot – especially with sleep deprivation in the last year. Sometimes you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say “I did my best and tomorrow is another day.”
5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?
Talk to people who are already doing it. Ask them what they would have liked to have known/done differently when they first started. Find a mentor or support group – or create your own from your circle of friends and family and online connections. Save cards/emails/notes that people give you to thank you for your work with them – you will need those to look at when you are having a ‘less-than’ day – to remind yourself why you are doing this! Be willing to ask for recommendations and feedback so you can continue to improve – and build your credibility.
6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?
One of my bachelor program professors who mentored me gave this reminder: “You can’t take credit for what you do right if you won’t take responsibility for what you do wrong.”
One of my first bosses in my hospital work always supported me when anyone tried to undermine me. It helped me gain the confidence I needed to have her steadfast support while I was still learning.
I have wonderful friends who support and inspire me. Some are friends since childhood and university. Some are friends whom I have become very close to just in the last 2 years from our interactions on LinkedIn. I like to say that friends are family you get to choose.
7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?
I will likely always be adding to my certifications so that I can continue to be an increasingly better coach for my clients!
And I am continuing to become more clear on who I enjoy working with the most, and what areas of coaching I am the most well-suited to be of value for my clients.
I am going to continue to stretch my comfort zone to do training, workshops, webinars, and public speaking.
And I will continue to be open to collaborations with other amazing people to support their work, and benefit even more people through our work together.
If you want to learn about ‘Executive Presence’ connect with Elaine on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elainejacques/.
Womenlines wishes best of luck and success to Elaine for all her future initiatives!
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