Executive Leadership Coach (& CEO). at In Search of Eagles, Inc. We are a Consulting & Coaching practice. We work exclusively with an organizations key leaders and their teams..
Me in Three
My Retirement Failed:
The year was 1989. I retired to the Basalt, CO, near Aspen, with the intention of skiing all winter and horseback trail riding all summer. In the very first year, I became irritable and depressed. Life was a bore! Boredom is lethal! Within months I realized I had to create a new “fulfilling life adventure of my own design.” I had to restore meaning to each day.
My New, Low-Stress, Fulfilling Life Adventure:
In the fall of 1990, at the age of 56, I persuaded the Aspen Skiing Company to hire me as a Ski Instructor, not because I was a good skier (which I definitely was not!) but because I could relate to the guest. Clients had fun skiing with me. My business card said “A little learning happens when you are having fun.” (By age 60, I was skiing “the deep, steep, crud and bumps just like the younger Ski Pros.)
In the early 1990’s, I discovered the emerging profession Executive Coaching. Before my failed retirement, I was a consultant specializing in failing business operations. To my great surprise, much of what I had been doing in that “earlier life adventure” is embedded in the Core Competencies of Executive Coaching!
I became acquainted with my first Executive Coaching Clients as their Ski Instructor. Some of those clients are still with me fifteen years later! One day I realized the “ordinary” leadership concepts I’d developed in the 70’s and 80’s were “extraordinary!” However, many executive still see these ideas as being somewhere between “experimental” and “unrealistic.”
As my Executive Coaching Client following grew, I organized these leadership concepts in to a model I now call “Authentic Leadership.” These early clients enjoyed being part of this Research and Development experience.
I finally discovered what I want to do when I grow up:
There is a season for everything. While I enjoyed my life as a Skiing Professional, in 2000, at 66, it was not as much fun as it used to be, especially on sub-zero days! I stopped teaching full time. However, I have kept my Instructor’s License and currently teach a few days each winter to keep my “addiction” for the sport under control.
For the next eight years, I refined and expanded the Authentic Leadership model to where it is quite robust. I studied advanced Organizational Relationship Systems coaching methods. I’m one of 700 Master Certified Coaches (MCC) in the world, as recognized by the International Coach Federation, the profession’s credentialing body.
“Retirement,” is not an option, I made that mistake once before. About twelve years ago my wife became enthusiastic about coaching and completed all of the formal training I have. As coaches, our role is "Seasoned Elders.” For us, executive leadership development is a labor of love. It is our life’s passion and purpose.
Stories, Hacks, & Barriers
Groundbreaking ideas and practices from Bill Shirley