Although I didn’t see the path I was on in the beginning, the fact that it led me to this rich life in coaching makes perfect sense in hindsight. From early on, connection to others and the aliveness of shared experience were the sparks that lit me up. In fact, my nickname on my first softball team was “Sparkplug”. That softball team was one of my first forays into figuring out who I was in a larger system, long before high school, college, first real job, romantic relationship, career, home ownership, and all those big firsts in my life.
Life is filled with these “who am I” reflection opportunities. For me, one of those is being an aunt (I have 7 nieces and nephews, 6 great nieces and nephews and counting). I’ve been committed to modeling my values, sharing my heart, teaching my wisdom, learning with humility, and expressing through my playful spark. And they’ve indulged my passion for the ocean and bodysurfing by joining me in the water often over the years. They always saw the kid in me, and now that the first 7 are adults, we see the kid in each other.
About five years after graduating from college, I shifted from an individual contributor role to being a manager in high tech. My management style was based on the same things I shared with my nieces and nephews: modeling my values, sharing my heart, teaching my wisdom, learning with humility, and expressing through my playful spark. My goals were always to see each person as an individual and to understand what lit them up. I supported their passions by aligning them with meaningful work, decision-making authority, training opportunities, and a healthy work/life balance.
I was a Senior Manager at a top ten Fortune 500 company and chaos rained from above. Throughout my 25+ years of people development in the corporate space, I had continued to build my own leadership skills and invest in self-development. I was determined to develop a nervous system that had deeper capacity, supported by my deeper humanity. My attitude was that if I was going to stay in this career, I had to enjoy it more and be a better manager for my staff. It was clear that the work environment and the demands of the job were diminishing my spark and sense of self. Work was becoming a slog.
Michelle Weston, Certified Integral Coach
And then I made a life-changing decision: I hired my own professional coach. My topic for her was “I want to be grounded in peace and calm despite the chaos around me.”
I quickly felt a boost from partnering with someone who understood what I valued. She invited me to see my behaviors from other perspectives, provided me with tools to build skill and capacity, and championed my true nature and aptitude. AND, she told me I would be a great coach and encouraged me to enroll in coaching school! She helped me get that essential spark back that I identified as the playful me. At that time, I was still committed to my career in high tech and felt refreshed enough to stay. So, I brought more of a coaching style to my everyday corporate roles where I had formal and informal coaching relationships with executives, peer managers, and staff. More and more, people came to me for this kind of support and I loved it!
Eventually, I realized it was time to own my life of service as a coach, so I took the leap and enrolled in coaching school. I’m now a certified coach and couldn’t be more fulfilled. I’m honored with the continued opportunities to work in trusting, collaborative relationships with my clients. I’m able to help them redefine what is meaningful and fulfilling at this stage in their lives and to stand in their authenticity as they own their path.
I’m proud that my commitment to develop a deep capacity for being grounded in peace and calm allows me to hold space for my clients as they bravely step into their own self-development journey. I’m also proud that these growth environments are charged with the expansive spark of playfulness.
Other credentials you may be curious about
I am a Certified Integral Coach® through New Ventures West and a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF). I currently serve as the certification manager and adjunct faculty in the Professional Coaching Certification Program at New Ventures West in San Francisco.
In my 30 years of corporate experience in the Bay Area, I’ve worked for industry leaders in biotech, mapping and in-vehicle navigation, consumer electronics, enterprise software, and information technology.
I volunteer as a San Francisco City Leader for the non-profit Sidewalk Talk. As part of this listening project, I bring volunteers to the sidewalk to nurture human connection by teaching and practicing heart-centered listening in public spaces.
I have a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Training Design and Development from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology from Humboldt State University.
Artwork by Kelly Kenworthy and Michelle Weston