My Unconventional Quest For the Perfect Coach


I was catching up with a friend the other day, and she was asking me about the coaching work I’ve been doing over the past couple of years. 


“So, are you a career coach, or a life coach?” 


And…hmmmm… It got me wondering….I’ve always just written “Musician’s Coach” because neither of those other 2 felt like it fully encompassed how I work with clients. I started thinking about my own experience with various kinds of coaches, and how those experiences shaped the kind of coach I am. 

Over the past 15 years of my life, in my quest to “figure my life out” I have tried quite a few avenues:


  • The therapist to get me unstuck after a bad breakup and ensuing depression. 


  • A career coach based in the classical music world


  • The 6-month long business course. 


  • An accountability mastermind 


  • A group coaching program run by someone who was equally versed in the world of music and business. 


  • 1:1 sessions with the coach who ran the above program. 


They each gave me something valuable and taught me both what I needed, and what I didn’t need. 



The Therapist: It was great to have someone questioning my beliefs and assumptions and getting me to think in wider circles. It was maddening when I just wanted an answer, but eventually learned (and experienced) the benefit of coming to my own true answers that were hidden deep inside of me. I learned how to truly listen to someone, and how to hold space for that person. But I wasn’t about to ask her for career advice…


The Classical Music World Career Coach: This was my first foray into figuring out what I wanted to be doing, how I wanted to do it, and with whom I wanted to be doing it. My coach had a lot of answers, and although I knew she had been around for a while, knew the scene, and knew what worked and what didn’t, her “my way or the highway” MO didn’t feel aligned with me. The advice wasn’t about me or my personality, more “just follow the rules and you’ll be fine. I don’t care what you want to do, trust me, this is what they really want to see” She was lovely and well-meaning and her way of doing things probably works for many many musicians, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. It all seemed a bit too much about pleasing the gatekeepers. 


The Business Course: So I decided to learn about the business world for myself. I did a deep dive into all things marketing, pricing, branding, copywriting, social media, the works. And it opened up my mind in so many ways. Everything made so much sense, and it was actually a ton of fun. Who knew–there were ways to run a business that was service-based, that was set up to help people and not just rip them off? That wasn’t slimy? It also married my three loves of music, business, and writing. I was in heaven….It was a whole world that I had no idea existed. BUT…I felt totally alone coming from the classical music industry. 

They were at a loss when I explained my industry–how small and close-knit it is. How we all basically know each other and are never more than 2 degrees apart. In other words, every one of us went to some festival with Kevin Bacon or knew someone who had. (apologies to anyone too young to get this reference. Just google it, I guess)



So, armed with my newfound knowledge of how the other 99% of the world works, I set out to find a community of classical musicians who also knew of or were interested in such things. 


I found 2.


The Mastermind: One had a podcast, one had a blog, and it turns out (because….Kevin Bacon) I had actually met with and worked with both of them in the long distant past. 

We formed a 3-person mastermind group and shared ideas, gave feedback, offered connections, and held each other accountable. I loved it, but all three of us were basically at the same point, all searching together.  


The Musicians’ Business Coaching Group: It was here that I found the combination I was looking for. The business principles I had learned, applied to the classical music industry (which is simultaneously super savvy and sophisticated, and WAY behind the times) with a small group of like-minded people, guided by a coach who would ask us questions instead of giving us straight answers. There were certain strategies she taught, but it was clear that we would be putting our own spin on them-not just following her exact formula. 

The 1:1 Sessions: This was a game-changer for me. To have my coach’s eyes on my work (as opposed to addressing things in general terms for the benefit of the group–which was helpful in other ways) meant that we could spend significant time delving into next steps, strategies, ideas, etc. There was time to think, to question, and to gently (and sometimes not so gently!) coax me out of my comfort zone.

And finally, I had found the last piece of the puzzle. Business Skills + Knowledge of Classical Music Industry + Like-Minded Colleagues + The Guidance of a Coach who could help battle the inner work–challenging old beliefs, assumptions, and helping to get over resistance, imposter syndrome, etc. 

It was here that I learned about the field of coaching, and started reading books by Nancy Kline, Steven Chandler, Steven Pressfield, and Cal Newport. These methods were teaching me how to truly listen, and how to hold a more productive space for my clients. 



These days, more than ever, musicians are struggling. With concert seasons being somewhere between decreased and non-existent, people are wondering how they’re going to pay bills

And with a changing industry landscape, there are plenty of ideas floating around of things that “could” happen, but very few people know HOW to make them happen. 

And if they somehow DO know how to make them happen, they start self-sabotaging their way out of doing it.

So that’s where I land, I guess…

somewhere between musicians’ wellness/life coach and a career development guide. I’m certainly not a trained therapist, and would never attempt to take the place of one when needed.

The work that I do with my clients combines the business tools and contacts that they need to get a project off the ground with the mindset work that will allow them to actually do it. Asking them why it is that they think they’re not good enough. And if it’s true that people would laugh at them for trying. They come up with the answers, and they end up doing more than they ever thought possible. 


As a colleague recently said, “Therapy deals with your past, Coaching focuses on your future.”



I’ll always be glad I tried all of those different routes. Even though most of them weren’t what I was looking for–they all helped inform me what it was I needed.  So when I found it, I knew it right away. 

Investing in both my career and in my own personal development through coaches and programs has been the best thing I have ever done for myself, and so I take the work that I do with my clients very seriously–knowing that it is exactly that–an important investment they have made in themselves and their futures. 


What advice would I give to anyone thinking about working with a coach?

Try us out! Most, if not all of us offer short, free consultations–usually a 30-minute call to get to know each other. It is totally fine to have those calls with multiple people, and I think we would all agree that you should. We all have different strengths, personalities, and ways of working with clients, so you can have a look around. It’s a bit like having a trial lesson when you’re looking for a teacher. 

And for people who are just at the beginning of the process, and not sure they’re ready for a coach yet? You can start by joining a Facebook group (like our very own, Tales From The Lane FB Group) where you can find like-minded people, and start to gain some familiarity with the ideas, terms (what is imposter syndrome, anyway?), and tips and tricks, free workshops and classes, etc. 

Not a people-person? Start with Podcasts. I have a list of favorites here. 

Still have questions? Just ask. You can leave a comment here on the post, or reach out to me via FB or IG, or book a call with me HERE. 





P.S. Want some help figuring out what you should be doing with your life?  Grab this (free) worksheet that will help you gain clarity around what you were meant to offer the world and who you’d like to serve.

P.P.S. Are you enjoying these blog posts and want more? Join my mailing list and get my Friday morning newsletter sent to your inbox. With additional tips, tricks, things to think about, each week also offers up a curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy. 

Click Here to Get the Newsletter! 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: