Coaching is a profession that stands by itself, although the coach may bring with them a variety of backgrounds that prepare them to be an excellent coach. One of those factors is good solid training in coaching leading to certification, even those who hold a masters or doctorate degree in human behavioral occupations strongly agree that once they have completed specific coach training, there are major differences.  Coaching is not the same.  Always ask a person who is claiming to be a coach if they have successfully completed this kind of certification and preferably a program backed by the ICF (International Coach Federation). Another is personal experience. Excellent training stresses learning by doing. If one has not done their own work in these areas, it is difficult to truly understand where others are as well as get out of one’s way-in other words, a need the coach has that takes away from truly coaching another.

Some believe coaching is consulting.  A consultant is an expert in a given area, such as business consulting, giving knowledge, ideas, suggestions and advice in order to bring about effectiveness and success. Most common is generally needing guidance in a specialty, financial or business area.  In this situation the client holds some idea of what they want to accomplish in these areas yet need information from an expert in that area, such as a business plan or advice on financial planning. If someone claiming to be a coach is doing the work for you, this is not coaching, it is consulting.

Coaching is not counseling or therapy.  Some coaches do have a psychological background which can be beneficial in determining if a client is “coachable”, that is an individual has significant shadows of the past or other hindrances, yet learned to manage them, dysfunctional background, relationship concerns, a more recent loss or a number of situations that may interfere with the coaching/client relationship and hinder success None of us are perfect, yet will the client be able to focus on what their goals are? We all experienced events such as these, yet many have found a way to manage the effects by using such things as healthy boundaries, spiritual guidance, seeking support groups or counseling. Once completed a common statement is “Now what do I do with my life?” This is not an indication that coaching cannot happen, yet a professional and qualified coach would recommend seeking understanding, healing and discovery through counseling or therapy first that helps a person manage or overcome in order to enter into coaching.  Consider the mind as a container.  This container is so full of blocks, challenges, anxiety, anger and fear that there is no room for moving forward with passion, purpose and joy. This is particularly true with Creativity Coaching.  One of the initial homework assignments I recommend is a “tolerance” check or the 4 D’s to help sort this out. In other words what does one really want to incorporate into their life and yet pulled away by what really does not matter. A good example is sensing a gifting and calling to help others in need, yet the very help this person is offering lacks good relationship boundaries as well as enabling the other person. When not needed, the helping person also becomes needy and succumbs to burnout. This occurs when the person helping loves conditionally, expecting something back in return or is not listening to the client, rather self-disclosing about their issues and inserting their own story on a regular basis.  Self-disclosure used minimally can be beneficial if it helps the client.

Mentoring.  Often used in variety of areas.  I have used a mentor to review my artwork and writing providing authentic and honest critique in order to arrive at the best painting. These people are most likely peers but had more experience in a certain area. Writers often belong to a critique group where peer support, exchange of constructive help and ideas are used. A mentor is a seasoned role-model where the client aspires to follow the way they conduct their lives or produce something often seen in religious organizations.  There are professional coaches who also mentor new coach graduates. I have used several and is actually a good idea for a coach to retain a coach themselves.  At least belong to one of the coaching organizations.  The client admires certain qualities, a particular niche, talents and abilities the mentor coach has and strives to emulate those qualities. We see this with orientation where a seasoned employee assists a new employee in their new position. Friends, a Bible study leader or well grounded relatives are good mentors in a healthy relationship.


Now what is coaching?  Often clients who have successfully processed counseling or therapy or just sense they are ready to move forward as noted above do ask “so now what?”  Sometimes our lives have produced very little room for anything else other than getting by through life’s day to day challenges whether self-imposed or imposed upon us. And there are season’s in one’s life where managing daily life is the best thing to do at the time. Coaching, however, is discovery and forward thinking about where do I go from here? What really matters and how do I become motivated to put action towards that direction? Perhaps writing a book, marketing art work that falls in line with one’s values or preparing for a speech that is connected to marketing. What is my purpose in life, mission, calling, those things we may feel passionate about and yet seems endlessly on hold?  Each one of us is given a skill set, personality, gifting, virtues/values and purpose like no other. Whether we recognize it or not each one of us is created like no other. Yet how often do we want to be someone else or compete? A coach offers a co-relationship between coach and client, in tandem, both shining a light on embracing what is really true for the client. A coach is trained to be an excellent listener in order to offer thought-provoking questions.  A Coach encourages the Client to set their own goals as well as action towards them.  Yet, it is the Client who determines what this is.  Coaching is a lot about encouragement to take action on that which we want to achieve yet not often sure just what that is or find their passion unattainable.  We may hear of folks who entered into a job years ago for reasons often including the expectations of others or just didn't know what they wanted so chose the next best thing or followed someone else’s ideal for themselves. Yet, continued to be unhappy in their work.  One may continue in the same work with added satisfaction and fulfillment or totally change coarse after coaching. The anxiety attached to this is often a sense that the time and effort applied to history will be wasted.  In reality one or several experiences has the potential to build on another or perhaps transcend into the new direction. You never change who you are, just be motivated differently.  Some are unhappy in a job and yet know financially they need to stay where they are.  Coaching can provide what is needed to refocus through a new perspective, bringing new tools to the present work.  Once leaving this work, individuals have a choice to transition into those things they love to do as well as bring in an income and incorporate skills used in their former work. Or be satisfied where they are.
Coaching can take the mundane out of everyday living and put zing back into our day to day coming and going in miraculous and extraordinary ways. A client is taken from where they are now to where they believe they are to be yet not sure how to get there. This does not mean that life and all of it’s challenges ceases, yet a coach can still encourage keeping you on track while dealing with the present. An excellent coach not only has great listening skills also asks good questions based on what is said or maybe not said.  It is not interrogation, rather a sense of positive curiosity. Research indicates that when a person takes care of and holds onto the agenda, they are motivated to apply action with time and commitment.  
Much of my work is presented through classes, retreats, occasionally phone or local one on one, group or individual on-line email, newsletter-blog or tele-classes/groups and when feasible, organization presentations.  Some years ago, an attendee to our “Dream Giver”(Bruce Wilkinson-Dream for Africa) weekly group at a Lutheran church, went on to fulfill a dream that manifested in a huge display of Christmas Lights with music for a donation to the local food bank. The presentation became so popular that it was announced on radio. Through coaching he recognized his desire, a worthy cause to the community, his gifting, talents and past experiences to bring forth this idea that turned into motivation and action to take the step of faith to accomplish this dream.
Another hallmark of trained coaches is that they are educated in choosing a particular niche or specialty, supported by a target market and tag line that describes where they best benefit others.



As a fine artist, writer, Certified life/creativity coach and photographer I understand the challenges with creative block, desiring outcome but less motivated, time management and niche marketing that without knowledge in these areas, gets in the way of success and fulfillment. I view art and creative expression as relational and believe that we are expressing   a kind of message through our work. Recognizing our passion and working out of our soul is  not always easy to identify.  When we do, creating from the person we are becomes motivational, finding time to create, marketing and conversations with others that are inviting.
As we have identified, true coaching is not therapy, yet the creative process is healing. As a mental health nurse and artist, I combined these two disciplines when working with depressed people in a process group, once providing the opportunity to create, patient affect began to change. They thought of other people they wanted to create something for and less attention on their depression. They began speaking with one another, communicating positive thoughts. It is common today for various therapy modalities to include music, journaling, writing and various forms of visual art.
A very dear nurse friend of mine, during her end stage cancer, asked for a favor.  In fact regardless of her health she became one of the most inspirational individuals of many people I knew, encouraging me to seriously pursue art. For a number of weeks we visited, shared the love of God, talked about her family and children while I attended to a mural on her dining room wall.  The mural was a floral design with grape leaves and vines.  The squiggly vines with this mural camouflaged family names and meaningful words that I had not originally planned.  In honor of this creative act, a link to
Kerry’s Korner is on the home page, using quotes, grape vines, and mixed media. Kerry passed leaving for me a part of herself and extension of Creativity that touched my heart and soul.  Before Kerry’s passing, her mother also passed where she and her family shared a small stipend to further art. When experiencing dry moments away from art,  Kerry’s act of love motivates me again.

The year my own mother died 6 months before my wedding, I took up oil painting. This was not only therapeutic yet also very relational and to this day through Creativity Coaching and my passion for art has remained true.

The creative process finds its way in job satisfaction as well.  When people are more fulfilled in the work place, in addition to expressive creativity, is thoughts, ideas, innovation, use of core values, skills, and visioning.  When people state they are not creative, they are very surprised to learn that they often are engaged in the creative process in their profession and often frustrated for lack of opportunity to express those thoughts or recognized as such. Frustration is not always a bad thing.  It may indicate a gentle reminder that something needs attention. 

Creativity abounds within the hearts and minds of women who have worn many hats during their life. They wear those hats in marvelous ways  in support and care of people both within and outside their circle of influence. Men support their families balancing work, family, maintaining aspects of the home front, being a family spiritual leader and more. Women in their multi tasking are  a creative genius. In the midst of these activities is often a personal desire to fulfill one’s personal dream that aligns with a purpose.

Below are thoughts people often have in common.

  •  Desire to follow one’s heart, yet time, energy and financial resources are diminished.
  •  Time is consumed with running on adrenaline urgency
  •  What is relaxation and how do I make room for that?
  •  In comparison, I am not that talented as others or not creative.
  •  What is blocking me in order to be motivational?
  •  Do I feel uncaring or guilty setting healthy boundaries?
  •  How do I not disappoint others, listening to what is right for me   rather than meeting expectations from others that may not be beneficial?
  •  Change and challenges fuel fear and uncertainty.
  •  Time pressures stifle creativity?  Illness?
  •  Does rigid or misguided hierarchy stifle creativity?
  •  What gears the kind of art I do?
  •  How do I deal with idea overload and choose what is right?
  •  With so many choices, how do we know which are the right ones?
  •  How do I express or think creatively in a compelling way?
  •  It is too late in life to start?
  •  Not understanding what it means to be authentic represented by how we are wired through values, spiritual gifts, personality and strengths.
  •  Wanting to follow my heart yet so many other people need me.
  •  Creative ideas are not taken seriously by others.
  •  Is success and making a profit unreachable?
  •  How do I market out of who I am and not necessarily what I do?
  •  How do I run the race well (without a vision people perish)?
  •  What did I accomplish in a day that was really important?
  •  How do I deal with the unexpected in life, that significantly changes my path?


I welcome walking along side others, as they explore their creative life.  This is accomplished in many ways; email, phone, local coffee house, creativity retreats, speaking, newsletter and workshops.

Sharon Pierce is a Professional Certified Life and Creativity coach and can be reached at sharon@nwmaritimeimages.com

If living within a reasonable area to Sequim, I meet with people over coffee generally.  The most popular coaching scenario is by phone.

Pricing depends on the agreed upon number of coaching sessions per month and time.  The average cost is anywhere from $100-400/mo. Includes 5 emails a week.  Initially I send you a packet of information and simple paper work so we can get acquainted. Not sure?  I offer a FREE – no obligation 15 minute session to see if coaching is for you.  Email me at sharon@nwmaritimeimages.com for art and creativity coaching. For a spiritual emphasis email info@maritimewithtreasure.com