Life coach helps clients with personal or professional transformation

BEHAVIORAL COACH LISA CICCOMASCOLO, MS ’15, lives for the aha moment her clients experience.

“It’s that pivotal moment in the coaching process, when I’m asking questions, and they experience a shift,” says the owner of Intuitive Coaching LLC. She engages with a wide range of clients across the country, from executives to in- dividuals looking to make behavioral changes to improve their personal lives or careers.

One of her greatest challenges is helping clients take that next step. She recalls a former client, a practicing respiratory therapist who had chain-smoked for years. “He knew the dangers of smoking and would tell his patients to quit, yet he continued to smoke two packs a day,” she said.

“He smoked to handle stress. Together, we identified ways to eliminate the connection between stress and cigarettes and identify tools he could use to replace that behavior. In his case, his doctor prescribed a nicotine patch and he also became an awesome student of guided meditation,” she noted.

Ciccomascolo said people often have the desire to change their behavior, but find they are not ready or are resistant to change. She determines where her client exists within the five stages of change: precontemplation—they have no intention of changing behavior; contemplation—they realize they should change a behavior but have not yet committed to do so; preparation—they form an intention and begin to take action; action—they modify their behavior (by di- eting or meditating, for example); and maintenance—they switch the focus from changing a behavior to maintaining or ingraining it.

Using specific assessments and inquiry, Ciccomascolo is able to explore a client’s limiting beliefs and then move the individual to a new perception, thus creating the opportunity for change.

Before she began her master’s degree in organizational leadership at Quinnipiac, Ciccomascolo believed her services fell into the realm of coaching. During her coursework, how- ever, she came to understand that she’d been functioning as more of a consultant than a coach. She learned that there are boundaries a coach observes. A coach does not offer therapy (delve into a client’s past) or engage in consulting (tell them what to do). A coach is an advocate, supporter, and a partner in the client’s journey to change.

“I received a solid education in leadership and was inspired to learn more,” Ciccomascolo says of her time at Quinnipiac.

She later began graduate studies in evidence-based coaching and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational development and change.

“I learned how to hone my listening skills. I learned from management professor Angela Mattie about being a role model from a female leadership position and about corpo- rate leadership from Robert Yawson [assistant professor of management]. What I learned at QU moved me forward in my current profession.”

Ciccomascolo coaches her clients from home or her office in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, via phone, online sessions and in person. She has coached high performers from corporations such as Facebook, Neiman Marcus, Dow Chemical and Com- cast and recently was offered a contract to coach individuals in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense. She is building her global presence by collaborating with a researchfirm in Singapore that is determining future trends in the coaching industry.

Her days are varied. “I could be engaging with a client through texts, researching behavioral studies, or coaching,” she says.

Last summer, Forbes selected her to be a member of its Coaches Council, an invitation-only collection of renowned business and career coaches. She earned her professional cer- tified coach accreditation through the International Coach Federation. She also holds a certification from Myers-Briggs and has a certificate in mediation and conflict resolution from Community Mediation in Hamden.

Career change is another area where clients seek her help. Ciccomascolo finds that many already have an idea of what they’d like to do but have not consciously realized it. “I elicit that answer from them through coaching,” she says.

She remembers a female client who had a business career in analytics and came to the realization that she just didn’t love that field, yet she was afraid to make a move. “She did love photography and was out taking photos every weekend. We created little steps to move her in that direction, not overnight, but determining how she could earn a living taking pictures.”

Ciccomascolo coached her through the steps required to launch a business, and the client is now working on a website to showcase her photos. She is on her way to becoming a full- time photographer. “When you love what you are doing, it’s not work,” says the coach.

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