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 Why coaching?
 Values + Ontological Coaching
 How does coaching work best?
 How do I get started?
 Current Workshops and Adventures


Why Coaching?

  • leading a creative, cohesive team producing a healthy profit while positively impacting the world.
  • working very hard on what matters to you and relaxing and renewing.
  • communicating with openness and ease with colleagues, clients, your family and friends.
  • finding and following your passion even in the face of fear, inevitable challenge and the unknown.
  • responding to difficult situations with integrity, clarity and poise.
  • defining 'failure' as a 'learning opportunity' and capitalizing on it.
  • creating joy in your life, everyday!

Why coaching? These personal and professional imaginings, and others, need not remain illusive, stress-inducing longings. They can become reality—yours. How? Perhaps surprising, it does not begin with doing things differently. Instead, it begins with articulating your values* (see definition below) from a non-judgmental, open, curious perspective.

Dana will help you articulate your current values with queries such as: Why and how are you taking care of yourself—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? How do you feel about the current quality of your relationships? What is currently making your life meaningful?

Professionally speaking, consciously living from one's values is essential for everyone, particularly those in leadership positions. For they are, by virtue of their position, both a role model and the one who drives an organization's culture. A values-focused leader propels those within the organization to maximize their skills and commitments while creating products and services that positively impact the world (including such things as 'green' production, fair-wage practices and helping those less fortunate).

In order to help you identify your key values, Dana will help you articulate: What's driving you? What is your leadership style? How effective is it in creating a cohesive organization and attaining desired results? What does your style of collaboration and interactions with clients and colleagues reveal about your values regarding such relationships? How about work/life balance—what part does it play in your life? What inspires you to dedicate your time, financial resources and expertise the ways you do? Personally and professionally, are your current values—as evidenced by who you are and what you do—in alignment with who you want to be and what you want to accomplish and enjoy in your life?

Once your current values are identified, a creative, opportunity-laden process begins! Rather than continuing to live your life from a too-often unconscious place of habit (like many, if not most of us unfortunately do too much of the time), Dana will help you tweak, omit and add values that will enable you to both be the person you want to be and identify, strategically plan and take actions towards values-based goals you want to reach. She will also help you build strategies to keep you connected with your chosen values. Hint: asking yourself on a regular basis: Am I offering and receiving joy?

A practice of conscious living has a life-long ripple effect both personally and professionally. Knowing WHY one is being and doing—catalyzes energy, satisfying actions, gratifying interactions and joy. Regardless of your goal(s), the only thing you need to bring to coaching is a desire to minimize what is blocking you in order to maximize your personal and professional life. Ready to explore? Try out a complimentary, introductory session: Contact Dana at: dewhitaker@openingeyes.net or 510.919.2944.


Values + Ontological Coaching

One's values forms the basis of who one is. And together, one's emotions, language and body are what in ontological philosophy, make up one's 'way of being' (see Newfield Network.com). One's way of being is an individual's perception of her/himself and the world, thus the place from which any action is taken...or not. One's way of being reflects, conflicts with one's current values or inspires new values to be adopted. For example, one of Dana's values is helping others maximize their potential. In 2002, the manifestation of this value shifted from working with inner-city students to highlighting the magic of impoverished women using microfinance to pull themselves out of poverty around the world. She decided that writing a book based on interviews and photographs was the best medium. During the three and one-half years of the project, Dana's emotions went from elation to frustration. She was often up until 2am writing and rewriting after a day of minimal progress. From time to time, she wondered if she had the ability to get to the essence of these women's lives in words and on film, thus honoring them and hopefully inspiring eventual readers to get involved in helping end poverty. Whenever her way of being was low or exhausted, it was her underlying value: helping others maximize their potential, that inspired and motivated her to keep going, despite the challenges that this project (like life in general) entailed. In the same way, Dana will help you understand your way of being so that you live in alignmnet with your own values.

Specifically, Dana will help you discover and fine-tune the:
  • language you use about yourself and your circumstances, and what you say about and to others that helps or hinders you from being the person and attaining the goals or having the relationships you desire
  • moods and emotions that drive or inhibit your ability and/or desire to perceive, thus act on new possibilities for your life
  • body you inhabit and how effectively you sense your own physical cues and messages and send physical messages to others

As serious as shifting one's way of being is in order to achieve desired goals, coaching comes from a place of wonder, of curiosity, of lightness. This deliberate tone unleashes potential (both internal and external) that a static or stressed way of being, somberness, or needing the answer right now often inhibits. It promotes open-minded questioning, experimenting with and practicing new ways of being, interacting, and taking action in service of one's defined values. And 'failure' becomes redefined as an 'avenue of learning.' As important, effort and growth are celebrated!

Ontological coaching is process and results oriented. So, using laser-sharp strategic questioning, pinpoint assessments and encouragement, Dana will help you gain clarity about each goal, its motivators, and what internal shifts and specific steps are necessary to manifest that positive, sustainable internal and/or external change in your life. It is not uncommon to discover that as one lives more and more from a place of self-awareness, that each goal is selected and (re)designed in alignment with one's values.

*Borrowing from Brian P. Hall's definition of values: "Values are the ideals that give significance to our lives, that are reflected through the priorities that we choose, and that we act on consistently and repeatedly...they are designated by special code words in the spoken and written language...and experienced through our feelings and imagination." (Hall, Brian P. Values Shift. Resource Publications, a division of Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR 2006:24).


How does coaching work best?

Discovering your true motivations (values) and learning and implementing unfamiliar practices in order to develop desired attitudes, actions and habits require fine-tuning, support and accountability. Therefore, as an individual or a group, substantial, sustained growth is optimized through a series of sessions. The length of the coaching engagement is discussed at the initial session and may be reassessed if deemed necessary during subsequent sessions. Individual sessions typically run 60 minutes. Group sessions (for project teams, managers, leaders, industry or special interest groups, etc.) vary depending on the scope of the stated goal(s), but typically run 1-3 hours each. Coaching engagements may also be arranged combining whole group plus individual coaching for some or all participants. Coaching may be conducted in person, over skype, webinar, via phone or any combination that is most conducive to maximum learning and results.


How do I get started?

It's simple. Contact Dana (dewhitaker@openingeyes.net or 510.919.2944) to arrange a complimentary, "Give Coaching a Try" sample session. We'll discuss your goal(s), and address any questions you may have about coaching—at no cost.

When you invite Dana to partner with you as your coach, you will receive vigilant help in distinguishing and minimizing attitudes and actions that distract, block or exhaust you while maximizing attitudes and actions that enable you, in your own unique way, to generate truly satisfying successes, energy, ease and joy.

Depending on your desired outcomes, Dana will guide you as you define your (and your company's) values, outline measurable goals, pinpoint and set priorities, design and implement efficient work flow strategies, enact healthy boundaries and harmonize your work with your personal life.

  1. You will be sent an Opening Eyes Coaching Agreement to review and co-sign with Dana after any questions or concerns you may have have been satisfactorily addressed.

  2. You will also be given a Getting Started Questionnaire to help you clarify an area(s) you'd like to explore, develop and/or achieve. The questionnaire also lets Dana know a bit about you, your background, and what style of interaction works best for you.

  3. A schedule is set up and coaching begins!

 Read Praise for Dana's Coaching