WBOC’S LEADING WOMEN: Christine Allen
BY ALYSSA LAFARO | PHOTO BY CINDY BELL
“I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people tick, what makes people the same, what makes people different,” explained Christine Allen, licensed psychologist and executive/personal life coach. It’s this fascination with the human mind that led Chris into her unique coaching career in 2008. “I always feel like I like to learn. I never know all I want to know. So I took a few coaching classes and decided I wanted to launch my own business.”
So what exactly is coaching? Well, it’s really not that different from coaching baseball. Chris works one-on-one with clients, helping them develop a personal skill or goal for the future that can be applied overall in a team setting. She gives encouragement and listens to the client’s concerns. “It’s not therapy,” stressed Chris, “It’s really about focusing on a goal, a way they want to grow or develop toward the future.” She works with two types of coaching, executive and personal. The main difference? Executive coaching is when a company, firm, or organization pays for and sends one of their employees to see Chris. Personal coaching is based upon the individual’s choice to do it, not a company’s.
When Chris first considered starting her own business, she knew she would need to get some help and make some solid connections to do so. “Executive coaching requires a fair amount of getting off my butt and out into the world,” laughed Chris. “As a psychologist doing psychotherapy in a private practice, you really don’t need to leave your office.” Women Business Opportunities Connections (WBOC) helped rescue Chris from the “ivory tower,” as she puts it, and introduce her to these inspirational women that could help her learn the tools of promoting a business. “I think the support generally for women business owners, like the ‘you go girl’ mentality, other people who really believe in you, I think the camaraderie, the collegiality, all of that really gives me more confidence.”
In having such a unique business, too, it’s good for Chris to use WBOC to make connections to women and organizations interested in using her services. “There are actually a couple of business opportunities in terms of doing some training that came directly from marketing, letting other women in the organization know what I was doing,” said Chris. What’s different about Chris’s business is that most people who practice executive or personal coaching have an MBA, not a psychology degree. “The advantage of hiring a clinical psychologist to do executive coaching is that we really do know the science of behavior change, of human behavior,” said Chris. “We’ve worked with people who are really stuck in very maladaptive patterns of behavior. I think we have great skills in helping people develop self-awareness, managing their emotions.”
In regard to her future, Chris wants to give back to WBOC. Once she can unlatch herself from some of her other responsibilities, she hopes to somed ay be on the WBOC’s board of directors or hold a higher position there. She’s currently an adjunct faculty member in the psychology department at Syracuse University, an adjunct faculty member at Upstate Medical University’s psychiatric department, and serves on the governing council of the New York Psychological Association. “I would really like to help women promote [themselves] in a world that is still very much dominated by men,” explained Chris. “As women we need to find a way to have confidence, get out there, and compete with men.”
The WBOC is a local non-profit organization that has been providing support to women and access to innovative events and workshops for 20 years. Whether running our own business, working for an employer or launching a new endeavor, women are connected through their entrepreneurial mindset. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a WBOC signature sponsor that aims to promote a common mission. For information on how to become a member, visit www.wboconnection.org.