WBOC LEADING WOMAN: Elizabeth Bessey

By Lorna Oppedisano

Photo by Alice G. Patterson

Elizabeth Bessey had been coaching for decades, but she didn’t know it. Her nearly 20 years as a certified human resources professional armed her with all the skills she’d need to start her own coaching business, EB Professional Coaching, specializing in energy leadership.

“With human resources, it really was a natural progression to go into coaching,” she said. “The best part of HR for me was working with the management staff and helping them to get better and do better and understand where they’re going.”

Elizabeth always knew she wanted to be of service, she reflected. That’s what led her to work in the field of human resources, in sectors from technology to construction to primary health care.

During her career in human resources, no two days were the same. That was one thing that drew her to the work. She also loved being able to help different leadership teams navigate their decisions.

“When you’re in human resources, you’re at the leadership table,” Elizabeth said. “So either I was on the leadership team or working directly with an owner.”

Working in human resources could sometimes be a balancing act, she explained, but she always enjoyed helping people find a good approach to the big picture.

During her nearly two decades in human resources, Elizabeth always kept the idea of owning her own company and working for herself on the back burner — she just didn’t know exactly how that would plausibly unfold or what it might entail.

In the fall of 2016, she decided to take the leap and venture out on her own.

She and her husband took a vacation – during which she had time to disconnect and unwind for the first time in years – and when she returned home, Elizabeth realized that coaching might be the perfect calling for her skill set, drive andpersonality.

She met with a coach she knew through her husband’s job and realized this was, in a sense, what she had been working toward her entire career.

I’d been coaching for years [without] really knowing about coaching,” Elizabeth remembered.

She hit the ground running, going through 300 hours of training in six months, and earned her certification as an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner through Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).

Undertaking that intense training period gave her a chance to experience what she now helps her clients work through.

“One of the best parts about working with clients is that I went through the transition myself,” she said.

While she was armed with a fitting skill set and knowledge from her previous career, Elizabeth had to get used to the challenge of running her own business. She shifted gears from promoting the businesses she worked with at job fairs to promoting herself at networking events. Without that separation of risk, she said, “It’s you and it’s scary.”

Elizabeth utilized business coaching through the WISE Women’s Business Center, which in turn led her to discover and join the WBOC. Interestingly enough, she said, she connected with a number of other coaches through the organization.

We’re all coaches but we all do something different,” she said.

Thanks to some brainstorming, there is now a coaches’ mastermind group that meets at Café at 407, and organization that Elizabeth serves on the board of, once a month. There, they have an opportunity to discuss the nuances of everyone’s niche forms of coaching, from business coaching to personal coaching.

In her business, Elizabeth specializes in energy leadership, focusing on leadership development, emotional intelligence, communication and relationships in her coaching and workshops. With a variety of tools, she helps clients work on their challenges, at a pace based on each client’s agenda and timeline. It’s not giving them the answers, not mentoring and not consulting, she explained.

She usually begins by asking her clients to share what challenges they are facing and what results they wish to achieve.

“It’s the stuff that’s keeping them up at night, that’s what we want to work with first when someone signs on as a coaching client,” she said.

It could be either professional or personal, she said — whatever block they find themselves struggling against, she helps them work through it.

“You’re just partnering with them and supporting them and cheering them on,” Elizabeth said with a smile.

To learn more about Elizabeth and EB Professional Coaching, visit ebprofessionalcoaching.com