I’m Alanna. I’m a coach and a career consultant. I am also a mom and a Senior TED Fellow. (Yep, I gave a TED talk. Three, actually. One of them is on the web; a million people have now seen me talk about dementia.) I’ve been working in international education and development for the last 20 years (I’ve lived in seven countries), and for the last couple of years I’ve been training to become a coach. Right now I’m doing both – I do some international development consulting, and I also have a coaching practice.
Coaching is a partnership between coach and client, intended to help the client find their own clarity. Coaches listen deeply, ask powerful questions, and support clients in finding their own truths. Topics that often come up in coaching include finding happiness, navigating career changes, and work-life balance, but coaching can be useful for any topic that a client would like to examine in more detail.
My special focus is on helping people find their bravery. That may mean being brave enough to speak up at work, go back to school, or ask for help. Sometimes, it’s being brave enough to admit that you really do know what you’re doing and everyone else should get out of the way.
For the last year or so, I’ve done a lot of coaching around COVID issues. How do we live in a world of ongoing pandemic? What can we learn from past pandemics? I have people think through their comfort around risk, their protection priorities, and their short and long-term choices. I never thought my global health background would inform my coaching in this particular way, but it is painfully relevant.
Career consulting is different. Consulting isn’t about helping people find their own truth – it’s about sharing what I have learned, and helping people figure out their careers. I’ve been working in international development for a long time. For NGOs, international donors, private companies and as a freelance consultant. I’ve lived in eight different countries – right now I am in Sri Lanka. I’ve figured some stuff out, and now I can help other people get their careers started or unstuck.
Some people want coaching. Some want consulting. Some want a mixture of both – a whole lot of people want to talk to me about being brave enough to be better at their international development jobs. Usually, I can help. And if I think I can’t, I’ll say so. I’ll send you to someone better suited to you or I’ll tell you that you’re doing just fine already.
Here’s a recent client comment: “Alanna’s direct yet humane approach comforted me. Her knowledge helped me understand my behavior. Her concrete advice helped me develop actionable steps towards managing my emotions and becoming more assertive.”
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