EarthWalk Journeyer Winter 2001An Interview with Prudence “Angel” Cole
By Rita Daniels
In the six years that I have known Prudence “Angel” Cole I have seen her in many different roles: successful business woman, visionary entrepreneur, loving wife, dedicated EarthWalk Wisdom Council member, and dear friend, to name a few. For many of us that would be more than enough roles to play in one lifetime, but not for Angel Cole.
Now she has her sights set on adding the role of Radio Talk Show host to her long list of successes. Her dream is to turn Work Coaching, the focus of her being@work business that she founded about two years ago, into Drive Time Learning. I find this woman and her Talk Radio idea fascinating, so when I had the opportunity to interview Prudence I jumped at the chance.
You are a member of the EarthWalk Wisdom Council. Tell us something about your involvement in EarthWalk and what originally led you to become interested in it?
It started with a breakdown at work. I was moved from a high visibility position in Plano back here to Detroit and I needed to do some personal work to heal from that experience. I went to Brigette Bowler for chiropractic work and she suggested the Changing Woman Initiation.
That work was phenomenal for me. During the weekend I made a commitment to Divine Spirit to start a spiritual center. Not knowing how to do this I went to Lorraine. The next thing I knew we were planning EarthWalk. With my experience in business it was a natural to be on the council.
What triggered your decision to leave your position as an executive with EDS, a large technology services company?
I had been in a corporate setting for 20 years and had the privilege of being in a senior leadership position within EDS with a highly visible position of redefining leadership for the company worldwide. I just reached a point where I had accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in the corporate setting. One day I went to my superior and announced that it was time to leave. In my heart-of-hearts I knew that it was time for me to let go of my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment and to reach out to a new one.
How do you account for your enthusiasm for working as a coach for businesses and individuals?
I had the privilege of participating in a year long program, “Leading Learning Organizations”, while I was at EDS. During this experiential program I was challenged to see the world through new lenses and new ways of being through the coaching of powerful individuals. Actually, I realized that I often acted as the person who had the ability to see what individuals couldn’t see, and help them distinguish patterns that they were blind to, and to ask questions that allowed them to open new possibilities and to mirror and support their commitments. I love coaching others and people kept showing up at my door.
First there were consultants. Then there were therapists. Now if you need help sorting out your professional problems, you can hire a coach—a new kind of advisor who will strategize with you. How is a work coach different from a consultant, a counselor, or a teacher?
A consultant provides “expert” advice in a particular field. A teacher helps others learn new tips and techniques and methods of doing what they do better. Counseling usually attempts to determine the cause or reason behind the problem, coaching does not. A coach does not need to be a subject-matter expert or a great performer in the activity being performed. What the coach brings is an ability to observe and see new possible actions for the player and communicate it in a manner that enables the player to take these new actions.
When do people need a coach?
Generally speaking people “need” a coach when they experience a breakdown of some kind. Any request for coaching occurs because the person has decided that something is missing for him in playing the business game, either some actions or conversations that he is not able to generate by himself, some issue around learning or some concern in another area of life that is impacting his ability to perform at work as fully as he might.
At some time or another, just about everyone has some issue with his or her work or career. At these times the ability to focus on work is seriously hampered by a preoccupation with the situation. How can your company being@work help these employees?
Being@work provides an option for employees to get support on how to resolve the issue and get back into gear. Basically, we fill the need to have access to an experienced individual to discuss the situation and take action. The focus of the being @work process is to support the employee in taking responsibility for their situation. The emphasis is on helping the employee recognize that the situation can only be corrected by dealing with what they can control themselves.
And now you want to take your brand of Work Coaching to Talk Radio.
Yes I do. I am drawn to being a Talk Radio host. I really believe that I can help people find that work can be fun. And I’d like to have some fun of my own being a little audacious, a little outrageous and from what I’ve been told radio people are “a little bit weird.” I suppose these qualities have always been a part of me! Through Talk Radio, I hope to reach those people that wouldn’t ordinarily have access to a work coach. Everyone deserves to be good at, and feel good about, their job. My dream is to show everyone how.
What facts support the return on investment to companies considering the almighty bottom line?
I am convinced that employees’ productivity can be greatly enhanced if they are supported in taking ownership of their careers. A company’s most important asset is their energy and loyalty of its people—the intellectual capital that, unlike machines and factories, can quit and go to work for the competition. The loss of intellectual capital is just the tip of the iceberg of costs associated with and employee’s quitting. The availability and confidentiality of a coach can assist the employee in thinking through the decision and help identify other solutions to negate the need to leave.
We have all listened to different talk show hosts. Not all of them are “kind and gentle”, some are. Where do you envision your talk radio show on this spectrum?
A coaching relationship always maintains the dignity and self-esteem of the player. The only force allowed in coaching is the force of gentle frankness spoken in a mood of care and intimacy. Coaching occurs in safety, caring and mutual respect.
How does this business purpose contribute to what you are, to what you want to be?
The creation of this business is based on years of corporate experience dealing with issues around employee productivity and job satisfaction—of looking for ways to keep employees engaged and committed to their work. After years of explorations on various solutions, I came to the conclusion that outside of providing an environment which supported and valued the employees, it was up to employees to make it work. By coaching them on how to take ownership of their career, they are in a position to find the work that meets their needs and fulfills them.
How does your business being@work relate to EarthWalk?
EarthWalk is centered on assisting individuals as they seek to empower themselves in search of direction in their life within the expression of their personalities—To find their soul’s purpose. A business coach cannot help but enter into intimate conversations and relationships with those that they coach and cannot help but be privileged to work in that sacred space where our souls are constructed. In a very real sense we are doing that same work in somewhat different domains.
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