Case Study: Julia Shanks


Q:  What was the problem/situation which drew you to Coach DQ’s services?

A: I was in the midst of a career change. I had been working as a chef for fifteen years. I knew I didn’t want to cook anymore, but I still wanted to stay in the food industry.  I had been struggling to figure out what my next steps were.  By default I was falling into the world of “consulting,” and  I didn’t want that. To me, consultants help other people create things, but don’t actually have anything to show for their work.  I wanted to start a business where I actually created something.
Q: What specific issues did you hope to address during your coaching sessions?

A: I wanted to have a clear vision of what I wanted to do with the next phase of my career.
Q: What was the best part of the coaching experience for you?

A: Having someone hold me accountable to making progress was very valuable. Each week, I make a commitment to certain tasks which I will complete before our next coaching call. Knowing that I will have to check in helps me push myself a little harder.
Another great benefit is having someone to help me outline action steps.  One of my challenges is that I know where I want to be in the end, but I don’t necessarily know how to get there (or, more often, I get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task).  Dawn really helps me break down the process into more manageable actions steps.
 Q: What was the most challenging part of the coaching experience for you?

A: Just as above: having someone hold me accountable to making progress.
Q: Was the issue you originally intended to work on resolved through your coaching sessions?

A: Yes, and no.  As we worked together to figure out my next career path, Dawn and I did some exercises around discovering my ideal work situation.  While I was really fighting the idea of being a consultant, it turns out that consulting was really where I wanted to be in terms of the work I most enjoy and the work-life balance it provides me.  One of the issues I resolved was coming to terms with the fact that I am a consultant—I enjoy the work, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I still don’t have a concrete product to sell, but I’m working on it.   Over the course of my work with Dawn, I have tried out several ideas—most of which haven’t panned out.  But I’m currently working on several products that I think have potential, including a mobile phone application that’s on an offshoot of the CSA cookbooks I’ve been ghostwriting for farms ( and presentations which I can offer at industry seminars and conferences. It’s still too soon to say if I can monetize them, but I’m hopeful.
Q:  What was the outcome of your work with Coach DQ? Did it meet your expectations?

A: I’m still a work in progress. I’m still developing my consulting practice and my products, but I do feel I’m on a much clearer path to what I want to be doing.
DQ definitely met my expectations.  I’ve worked with many coaches over the years, some with greater success than others, and I definitely felt I made solid progress while working with Dawn.  Her style is a great balance: she pushes me to figure out what I want to do, but also jumps in with concrete ideas on how I might help myself.  Her high energy is contagious and keeps me on my toes.