"Barbara May gave me practical steps I could take to reach my career goals while beefing up my self-confidence. Thank-you Barbara for believing in me!" - Espie Elvez

Would you benefit from learning new ways of solving problems in the workplace such as dealing and communicating with co-workers and bouncing back from mistakes with confidence? Yes? Well, the next time you are stuck in conflict and problems rather than results remember...

Stumbling Blocks can be overcome. And Barbara May can show you how.

If you're like most of Barbara's clients who come to her for coaching, you're unhappy with the results you're getting in your life. Work has been filled with hurdles and obstacles for far too long.

You've tried again and again to change the negative patterns that plague you. You either seem to choose the "wrong job" or you make the same mistakes over and over. You can't seem to figure out how to make things different.

On the one hand, you may feel hopeless and think it's never going to be any different. You sometimes feel like you're destined to trip, stumble and fall. Yet on the other hand, you don't want to give up trying. You want to get past your stumbling blocks. You just don't know how.

And this is where Barbara May's career coaching and public speaking training can help...

"After I launched a weekly feature on local television news many people gave me helpful advice. Barbara May's coaching was the best of all. Everyone noticed an immediate improvement. Barbara removed my TV stumbling blocks." - Dave Lieber, CSP, and columnist for The Dallas Morning News

Here are some objectives Barbara can support and reinforce during your coaching session:

• Change management and accepting change

• Taking initiative and being willing to ask for help

• Moving on and learning from your mistakes

• Handling stress and setbacks

• Communication, collaboration and resolving conflict

• Public speaking and presentation skills

• Interview skills

• Finding a job that's a good 'fit'

"Barbara is excellent at coaching and helping people navigate where they would like to go in their career. She helped me restructure my resume and cover letter and provided practical advice as I transitioned into a new field." - Pamela Jones-Clark

What's the first step?

Call Barbara May. Discuss your biggest stumbling block(s) with her. Then set up a time for your coaching session(s). She'll help you steadily improve your performance, be motivated, stay with your company (or find a better job), and grow as a leader. And, most importantly, get past your stumbling blocks.

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  • In the News

    In a hectic world of all work and no play, life coaches are helping some clients live their dreams.

    St. Albert Gazette, Saturday, February 7, 2004


    Time is Running Out


    In a hectic world of all work and no play, life coaches are helping some clients live their dreams


    By Peter Boer


    Life begins when the alarm clock says so. It's another day of monotony, another day of chores, another day of work, work, work and don't stop until everyone else has had their way with you.


    The idea of bliss is something you only dream about. Kids, relationships, bosses and co-workers demand you attention for the bulk of the day but, from time to time, you slip into a fantasy where life is gentle, where love means tenderness, work means fulfillment and family means warmth. In your fantasy there is a purpose to everything, there is a balance between all different points in your life. There is extra time in the day, there is meaning in work, there is happiness in life.


    A phone call snaps you back to the real world. There is no time for the fantastic, there is no money for change. Any resolution to the contrary yields to the reality of time and circumstance.


    You want change, but where do you start? If you've been asking that question, maybe you need to get yourself a coach. A life coach.


    "When people are looking for change in their lives, they'll often start off with great motivation and great intentions, but after a while it gets hard and they lose their focus," said Bev Baker-Hoffman, a life coach with "Coach Potatoes," a St.Albert-based coaching business. "A coach's job centres around holding that focus when you're having problems doing that."


    The rise of the "life coach" as a profession is a sharp one, reminiscent of the invention of the ubiquitous "counsellor" of the 1980s or self-help guru of the 1990s. While the focus of life coaching centres around the idea of helping people, the differences in practice and philosophy are slowly lending credence to the viability of life coaching as a distinct therapeutic alternative.


    Where counsellors or psychologists are more focused on the notion of healing deep-rooted emotional and mental trauma, life coaches are devoted to helping people deal with and get the most of of life's current circumstances.


    "Coaching doesn't necessarily deal with healing. It deals with life as it happens," explained Laurel Vespi, also a life coach with Coach Potatoes. "Coaching is very much where we are right now and where we are moving towards."


    The services offered by most life coaches are directed at an all-too common clientele, indicative of the fractured work-and-play mentality of the 21st century. Mostly female, mostly in their 40s and 50s, the most common client is one who is spiritually and emotionally "stuck" in a place they no longer wish to be. They may find themselves in loveless relationships or in jobs that have long since lost their appeal. They are people looking for balance in life, a harmony between self-fulfilment and social demands.


    "People's lives slip away from them very slowly and gradually," said Steven Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta who studies social trends. "At some point, they realize they're doing things for everybody else but themselves. It helps to have someone on the outside to give authority to something someone already knows."


    Hoffman described the coaching process as a client-oriented process. Coach and client work together to establish a goal for the client - whether in work, love or play - and assign smaller goals meant to assist the client in reaching the ultimate objective. The coach's role is to keep the client on track.


    "We always pull it back to where your big picture is," she said. "It's about keeping focused on what your agenda is."


    But while the goal of all life coaches may be similar, there are different ways to get there. As psychology can differ in its approaches to therapy so to do life coaches differ in their tactics. Barbara May is a St. Albert-based personal coach and public speaker who believes current belief systems are often influenced by a past trauma. May works to clear whatever may be blocking a client from her success with a focus on healing of the physical, emotional and spiritual selves.


    "I'm a big believer in a holistic approach and you may need a number of practitioners to help you towards your goals," said May. "If you want to make your life better, you can. And you may need a coach to help you.


    May uses a combination of techniques to help clients identify whatever may be blocking them from future success. Voice dialogue is a method that allows the client to interact with whatever belief or behaviour is blocking their performance. May also relies on GeoTran, a language of energy fields and muscle testing that allows May to identify areas of weakness.


    "Your body is a dense field. Trauma can be stored at a cellular level." May explained. "We would clear whatever trauma there is or belief system around that person, then test them again."


    May refers to herself as a tough coach. She believes in working with clients on a deep emotional level, so much so she will turn away clients who she doesn't feel are prepared to do the work.


    "If someone needs 55 minutes of hearing how wonderful they are, that's not the right person," said May. "I'll spend 55 minutes hitting the issues and five minutes telling them they're wonderful."


    Those who are ready usually commit to a six to nine-month course of three to four sessions a month. The results can vary between that of a minor life tweak and a major overhaul, such as beginning a new career or ending a long-term relationship.


    "Sometimes it is a 'rock your world' kind of thing, the realization that this life I'm living is no longer the life I choose," said Vespi. "When that happens, it's about being there to provide support and structure for your clients to make the changes they need."


    The ultimate watershed of progress is not the changes you make to your life, but how you come to feel as a result of those changes.


    "When you start to feel joy in yourself, joy in the world, you know that you have made the change for the better," said May. "We were put on this planet to feel good about ourselves and that's how you know your changes are for the better."

    Talk coach kills jitters. Business folk trust May to make them make sense.

    The Edmonton Sun, Monday, September 22, 1997


    Talk coach kills jitters


    By Kim Bradley

    Business Watch


    Business folk trust May to make them make sense


    She's got more - a lot more - than just the gift of gab. Barbara May, of Barbara May Productions of St. Albert, has developed a way of teaching even the shyest of speakers to talk in public with entertaining confidence and effortless style.


    And she honed that skill while raising two young daughters on her own - Amanda, 8 and Deanna, 5 - and performing an amateur stand-up comedy routine Thursdays at Yuk Yuks.


    "One of the main reasons I went into business for myself was to have time for my daughters," she said of her company that she has been slowly developing over the last 2 1/2 years. "I think that's why a lot of women are starting up their own businesses. I can design my schedule around my daughters." May, 32, says she uses a combination of 15 years of gymnastics coaching experience, a natural ability to connect with people and an imaginary "Rolodex" of funny stories and jokes to mould business personnel, politicians, coaches and even teachers into stutterless speakers.


    No nudes, please


    And the lessons don't involve imaginary naked audiences, she joked. "Politicians have a problem. It's hard for them to let their true personalities come through when they're speaking," she said. "Except for (Premier Ralph Klein). He's all natural and some people won't like him for that, but most will," said May, who has not had the pleasure of coaching the premier.


    "With business groups, quite often the issues are more complex and involved. I try to work with the meeting planners in those situations to customize my presentation to their needs."


    Her clients include the Royal Bank, West Edmonton Business Association, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Edmonton Sun, to name a few. She has also coached a number of high-profile politicians but she wouldn't say who.


    May can be hired by almost anyone or any company for motivational workshops, one-on-one training sessions and, her personal favorite, keynote speeches. She says she uses bold body language, creative theories and entertaining anecdotes to pass on the arts of communicating and problem solving.


    Handshake tips handed out


    May can even teach the secrets of a good handshake. But how the sessions and presentations are designed depends on how May feels her pupils learn best. For example, she says her coaching experience taught her how to distinguish between those who learn from sight, sound or touch.


    That skill is what sets this one-woman-show apart from the rest, she says. "Most of it's trial and error. I offer as much feedback as possible and if I feel, in a workshop, that someone needs more work, I'll make them stand up and do it over." But her skill and talent don't come cheap. "I usually won't leave the house for less than $300.00," she said, adding that her company doesn't make her "gobs" of money, "just a living." Those who want to learn how to chat up a storm without shelling out a fortune may want to check out May's video entitled May We Talk? available at Audreys Books for $19.99.


    It contains several short, but hilarious, clips on public speaking which are also aired every day on Access television. May is currently creating a CD-ROM of her lessons which will be available early next year. Scott Clements, president and CEO of the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority, knows the importance of being a good public speaker.


    The retired air force lieutenant-general knows what it's like to gets butterflies in his stomach and knots in his tongue before addressing an audience - something he's done hundreds of times in his years with the military. "It's not guaranteed that you will have a stellar performance and that can lead to some nervousness," he said. "But if you know your subject well and you introduce as much of your own personality as you can, the audience will sense that." Although he isn't familiar with May's course, Clements recommends taking some kind of instruction before addressing an audience because winging in can lead to embarrassing slip-ups.


    Grant MacEwan Community College offers a one-day course on presentations and public speaking. For $129, students can learn how to prepare for, organize and present ideas in front of large groups without fear of failure. The next course runs Oct. 21. May's next public workshops run Oct. 27 and Nov. 24 for $89 plus GST per person.

    "An interview with a camera in your face can be intimidating and make you feel self-conscious, which I definitely was at first. But that changed after a couple ground-breaking sessions with Barbara May." - Kathryn Kohut, 2nd Runner Up at the Miss Universe Canada Competition