Coaching has become a rising trend. This is especially true in current times, where business owners and managers are eager to boost the productivity of their employees. Many people generally also find in themselves the need to remain motivated amidst an economy that often seems to be working against their success.
As such, many struggling companies have turned to coaches in the hope of achieving growth.
For Bobbi Kahler, an acclaimed coach who can be credited for the success of so many Fortune 100 companies, the key to effective coaching lies in experience and a trusting relationship.
“Coaching is at its most effective when there is a trusting relationship between the coach and the coachee. This is backed up by years of research and by my own personal experience in coaching more than 3000 people over the years.”
It’s important here to see how a coach’s experience and background in their field of expertise really play a hand in pointing companies to the road to success. And none know of the importance of applicable life experience more than Kahler herself.
An Exercise in Adversity: Bobbi’s Difficult Years Growing Up
If anybody knows what it is to beat the odds in the face of adversity, it’s Bobbi Kahler. Born in Illinois and raised in Missouri after the age of 12, Bobbi was a small-town girl who knew the value of hardship. She balanced her schooling life with work on the farm.
When she was five, she was diagnosed with a severe speech problem. Her pathologist believed she would never recover – but her mother refused to accept it as the truth. “Never let someone else tell you what you can or cannot do,” she told Bobbi, and Bobbi took this to heart. They worked together, the pain of attempting to overcome this speech impediment lasting for years.
Her blood, sweat, and tears also earned her the winning prize in the speech division of the Miss Missouri Teen Pageant in 1983. Bobbi had also gained the support of some teachers, particularly one Mr. Jordan who (as she recalls fondly) invested his confidence in her capacities. He encouraged her to join the speech and debate team in school, and from there Bobbi gained a new platform for further practice.
Despite her growth over the years, Bobbi only considered herself to be free of the grip of her speech impediment by the time she turned 25.
Where There is a Will…
Speech impediment aside, Kahler faced new challenges as she progressed through her lifetime. As a teenager, she was discouraged from going to high school as her mother didn’t believe in such a necessity. Kahler had to fight for her dream to graduate from high school.
But her dreams of education were cut short at the age of 18. She was expected to move out and support herself. She got into management at Wendy’s and McDonald’s, where she excelled.
“It was a great learning experience,” Kahler recounted. “But it was really hard to make ends meet.”
Watching her old high school peers return from college stirred up Bobbi’s old desire to go to college. She decided to move back to Illinois in the hopes of better opportunities that could pave the way for her financially. There, she got a job at a law firm.
Career options weren’t the only things to stand in her way. Bobbi endured difficulties in her relationships, one of which was her relationship with her mother. On one hand, her mother was a pillar of support in getting her through her speech impediment. But on the other hand, her mother displayed abusive traits at times. Kahler also got married at the age of 21, but they both soon realized that they were too young to build a life together. To this day, the two remain friends.
Kahler also struggled with a long-term relationship with a boyfriend. It wasn’t a healthy relationship; after they broke up, Bobbi discovered that he had been stalking her. As such, she left the home they built together and moved to Chicago for a promising future.
Through her relationships and growing pains, Kahler learned to build her own character. She learned to be self-sufficient and to draw boundaries. Most of all, she learned to believe in herself.
“Sometimes you have to believe something is possible even if you don’t know how to get there,” she said.
Making Way for New Beginnings
Bobbi’s move to Chicago brought several new changes. For one, her new job at a law firm in Chicago allowed her to go to community college, where she graduated with a 4.0 whilst juggling her day job.
She also met the love of her life, Rick. The two developed in their dreams for the future and as such decided to move to Portland, Oregon. There, they started a small business aimed at providing coaching services for other small businesses.
This venture was, to say the least, difficult. They succeeded where the growth of their business was concerned – but there was a price.
Bobbi’s health soon began to deteriorate immensely.
They searched for years for doctors who could diagnose the problem. One doctor looked her in the eye three months before her wedding in 2005 and said, “Here’s your choice: if you don’t quit this business, you won’t be alive to see your wedding.”
It was her life or the business. And so, Bobbi made the painful decision of putting her fruits of labor to rest while she spent a handful of years recuperating.
But this wasn’t the end for one with Kahler’s steel spirit. She took the opportunity to pursue her master’s degree in Positive Organizational Development, graduating with flying colors in 2010. She also braved a new phase in life in 2008: she started to delve into training and coaching corporations with ASLAN Training and Development.
Kahler’s career began to flourish. She built a reputation as a top consultant at the company, quickly becoming a favorite among clients. She proved to be an invaluable member of the team and for almost a decade, the company has secured its position on Selling Power’s list of ‘Top 20 Sales Firms’. She also branched out in pursuing her own sales projects, but her passions lay more in coaching than in making sales.
Kahler and her family moved to Colorado several years ago. Today, she prioritizes being physically active, placing significant importance not only on career development but also on one’s own health and wellbeing. On her prospective future and her direction as a coach, Kahler affirms: ”It’s time for a new challenge of bringing what I know from my own personal transformations, my studies, and my professional experience to provide life coaching.”