Dynamic. Inspiring. Insightful. Visionary.
These are words often used to describe Gail Barker, founder of Stellar Coaching & Consulting.
A successful business-owner, life and leadership coach, speaker and author, Gail is a 5-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award. Gail is passionately committed to supporting individuals – leaders in particular – to live lives of greater ease, while having the impact they desire on the world around them.
Gail holds a degree in Psychology from UWO, and received her coach certification through The Coaches Training Institute in California. She has also completed CTI’s Leadership program, and is currently adding to her coaching toolkit by completing The Great Story Coaching program through Lucid Living.
Gail’s book, What Matters Now: Lessons on Living with Ease was released in 2015 and is available through Amazon.
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My goal is to answer your questions and engage with you directly so that I can determine how I might best support you in moving forward. So tell me who you are, what challenge you're experiencing and what you're needing, and I'll let you know the best path forward.
An Interview with Gail Barker
Why did you write your book, What Matters Now: Lessons on Living with Ease?This book was a germ of an idea for a long, long time. Once I was able to crystallize my long-held belief that life is challenging but not burdensome, I knew that it was time to share that nugget with the world, in a format that was easily accessible. The book is deliberately short – who needs another tome when you’re trying to find the path of ease? – and peppered with personal anecdotes. Feedback has been that readers find it relatable and inspiring, which was definitely my goal.
What do you love about coaching?
There’s something about the privilege of bearing witness as a client – or team of clients – experiences that pivotal “a-ha moment”. It’s that moment when they put their finger on what’s getting in their way, and the light bulb goes off for them. That moment, no matter what it’s in relationship to is transformational. And it’s a privilege that I do not take for granted.
What’s unique about your coaching?
There’s a way that I can see and hear what’s going on for a client, and reflect it back to them WITH COMPASSION and complete presence. My style is such that I will absolutely challenge my clients – but there’s a softness and gentleness to the way that I do so. Rest assured, I’m not a pushover. I do not let folks off the hook. I absolutely hold clients accountable. And, my approach allows clients to look at the really hard stuff, while feeling totally supported and held on their path. I’ve been told over and over again that I have the capacity to hear what isn’t being said, and name it without having my clients feel shame.
Who and what inspires YOU as a leader?
The work of thought-leaders like Brene Brown and Simon Sinek. Actually, who am I kidding: there are so many who inspire me, the list is almost too long to delve into! Maya Angelou, Gandhi, Michelle Obama, the Dalai Lama – these are the “celebrity inspirations” that come to mind. On a personal level, I am blessed to have a cohort of colleagues that inspire me regularly. And, as cliché as it might sound, I am inspired by my children and my husband. Each of them has a way of interacting with the world that teaches me a great deal.
How do you de-stress?
Reading, writing, and walking through my neighborhood are all great stress relievers. I also LOVE having conversations – sometimes deep, sometimes light – with friends. Over the years I have learned to discern who my true friends are and leaning into them for support is incredibly helpful when there’s stressful stuff happening. Being by the water is also so soothing. I can sit on a beach or on the banks of a river for hours. (And if neither a beach nor a river is nearby, there’s also something to be said for an evening soak in our hot tub!)
What are your favourite books?
Where do I start? I LOVE to read! At least once a year I read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, and The Four Agreements byDon Miguel Ruiz. Each of these books helps to ground me and bring me back to that “centred space.” I also love reading anything by Jeffrey Archer (The Clifton Chronicles was an awesome series!), and I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan! (Meeting J.K. Rowling is definitely a dream of mine – to bask in her energy for even a few minutes would be amazing!) And, of course, the work of Brene Brown – she has got ideas that are so pivotal to great leadership!