Who Is Chris Sier?
My Drama Story
October 10, 2000, was not only the worst day of my life: I was sure it would be my last!
While technology has given us amazing opportunities and an incredible quality of life, it has also created a work environment that can suck the life right out of us! I had been working in IT for about 20 years in government, manufacturing, and automotive areas. A normal day was fast paced, always a deadline to meet, and long hours. A typical workweek included weekends when needed (which was usually the case). If there wasn’t a project for you to work on, you were placed on the bench. If you were on that bench for too long, you were let go.
I needed to feel secure and recognized for my efforts; and I believed to achieve that I had to constantly strive to excel and take on more and more projects (perfectionist in the making). Relaxing was not in my vocabulary. In fact, I felt like I was running a marathon that never stopped. I thought I could run that marathon without rest, with constant stress, and I would survive. You can only do that so long, but then I believed that could happen to other people, not me.
My last project was a doozy. It required massive changes to our processes and how we worked, adding considerable, additional documentation, while keeping the same tight deadlines. If we were not successful, we stood to lose a major portion of our billion dollar plus contract with a Fortune 200 automotive company. Tension was high, and we worked massive amounts of overtime to pull it off.
I was working 24/7. I was overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed. The long hours were taking their toll. My brain wouldn’t shut down and I couldn’t sleep. I drank gallons of coffee and ate lots of carbs and sugar to keep going. I was cranky and really, really stressed. When I was stressed, my shoulders would hunch up. During that time, you would have thought my shoulders were earrings because they were level with my ears! This went on for months.
On Tuesday, October 10, I went to my weekly meeting, and was horrified to find I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying. It was just noise! I quickly left work saying I was sick (Oh boy! That was an understatement!). While driving home, I did something I had never done before: I fell asleep behind the wheel—not once but twice, narrowly hitting other cars. My foot went heavy on the accelerator, and I found myself speeding at 90 MPH. Jerking myself awake, I realized I couldn’t control my body. I was exhausted; and I prayed to God that if I made it home alive (and didn’t kill anyone), I would change how I lived my life.
I took a six-week stress leave, and it took about four weeks into my leave to finally relax and begin to reflect on how I got to this point. I was at rock bottom, and the only way for me was up.
Time To Change
I realized that my old way of doing everything wasn’t working for me, and actually slowly killing me (if I hadn’t actually killed myself or others on that fateful day). I knew there had to be a better way. I wanted work to be a part of my life; not be my life.
A friend told me about coaching. I was intrigued, and I hired a coach who helped me see my life through a different lens. The amazing thing was as I incorporated new work habits, strengthened boundaries, and discovered my untapped potential, my performance rating shot up through the roof. I did so much more by focusing on the right things to accomplish my goals, rather than trying to do everything. I was always a hard worker, but the quality and depth of my work increased exponentially. Now, I was relaxed and calm, not stressed and cranky. People began to ask me how they too could create the same work experience for themselves.
I Found My Purpose!
Coaching is a science and an art where a coach asks questions that help a person reflect on what they want to achieve, look at challenges from different perspectives, and consider actions to take they hadn’t considered before.
I knew this was what I wanted to do. To assist my clients to the best of my ability requires me to continue to grow into the best version of myself. I went to Coach U, and I continually take new classes having accumulated 300 plus hours and counting of coach specific training, because I wanted to coach others on how small adjustments can create major changes in our life. I earned my Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential from the International Coach Federation in 2008 and a Board Certified Coach (BCC) credential from the Center for Credentialing and Education in 2012. With my business and data processing background, coupled with a Bachelors from Central Michigan in Community Development, with a minor in Psychology, and my coaching credentials, I am able to assist my clients in seeing their challenges through a different lens as well.
Small Changes, Big Results
My fellow employees were as stressed as I had been, with many taking stress leaves too. From my own experience and change in perspective, I knew that developing simple, productivity habits, anyone can work less, produce more, and maintain high quality; and I wanted to share that with my fellow colleagues. I began writing a monthly newsletter, called “Choose Your Focus”. My company’s Learning and Development Organization liked it, and it became available to 100,000+ employees, sharing practical advice on how to succeed as a peak performer in an aggressive business environment and still have a life.
I continue to learn how the brain can be our friend (after all, it evolved to ensure survival) and how it can sabotage our efforts (it still thinks there is a Sabertooth Tiger behind every coffee pot and file cabinet). By understanding how our brain works, we can thrive instead of survive. I have shared many techniques that ensures our brain works for us rather than unintentionally against us.
Transformation Within Our Company
I discovered like-minded individuals in our company who had become certified as coaches, and we co-developed a Transformational Leadership Coaching (TLC) Program and a Coach Development and Mentoring Program. In addition, using my process experience, I developed the infrastructure and many of the processes needed to run both these programs effectively. As an Executive/Leadership coach with a Fortune 200 company, I worked with hundreds of executives, managers, and business leaders and their teams globally to achieve dynamic business results and at the same time, assisted them to develop more work/life balance.
This was the happiest I had ever been in any job I had ever had.
Hewlett Packard acquired EDS in 2009, and I was downsized. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions! That was a learning experience, and one I can relate to with clients, who have been let go. At the end of 2009, I started my company, Executive Potential Plus.
I have expertise in a variety of coaching areas, such as Executive, Career, and Job Search, to name a few, customizing the client’s coaching plan based on their needs. As I coached many clients, I created a model that is the basis of my coaching process: The 3 C’s – Clarity, Consistency, and Civility. I learned the hard way that we need to be clear on what we want, consistent in our work habits in order to measure results and make changes when necessary, and be civil in good times and during conflicts.
With my experience in various industries, I not only work with executives, but with individuals to manage their career as a Career Coach, and with clients who unexpectedly are let go due to staff reductions using many career exploration and job search strategies as their Career Exploration and Job Search Coach. Having experienced downsizing, I have a unique perspective on how a person feels, and how to turn the situation from a negative to a positive experience.
I feel strongly about maintaining a balance between work and life, and I have presented to various organizations both internally and externally on achieving business success while reducing stress in a changing and stressful work environment. I have spoken at churches and other community venues on the importance of balance and creating your own personal brand, using my three-step process, that informs others of who you are, the value you bring, and why that matters.
I have authored numerous booklets and articles where I share tips on how to clarify, choose, and take action on “the right things” versus everything. My book, Make It Happen! (Simple, Straightforward Strategies for Career Success by Women for Women) will be available in mid- 2017.
A Happy Beginning…
I don’t consider becoming a coach, my happy ending, but a beginning. As my clients grow, I grow as well. It is exciting to see how their insights (those Aha moments) can evolve their thinking into new directions, new possibilities, new growth. It takes my breath away. And, for me, I also see those new possibilities and ask myself and my clients to consider:
Professional Certified Coach
Board Certified Coach
Office: (586) 786-1044
Principles Coach Chris lives and works by:
results matter; people matter more
committing to finishing what was started
thought, word and action are all in alignment; “walk the talk”
is willing to try on different hats, look at life through a difference lens
takes ownership for creating a life and career that’s fulfilling; for what’s working as well as what’s not work
more often than not sees the glass 1/2 full as opposed to 1/2 empty
being efficient is great, but being effective means being efficient at the right things.
aspires to life-long learning, growing and becoming more masterful (communication, attitude, relationships, skills transfer, leadership)
considers “failures” as a means of learning how to do better
Professional Certified Coach Chris Sier brings to the table more than 25 years of management experience in the technology, automotive, manufacturing and government fields. Over the course of her career, she has led in the roles of business development manager, process consultant, and internal corporate coach.
As an executive/leadership coach with a Fortune 200 company, Chris worked with executives, managers, and business leaders globally to achieve dynamic business results and at the same time, assisted them to develop more work/life balance. Feeling strongly that coaching both strengthens and supports leaders, Chris co-developed a Transformational Leadership Coaching (TLC) program and a Coach Development and Mentoring Program. The TLC program received an award from the International Coach Federation and was also presented at the Executive Coach Conference in 2007. In addition, using her process experience, Chris developed the infrastructure and processes needed to run both these programs effectively.