‘My goal is to help people become more successful—personally and professionally.’
I am a certified, credentialed coach (ACC, CPCC), President of the Ottawa Chapter of the International Coach Federation and a certified Guided Autobiography Instructor (there are less than a dozen Canadians trained in this field).
My focus is on remediation in the workplace and includes coaching individuals facing challenging situations in their lives and work, whether it was work/life blend, future-shaping decisions, personal growth, integration into a new society or job or a myriad of other events.
I have a B.Sc. from Carleton University and have held positions in research science, both privately and with the federal government, in immunology and genetics. I have over 25 years’ experience in public relations, corporate communications and corporate social responsibility nationally in the telecommunications industry. My nonprofit experience includes leading The Hnatyshyn Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing the visual and performing arts in Canada and the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. My volunteer work includes the Ottawa Distress Centre, both on the phone and on the board, the Canadian Cancer Society and the CHEO Foundation.
Is coaching right for you? What if you …
I help you succeed!
* Says, Glenn Llopis in his article for Forbes Magazine entitled Personal Branding Is A Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign: “A personal brand is the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent as an individual; as a leader.”
GPS stands for Guided Personal Strategy. It is a unique approach developed by myself and a colleague, both credentialed, certified coaches. The program is built upon a tried and true methodology; it is serious work that resonates with who one is. The participant establishes a clear connection between his/her values and goals that will fit into THEIR big picture. By setting goals that are tightly coupled with their values, they will advance on the roadmap of their life.
“This GPS journey is a MUST DO to help you find your true north star. An amazing experience that leaves you thirsty for more.”
– Lise B.
“I participated in a GPS Yourself: Find Your True North workshop facilitated, in part, by a fabulous professional coach—Dawn MacMillan Firestone. She is original and creative, and delivers insight that taps into multiple intelligences ensuring you are actively engaged… You come away with an experience that moves you to a whole other level; you find out what is stopping you and what is propelling you forward so you can do more of the latter and less of the former.”
Guided Autobiography is a semi-structured process for life review – the preparation of a personal history. It incorporates group experiences with autobiographical writing and is led by a trained instructor using a tested plan based on a series of life themes. Themes help us gain access to memories and organize them. The process honours the complex threads that shape our lives and helps us understand them as a unique and richly woven fabric.
Writing and sharing life stories with others is an ideal way to find new meaning in life and to put life events into perspective.
Some of the benefits of GAB include: Increased self-acceptance, Decreased anxiety and tension, Increased energy and vigor, Increased positive view of others, Improved self-esteem, Improved self-confidence, Greater appreciation of their own lives and of the lives of others and Improved communication within communities and within families.
Thank you for teaching me about Guided Autobiography. Our sessions have been enriching and have taught me about narratives, finding new meaning in life and putting life events into perspective. This journey comes at a good time as I consider changes to be in alignment with my values.
In the early days of my practice, a senior executive came to me with a problem—he was working harder than ever but making less money and leaving less time for his family. He couldn’t understand why it was happening to him and what he could do about it.
Over the next few sessions, we worked on finding his true purpose—the things he was most passionate about and which made him the most money. We also tried to locate his inner saboteur—the thing holding him back, which, frankly, was not that hard to find.
You see smart people find it easy to pick up tasks as they go but find it hard to let them go. As a result, they tend to become bogged down in urgent but unimportant chores.
In one session, I asked him, “So how many goals, Bill (not his real name), do you actually have?”
His answer, “I don’t really know,” so, for our next session, I asked him to write them down. Turns out, he had 42. 42!
Over the next year, Bill, with my encouragement, got in a lot of practice using the word, “No.”
He whittled down his list of goals from 42 to 5, after which his income tripled while his hours of work stayed about the same.
Interestingly, he also found that he became much more creative as he narrowed his focus to those areas where he was truly an expert. So, his client work, client satisfaction with his work and his writing also improved.
A more productive, happier Bill also carried over to his personal life where his relationships with his spouse and six adult children also improved.
Emily’s employer contacted me expressing concern about Emily’s promotability. Over the past two years, she showed great promise but recently was underperforming and not communicating with other staff members. Emily was one of the senior-most employees and the growth of the firm depended on her ability to let go of her current role and move into a management position.
We agreed on 8 sessions over 3 months to work on the skills Emily would need to succeed in her new role: delegation, time management, emotional intelligence, work/life blend, confidence, work ethic, job satisfaction.
Emily had something in common with Bill, quick to pick up new things, she felt she could do them faster and better and felt frustrated when new employees couldn’t keep up. The more frustrated she became, the more she alienated herself from those around her, including her family.
Over the next 3 months, we explored what was getting in her way; the cost/benefit of delegating for her and her employer; her communication style – learning to WAIT (why am I talking?); how to set boundaries to be more fulfilled; how to shift perspective; how to lead from within. Emily progressed quickly, often coming to our sessions with solutions already worked out.
At the end of the contract, her employer remarked,
“As for Emily, she just got back from vacation and she’s been great. Even before she left … productivity, confidence, assertiveness as well as leadership with the new staff has been great. Not sure what you did but I love it.”
Emily’s employer now considers our sessions an investment in the firm’s future. He has approved an expenditure on Emily’s coaching up to three times a month on an open-ended, as needed basis. Emily continues to progress, is happier and more productive at work and is beginning to apply what she has learned at home.
“Coach Dawn, I wanted to tell you that your life coaching is absolutely amazing. Within seconds, I felt I was getting help. For the past year, I feel like I’ve made huge strides towards reprogramming myself on the business side and growing as a person as well. Now, after one session with you, I feel this relief and freedom that I’ve never felt before. I cannot wait to get started with my new coach to discover and introduce myself to the real Raymond and phase out my inner saboteur.”
– Ray, business owner (name changed upon request)
“The exercises and coaching I got from Dawn were instrumental in getting me to think deeply about what is important in life and my career. They helped me get a visual on my true purpose. These are the types of things that just keep on giving…”