Peter – ICF certified professional career and life coach

Life has thrown me a lot of challenges (the kind of challenges we don’t post on Facebook), and if there’s one true thing I’ve learned, it’s that a new life lesson is always just around the corner. I’ve gotten really good at pulling these lessons from life, and I’ve gotten especially good at helping other people pull lessons from their own lives.

My background in brief

I’m a Gen Xer. My parents divorced when I was too young to understand, and my mom moved away before I finished elementary school. Although my home was central Connecticut, I loved spending summers in Las Vegas with my mom and stepdad. Today I see how those two very different environments helped shape me and my worldview.

At 17, I moved across the country to go to UC Berkeley. A writer at heart, I got my first paid publication while in school. I also made my first strengths-based career pivot in school: As a mediocre engineer, I knew I’d be a better tech writer than programmer. That decision kicked off a career that has wound its way through marketing, communications, human resources, employee engagement, corporate responsibility, nonprofit fundraising, and more. But it all started with that first tech writing job.

Between that first job and my decision to go into coaching, I was laid off three times, left three jobs to try something new, built a national reputation in corporate responsibility and employee engagement, got married and divorced, raised two kids through college, published four novels, traveled extensively both inside and outside the US, managed dozens of people, raised millions of dollars for charity, volunteered as soccer coach and scout leader and crossing guard, parented a transgender teen through a suicidal period, and a lot more. I’ve lost people close to me to ALS, cancer, and suicide. I’ve mentored amazingly talented people and been treated to some impactful training. I’ve been quoted or published in lots of places including US News and World Report, Reader’s Digest Online, Money Magazine, PR Daily, Ethical Corporation, Authority Magazine, and even The New Yorker (2nd place in the cartoon caption contest).

My career and my life have not always followed a straight line. They’ve not always gone according to the script in my head. Being flexible, resilient, positive, and opportunistic have all served me well at times. At other times, I should have been more conservative, skeptical, or cautious. Most of the time I figured it out on my own through journaling, introspection, and other tools I learned along the way.

Some of those times, I could have benefited from having a coach. For example, I should have left one job two years earlier than I did, but I was so stuck in trying to improve a bad situation that I missed out on other opportunities. Then again, who knows where I’d be today if I had left earlier?

I’ve always been a career and life coach

I am an ACC level certified coach with the International Coaching Federation (ICF)

In building and managing teams at startups, Fortune 25 companies, and nonprofits, I’ve hired, mentored, coached (and sometimes fired) a lot of different types of people. As a youth sports coach and scout leader, I’ve helped kids and teens learn leadership and life skills. And as the parent of a transgender teen, I’ve talked several other parents through their experience of having a trans or nonbinary teen. Until I got my certification through UC Davis at the ICF, though, I didn’t realize that I was using what are, in fact, coaching techniques. These techniques come naturally to me. I create a safe, confidential, nonjudgmental space, and I work hard to build bonds of mutual trust with people. That’s why I left my job in January, 2022, and started Gray Bear Coaching to be a professional career and life coach.

This is about you, not me

I am genuinely interested in you, and in empowering you to make critical decisions in your own life, according to what’s right for you. My aim is to empower you by helping you connect with your own values, understand your own goals, and find the best ways for you to reach for and achieve your own potential. To the extent that my personal experience can bring value or point you to resources that will help, I’ll respectfully offer those experiences and resources. But in my life, I’ve learned how to make my decisions for my life. Coaching is about helping you make the best decisions for your life.

More about me

If you want to learn more about me, the books I’ve published, the jobs I’ve held, or anything else, please visit my personal author website, view my YouTube videos, or hit my LinkedIn. Or, just contact me and we can have a conversation.

Here are a few of the places I’ve been published or quoted:

I have a chapter in volume 2 of Guts, Grit, & The Grind, a mental health manual for men.

My Top Strengths

In my career and in my training, I’ve gone through and learned how to administer many different assessments and analyses. Each of these can deliver insights and a view into who you are, how you communicate, how you experience and influence those around you. I’ve done StrengthsFinder, VIA Strengths, DiSC (type S), Acumen Leadership Workstyles, Zenger Folkman Extraordinary Leader, Positive Intelligence, HBDI (type D), and several others. (Note that I am not currently certified in any of these assessments, though I do know how to coach individuals and teams using them.) If you’re interested in learning more about any of these, let me know.

My StrengthsFinderMy VIA Strengths
1. Maximizer1. Perspective
2. Strategic2. Humor
3. Positivity3. Fairness
4. Ideation4. Hope
5. Arranger5. Gratitude