Why Coaching?

With so many online courses, work trainings and professional conferences available, why opt for coaching?

When we work in isolation, avoid conflicts, or dialogue primarily with ourselves inside our own heads, it’s hard to change the behaviors that matter most.

The kind of professional development most of us desire happens in the context of a relationship, with a real human being, in real time. Whether you are trying to (a) lead a department or division, (b) master middle management, or (c) give better feedback, the direction and support of a good coach helps you cultivate the skills and practices needed for success. Jennifer understands the Swamp of Overwhelm! She herself has been doused with the Firehose of Expectations.

Approach to Coaching

I help you build essential capacities for professional growth, including:

  • cultivating self-awareness
  • managing emotions
  • leading with empathy
  • tolerating ambiguity
  • communicating clearly
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • developing courage (for trying new things)

It doesn’t matter how high up you are on the ladder of experience; these are the core capacities for anyone working in a school or organization. Many of us spend entire careers trying to master these competencies!

My goal is to help you translate insights into action, practice new skills, and find your growing edge. (It’s the same edge we ask students to find all the time.)

What You Can Expect from Jennifer

I value curiosity, questions, authenticity and humor.

I prioritize meeting learner(s) where they are, which requires an unfolding process of discovery, not a performance evaluation. I want to know about the challenges and opportunities you face at work. I want to understand your experience.

Coaching is not a problem-solving enterprise. Together, you and I clarify the deep, central issues. Learning how to explore challenges from the surface down to the core is itself a valuable skill, one you can use in your own work.

Most often, what you discover at the center of a problem connects back to the human condition, yours or someone else’s.

I help you put your deeper understanding of the inevitable messiness of people working together, into action.

Growth comes when we get unstuck, and to get unstuck, you usually have to do something differently. I will always bring the conversation back to what you plan to do or try next.


  • Coaching sessions take place on Zoom or in person. Coaching over the phone is a last choice.
  • Coaching sessions come in bundles of 8, 10, and 12.
  • By signing the coaching contract, clients commit to completing the entire bundle.
  • The Client or Client’s Organization pays for half the bundle after the first session and half after the last session.
  • Frequency of sessions depends on the needs of the Client and the availability of the Coach. Frequency may increase or decrease over time, depending on circumstances.
  • For questions or updates between sessions, we use email as needed. (Texting is for emergencies only.)
  • After the Client completes a coaching bundle, Client and Coach consider the possibility of continuing, pausing or ending the coaching relationship.
  • Clients needing additional or ongoing support is common. Thorny problems require more work, more practice, more time.

What About Coaching For A Group Or Team?

Excellent idea! See Coaching Circles.

“I have had the pleasure of learning from Jennifer Bryan in a number of ways. She was a professor of mine at the Smith College School for Social Work; I’ve attended numerous workshops and presentations she’s given, she consulted with my school, and most recently, she has been a mentor and coach to me as I expand in my professional life.

In each of these settings, I have found Jennifer to be a most inspiring teacher and thoughtful mentor. She demonstrates an incredible capacity to connect with each person, whether it be in a large room with more than one hundred attendees or one-on-one. She is also able to create a supportive and nurturing space for people to be vulnerable in their unknowing so as to learn and extend their growing edge.

Jennifer is incredibly thoughtful and reflective, with the skills to process a range of questions and comments, and respond fully in the moment. As a mentor, she succinctly and supportively highlights one’s skills and abilities, while encouraging growth where it’s called for. She has helped me figure out small details as well as boosting my general confidence.

I would enthusiastically recommend her to anyone looking for a coach or mentor.”