Dana Gallagher, MHP, PA
Organizational Development Consultant and Coach
Organizational Consulting Services

Dana Gallagher had been coaching and consulting for ten years when she decided that obtaining a certification in coaching from an accredited institution would be her next professional goal. Dana enrolled at the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, and registered for LifeLaunch™, the gateway workshop to the coaching certification program. There she met Lynn Schoener, who was serving as lead facilitator and Dana’s small group coach for the four-day experience. The two continued their work together, with Lynn as Dana’s coach, over the eight months that Dana was in training.

At the time Dana initiated coaching with Lynn, she’d spent three years off and on working in Tokyo as a consultant. “I became smitten with Japan,” says Dana. “I was bringing skills and perspective and I was learning a ton. I wanted to build a coaching practice there.” This became the focus of Dana’s work with Lynn.

Because coaching as a profession is relatively new in Japan, Dana had obstacles to overcome, not the least of which was fear about whether or not she could build a business in a society where she was an “outsider”. The coaching sessions were initially about overcoming that fear, by clarifying what Dana wanted to create and achieve in Japan, and why. “Lynn helped me nail down the dream,” says Dana. “It’s hard to move through fear of something that’s vague. She kept me from staying too long in any one place of fear. You can wallow if you let yourself. Lynn helped me strike the balance – feel the fear, but ask what needs to happen next,” says Dana.

Lynn honored Dana’s agenda when it came to setting the pace for working through the issues. “We were able to effectively segue from the feeling aspect into the pragmatic realm,” says Dana. “Lynn’s ability to go back and forth between the analytical and the intuitive was seamless.” Soon the coaching conversations were about business development.

“The biggest obstacle is that I’m not Japanese,” says Dana. “There are certain companies that want me and others that need me.” Ultimately, Dana decided that her focus would be on creating a learning laboratory to teach organizational development and coaching to Japanese men and women. This involved defining the mission and vision of the new organization, making critical connections in the Tokyo business community, developing a curriculum appropriate to the culture, and managing a long list of logistical details associated with launching a new venture in a foreign country.

Years ahead of her originally imagined timeline, Dana opened a learning academy in December, 2009 in collaboration with Temple University in Tokyo and the Japan Human Resources Society. “I’m not sure I would have hit on the idea of creating a learning lab [without coaching],” says Dana. “Lynn was critical in getting me crystal clear on what I wanted to do. She’s agile, sensitive, kind, and non-judgmental,” says Dana. “And then she has this organized, analytical brain power so that when you’re ready to fire, she can help you with that.”

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