I’m on a roll here with great interviews and this week I bring you Master Guidance Coach Karin Bauer. I first heard about Karin when she contacted me through my website. Shortly thereafter I learned even more about what she does with her Guidance Cards as part of a special Coach U student/alumni message. I recently had the chance to do a demo session with Karin and work with the guidance cards firsthand. It was a really neat way to get out of your head, create new awareness, and get a new perspective on a challenge you might be experiencing.
Karin recently took the time to share more about herself and her guidance cards…
1) What was your inspiration to start guidance cards?
I began painting abstract artwork a few years ago when I was on a spiritual quest. The resulting artwork was close to my heart. In the beginning, I didn’t want to show this personal work to others, I felt somehow exposed. So I kept my art quite literally ‘hidden in a clothes closet’. A few years ago around the same time I came out of the ‘gay closet’, probably not by coincidence, I also came out with my art. It was a huge personal transition.
A friend of mine asked me to show her the artwork, and another friend made a screen saver of my art and then posted it on my website. Coming out with my art was actually harder than coming out personally!
After that, I began showing my art to anyone, even exhibiting it in galleries. Many people remarked how much they saw and felt by looking at my artwork. I realized then, that the artwork now needed to go out there to heal others. The idea of creating the ‘Art Guidance Cards’ came from having seen other cards with artwork on them. My artwork is unique in that you can rotate it and see new perspectives. The cards were easier to transport and thus allowed me to use art with my clients in Youth Detox, Aids Resource Center, and in my coaching practice. Last year, my partner and I took the next step and innovated the web based Art Guidance Cards. Now, the cards are even more visible and are internationally utilized by other professional coaches.
2) How has becoming a coach and/or working with a coach impacted your life?
I had worked with some of the greatest coaches – Tony Robbins for example really impacted my life. He was a great motivator, especially when he coached me to do the fire walk. Other wonderful coaches also encouraged me to start my own coaching practice, live my life with integrity, and to follow my own truth. This led me to go on a personal quest several years ago. To find my happiness, I had to take new risks. It led me to drive 9,000 kms (5,600 miles) from my home in Canada through the United States; to go back to school for the third time; to leave my marriage of 13 years; to go on my first date with a woman (who later became my life partner) – all within one year. How’s that for taking action?
3) What kind of experience do you have/did you have before starting your business?
I come from a family with an entrepreneurial father. As far as I can remember, my dad always had his own business. So I knew it can be possible.
I also must have inherited some of his courage. He packed up his family at the age of 46, closed his successful real estate business in Germany, and moved us to Canada – to start all over. In the course of time, he owned and operated numerous businesses from a gas station, a resort, to a car wash, while my brother and I worked in them.
That’s not to say that starting my own business didn’t feel like taking a risk. I have formal education with a degree in Social Work and graduated from Coach University, but you can never be fully prepared for working on your own.
4) When I had the pleasure of demo-ing the guidance cards with you I was really surprised by the different insights and perspectives that came to my awareness (and I’m not even a big visual learner!). Who could benefit from using your guidance cards and what are some of the different ways they can be used?
Honestly, everyone can benefit from using the Guidance Cards. No matter what your current question or situation, if you need to think out of the box, get a new perspective, or new ideas, the cards will show you something that’s uniquely intended for you. Different ways they can be used: to look at the image and then rotate it, or you can prop a card on your desk and look at for as inspiration. You can use it for journaling, creativity, coaching, counselling, or even to open up conversation with your partner, child, client, or co-worker. There are many different and effective uses.
5) Have you experienced any challenges in your professional life because you are a lesbian?
No. I count myself very lucky. I don’t announce it, but I don’t hide it either. I feel confident and okay with who I am and I think that lets others around me feel it’s a non-issue.
6) What keeps you going on the tough days?
Hmm… I always try and look at the bright side. I ask myself coaching questions, like, what am I learning here? What good things can come out of this challenge? If I’m having a tough day, lots of hugs and talking about it with my partner always help too. I also do a lot of journaling. I still use my own Guidance Cards to find new perspectives.
7) What are your top three measures of success?
– Good relationships – Good health/fitness – Inner contentment/happiness.
8) What is the wildest success story you can imagine for your business’
If Oprah put up my web based Guidance Cards on her website, that would be fabulous! To have the healing artwork/Guidance Cards present in every LGBT community, hospital, hospice, women’s center, health spa, doctor’s office, A&D center, counselling and coaching practice, that would be wonderful.
Whenever the art gives hope to someone in a difficult transition, hardship, loss, grief, sickness, fear, or stuckness, and transforms it into hope and positive change – it’s a success.
9) What brings you the most joy personally?
I treasure my time with my horse. Riding has been my passion since I was a young girl. My current horse is my baby, he is a young, black Tennessee Walking Horse, he looks like Black Beauty. He’s so playful and sweet, when I’m with him, time flies by. My partner recently acquired a horse as well, and when we ride together into the sunset, it’s magical.
More about Karin Bauer, BSW, Master Guidance Coach
Karin is the creator of the online visual coaching tool Art Guidance Cards. Karin’s background includes nearly two decades of personal life coaching and counseling experience. She holds a degree in Social Work (BSW, 1997), and graduated from the Coach Training Program (CTP, 2001) at CoachU. Karin’s work experience includes a variety of settings, such as the Kelowna Cancer Clinic, AIDS Resource Center, Kelowna Family Resources, Youth Detox Center, and Alcohol & Drug Clinic. She has taught meditation and visualization classes, as well as volunteered in a Therapeutic Touch Program for cancer survivors.