Bonnie Clarke

BonnieClarkThis Coach Doesn’t Yell

This from Bonnie Clarke’s website: “I help people see what they can’t, say what they mean, and do what they must.” In her long career as a personal coach, Bonnie has served people working at high levels: executive directors, CEO’s, administrative physicians, and entrepreneurs, for example, all of whom have big responsibilities and all of whom remain human. That means they’re sometimes oblivious to the results of their actions. It means those they manage might perceive them negatively. It also means they’ve been open to questions from Bonnie, the answers to which have led them to better leadership, less anxiety, and better outcomes. Still, Bonnie refuses to become invested in any specific outcome for her clients. She helps them set goals, and she works hard to ask the most telling questions the answers to which lead them there.

Coaching helps people feel better and smarter and become more effective. Still, Bonnie insists she is not a therapist; rather she’s a framer of great questions who will not become attached to the answers or the outcome.   She says if she has a gift for her work it lies in that ability to sort through exactly how she might help and accept that even perfect questions, properly asked, might not anticipate nor control the end result for her high-powered clients. She expects to continue her coaching work all around the country, as much of it is done by phone.

Bonnie’s difficult childhood led directly to her life as a personal coach. When she was ten, a virus in her father’s optic nerve blinded him (now there’s a cure for his terrible disease). So the family left their Wisconsin home and traveled to Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael. Bonnie was close to her dad. His blindness changed much in the family. Bonnie’s mom suffered from alcohol addiction and never really got control of it. Bonnie’s wish to help, to make things better led her to decide to be an occupational therapist, even though she had no real idea what that meant. Now, looking back and thinking somewhat broadly, that’s just exactly what she became.

Bonnie’s early history included difficult early years. She is grateful for her long marriage to Rich, two sons, two grandchildren and ceramics. She lives surrounded by things she made, and she intends to find more and more time for art as she gets older.

bonnieclarke-statueBonnie and Rich, recently moved to Point Reyes from Marshall. They found a small and beautiful house (by word of mouth) up on a hill with a view of the bay and plenty of room for Tiny, the Leonberger, an enormous hairy dog you might have seen hanging out around town, drawing stares. Tiny is easily as big as a Great Dane or a Newfoundland, for example. And he’s friendly, gentle, and doesn’t drool even if his hair gets long and needs tending. Because he’s nearing old age for his breed, Tiny was suffering from old dog arthritis until Mary Whitney, his vet, prescribed Adequan and it worked! Bonnie says Tiny is now the dog he was two years ago!

Bonnie and Rich have decided they can shape their grand parenting by offering the kids experiences. One great example can be found on youtube:

Please, please take the time to click on that link and watch their eldest grandchild fiddle. Kylie picked up the fiddle at Walker Creek Music camp when she was 6 and has been a student of Blaine Sprouse. She’s just eight!

Bonnie thinks a lot about the possibilities for herself as a grandmother. As the grandchildren grow older, she hopes to find more ways to enrich their lives while protecting her own authentic self. For now, she and Rich are busy settling into their house, including building a big deck for their family and friends to use together while catching a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset over Tomales Bay.  She says that the last few years living in West Marin have been the fulfillment of a life dream, and it’s “getting better all the time.”

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