About Carol McClelland Fields, PhD, BCC
The Short Story
Carol McClelland Fields works with Change Catalysts who dedicate their expertise to helping their clients create changes they want and navigate changes they never expected to face.
Throughout her career, Carol's work has centered around three themes:
+ Helping people gain clarity about the focus of the work they are called to do.
+ Guiding people through difficult times of transition using her Seasons of Change model.
+ Training other Change Catalysts on the programs she created while working with clients in transition.
Carol's passion is helping Change Catalysts flourish personally, professionally, and financially.
Carol's work is the culmination of themes she has nurtured throughout her life and her career as a coach and entrepreneur.
- Carol's love of nature and the change of seasons and the loss of her father in her mid-20's led her to create the Seasons of Change Model, a set of nature-inspired metaphors that guide and inspire those navigating times of change.
- An extended period of fatigue and her sensitive, intuitive style led her to understand the importance of creating a life and work that align with one's deep nature. Her success in transitioning out of the corporate world attracted clients who wanted to create their own career to align with their values, personal style and preferred lifestyle. Now she applies these same tenets while supporting Change Catalysts in gaining clarity about the work they do. With deep clarity they can then build a strong business that allows them to flourish personally, professionally, and financially.
- To share her work around clarity and the Seasons of Change, Carol has developed several client programs, created several coach training programs, and written several books on the topic of changing careers and transitions. These experiences give Carol a unique perspective on how to guide her clients in developing their ideas organically from the first inkling of an idea to a full-fledged program or service that is grounded, effective, and tested with clients.
Since launching her coaching business in 1991, Carol has made five significant shifts in the focus of her business, each time evolving and refining her work to best express her skills, experience, and passions. Prior to starting her business, Carol earned an MA and a PhD in Industrial / Organizational Psychology from Purdue University and worked in the Human Resource Research Department of a Fortune 100 insurance company.
After living much of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area, Carol and her husband relocated in 2015 to a small rural valley in northwest Oregon. She continues to be deeply nurtured by the quiet natural beauty of the area and the dynamic experience of living in a four-season climate once again!
The Longer Story
Throughout my life I have been known to be very observant, sensitive, intuitive, and adept at being able to spot themes and threads that communicate complex topics. These aspects of my deep nature have allowed me to observe my own journey through various transitions in my life and career. By combining these observations with what I've observed others have gone through, I've been able to organize, name, and articulate these dynamics for clients and colleagues who were navigating similar paths.
Five threads weave through my life and frame much of my work throughout my career.
Most of my cherished memories from my childhood involve nature in some way: from my favorite books, to gardening with my mom, to camping as a family, to listening to ranger talks at national parks, to daily learning adventures involving butterflies, polliwogs, and birds. The change of seasons has always filled me with wonder and delight. My graduate school years at Purdue University were enlivened by the opportunity to observe the change of seasons up close and personal.
Little did I know the seasons would play such a vital role in my personal healing and my transition work! After living for decades in the mild climate of the San Francisco Bay Area, I moved to a rural area in Oregon in 2015. Living so close to nature in a four-season climate reawakens and refreshes my soul!
Most of the changes in my early life revolved around academics, moving from one school to the next in an expected fashion. While I was in graduate school that trend changed abruptly. My father was diagnosed with cancer one year and passed away the next, four months after I completed my PhD, moved from Indiana back to California, and started my first full-time corporate position. Having never experienced such a difficult emotional transition, I was ill equipped, to say the least. I had no notion how to handle the waves of emotion nor the grief I felt so deeply.
To find solace and a path forward I turned to nature. I noticed that the natural world had a number of strategies for weathering stormy seasons and creating new growth on the other side of winter. As I found my way, I noticed how little our society supported people in navigating changes in their lives—whether desired or forced upon them.
Gradually I shared the seasonal metaphors to bring hope and insight to those in transition. These discoveries eventually evolved into my Seasons of Change coaching work, presentations, books, and training programs. Without my father in my life, I was doing work I never would have discovered without his passing away.
While working in the corporate world and grieving my father’s death and several other losses within our small family, I slipped into a period of fatigue. At 29 years old a 10-minute walk would put me in bed for 3-4 hours. Although I eventually sorted out some physical reasons for my fatigue, I also realized that my body was rebelling. The more my intuitive, creative, sensitive nature revealed itself during my healing, the more obvious it was that my body, mind, and spirit really didn’t thrive in a corporate setting.
During my tenure in my stable, respectable, right-in-alignment-with-my-graduate-degree position, my life force diminished steadily. Try as I might, I was never, ever, going to feel at home in a corporate work environment. I was struggling so hard to survive, there was no way I would ever thrive, even though it looked like such a wonderful fit on paper.
My healing had to be my priority. Suddenly it wasn’t so much about what I wanted to do, but about how I wanted to feel while I worked! This put me in touch with nuances of my work environment and life that felt soothing and naturally flowing instead of forced and controlled. I had to step beyond my father’s logical, linear, scientific way of living to find new ways to claim and express the sensitive, intuitive, nature-inspired aspects of who I was becoming. Although I didn’t have the phrase Deep Nature at the time, this is precisely what I was discovering. Finding ways and places where I could be myself and thrive, I came alive in ways I had never experienced before.
The notion of creating a life and work that aligns with one’s Deep Nature has become a strong thread that runs through everything I’ve written, coached, and trained. I want my clients and colleagues to thrive in a world that honors them for who they are. How would the world be different if we all had a knowing about our deep nature and where and how we thrive?
While recovering from my bout of fatigue I knew I needed to leave the corporate world. I became obsessed—asking the same question morning, noon, and night, on a continuous loop. As my quest to figure out the focus of my new professional chapter evolved, my guiding question shifted from "What can I do?" to "What do I want to do?"
Eventually I found Richard Bolles’ book, What Color Is Your Parachute. I worked my way through every exercise and came up with the notion of helping people navigate difficult transitions. This was well before coaching was a profession. I built up my savings account, gave notice at my job, and launched my initial support groups and workshops. Of the three topics I started with, the one that stuck and filled time after time was “Craving a Career Change.” Most of my clients wanted to do what I did—move toward a career that aligned with their deep nature.
Over the years I created and refined a system that reliably gives clients insights into the work that expresses their interests and aligns with their values, personal style, and desired lifestyle. I worked with a full range of clients from CEOs to administrative assistants, from scientists to artists. Most recently I used the program to help professionals discover how to use their knowledge, expertise, and passions to help the planet in some way. My extensive expertise in this field led to three contracts with the For Dummies publisher. In addition, I have trained other coaches and professionals to use my Purpose Clarity Program with their clients since 2007. It is always a joy to hear their client successes during their training period and beyond.
I know the value of having clarity about the work I do. There’s a fundamental shift that happens when you move from searching for your idea to developing your new direction. The obsessive angst and confusion lifts and you are infused with new energy, motivation, and the desire to implement your ideas.
I know the thrill of discovery and the depths of confusion, angst, and frustration that occur when the ideas remain just beyond reach. I have made several shifts in the focus of my business since my launch in 1991: moving from a pure coaching practice to writing books, launching my coach training work (www.SeasonsofChange.com), stepping up to help create a more sustainable world with Green Career Central, and most recently, refocusing my business after relocating to Oregon.
Some of these shifts in my business happened more smoothly and quickly than others. A few of the changes I made on my own. With others I invested in classes and coaching to help me sort out my path forward. Looking back at all of these formative changes in my business, I have gleaned a number of fascinating insights about where and why my colleagues and I have struggled and where and why we have flourished. I share these insights in the Choose the Right Map to Evolve Your Business eBook, the Evolve Your Business eCourse: Discover Your Path Forward, and my Evolve Your Business Blog.
Business Evolution Specialist and Catalyst
The work I do now is a true culmination of the themes that have run through me and my business since the beginning.
I’m thrilled to be working with Change Catalysts—coaches, counselors, consultants, and healers who feel called to evolve their business—to train them in models and programs that enhance their work and help them gain deep clarity about their core business focus and their programs so they can flourish personally, professionally, and financially!