Kim Izaguirre-Merlos

“I didn’t die. I lived! And now I’m telling the world what GOD did. GOD tested me, he pushed me hard, but he didn’t hand me over to Death. Swing wide the city gates—the righteous gates! I’ll walk right through and thank GOD! This Temple Gate belongs to GOD, so the victors can enter and praise.” Psalm 118:17-20 MSG

I’ve been a reporter in a national, chart-topping show on Latinos in baseball for NPR Latino USA that was also on the iTunes featured podcasts page. This stands out because it came from my first-ever radio story pitch. I started acting on my calling and public radio reporting in pro baseball nearly six years ago, after a difficult spine injury in my mid-20s and its aftermath. It was an attempt to figure out how to push play on my life again, to get better, and to keep getting better. I’ve been a radio journalist looking at excellence ever since. Initially, I was drawn to the athlete mindset on injury & pain. So I thought, “What if I use what I’ve learned out here in-the-field to help other everyday people like me who want to keep getting better at something too?” Little did I know that driving question in my conversations with other people, leaders, teams, and organizations would be so powerful and also make them more successful and impactful. So much so that I went into private practice and now have the added bonus of being a successful certified coach based out of Pasco, Washington. What I have now that I didn’t know back then is this: my gift is the structured, results-driven, solutions-focused conversation. And the coolest part is how I do it. I focus on listening on the other person’s behalf and really being curious and genuinely interested in who they are. Asking them open-ended discovery questions at the right time. The result is they can hear themselves and help themselves figure out their own game plan or what their next best step on the way to the finish line is. The approach breaks from the traditional format of going in looking for what’s wrong rather than what’s right or asking leading and judgmental questions. It seems paradoxical, counterintuitive, and often raises the question, “What are you doing?” I’ve done this long enough to know most people don’t like being told what to do or being treated like they’re not the expert of their own lives or that there’s something wrong with them that needs fixing. I’ve learned we’re more likely to act on ideas we’ve come up with ourselves and have control over than ones we’ve been told to do. So this really gets people to talk, open up, and want to help in co-creating the learning process. My creativity provokes honest, surprising, and even uncomfortable conversations. My diversity and originality introduces us to people and ideas we haven’t heard before. Because I like us to discover something new that’s actionable and to surprise us! I have durability, which means my process can be reproduced daily while staying in an in-it-for-the-long-haul mindset. And I’ve got viability because I know how to reach and deeply engage us.

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