Nancy Kalsow

My day job is drawing out the best in others as a coach with Kalsow Coaching & Consulting, LLC. People often shorten this to “life coach,” but I prefer leadership coach. I don’t mean leadership in terms of title or the structure of an organization. I mean leadership in terms of how you show up and how you add value in all aspects of your life. 

So often, life happens to us, instead of with, or even more importantly, for us. It’s easy to go through the motions and let life take over. The routines in our life can be helpful, but they can also be harmful.

My passion is helping clients uncover who they are at their core, so that they can be the best at what they do at work, home, in their community, in social groups and for themselves. I also provide services at an organizational level—like lunch and learns and group coaching. I offer a six-month development experience called Unleash Your Inner Leader that combines private coaching with group coaching.

By watching and supporting people as they develop in their career, I’ve seen each of us can have two sides: the side that knows who we are and what we can do, and the side that questions that and gets in our way.

It requires being very attentive to what a client has experienced and helping them uncover patterns that are helping and or deterring them from where they need and want to go.

I believe we all have this internal leader with beliefs and experiences that are important to share with the world. When we learn who we are at our core and accept and acknowledge our strengths, that allows our organizations to be diverse in talent.  

One of the biggest soft skills people miss out on is vulnerability. When we make mistakes and take the time to go deeper into what was behind that task or project, we learn. We might stop thinking there’s only one way to do something or that we have to do something because it’s “always been done that way.” When we look at what we learned, that’s our biggest gift and opportunity.

A big part of my coaching is what I call “get real”: Reflect, Empower, Act and Live. Reflect on who you are, your experiences. Engage, learn and move through them. Learn to be a leader in whatever role you’re in, as a parent, at your church, your network group, your department or your company. Or maybe just being the leader of yourself—we forget we lead ourselves.

I’m so passionate about this because I’ve had the good fortune to have grown up in a loving family—one where I had the luxury of a loving and secure childhood. I know a lot of people weren’t blessed like that.

I was also fortunate to spend the first 26 years of my career in an environment where it was all about service to others. Our individual strengths and talents were how we added value to our members. This was in the credit union industry at what is now Summit Credit Union.

There I was in an environment where authenticity was valued. It was understood that you need to know who you are and what you represent before you can give good service to your organization or your clients. When you believe in yourself and in your organization, you can flourish.

My most memorable caffeine story is the process that turned me into a coffee drinker.  I disliked even the smell of coffee in the grocery aisle. I used to drink soda for breakfast but realized that wasn’t very healthy. So, I learned to like coffee by starting with steamers. Then I transitioned to cappuccinos and then moved on to coffee with cream. I love coffee these days and always start my day with a cup.

My current caffeine of choice is a dirty chai latte with oat milk. I’ve also been known to put out a bowl of peanut M&Ms—“for my co-workers”—and then eat the whole bag myself! Chocolate is my all-day caffeine of choice.

My favorite place for caffeine is my neighbor’s kitchen. She has one of those fancy coffee machines and makes me a delicious latte. The conversation provides another layer of energy.

The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with would be my dad and my grandma. Last year, I published a book, “Acres of Life,” which is a memoir for my dad about growing up on a farm and the lessons I learned.

I published my book in 2019, thankfully right before my mom died so she had a chance to read it. My dad passed in 2007, so he didn’t get that opportunity.

I’d love to share my book with my dad and grandma, while sitting in our family farmhouse to reflect on what I wrote about their lives and hear what they thought about it and anything else they’d like to share. I wonder about the stories I missed. I’d love to hear more about their outlook on life. I wish I could get their advice, knowing where I am today and what I have a passion for in my heart. What gifts they would give me!

If I could add others to my table, I’d pick Jay Shetty. He has a podcast, “On Purpose,” and wrote the book “Think Like a Monk” about the three years he lived with monks. There’s a spiritual side to him that resonates with me.

I’d also love to have coffee with Brené Brown and Ellen DeGeneres. They’ve demonstrated the ability to show up as who they are at their core. And they have brought light to the fact that we’re all human and all have the right to be given equal opportunities. I’d love to share their experiences and hear their stories. 

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  Acceptance and belonging for everyone.