A conversation with Kim Grabovsky, MCC, B.A. Psychology, ORSC
When she realized that she could make a living doing what she enjoyed as a hobby, Kim Grabovsky set aside a profitable career in mortgage banking to pursue a different dream. After 15 years as a coach, Kim has clocked over 3000 hours doing the coaching that makes her spirit sing.
Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC™) is one of the skillsets she uses in her work with highly motivated financial, government and corporate clients. A Master Certified Coach (MCC), Kim holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a Coach University Certified Graduate (CUCG), an Emotional Intelligence (EQi 2.0 and EQi 360) Certified Practitioner, Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) Certified, and a MBTI Certified Practitioner.
In this RSI Concepts in Action interview, Kim speaks about coaching as a sacred space, her fascination with the idea of vertical development, and her belief that a masterpiece waits to be revealed in each of us.
On how she came to coaching
My first career was in mortgage banking. It was lucrative, but not inspiring.
Then I read this book called “The Aladdin Factor” and made a list of 101 things I wanted out of my life. It was really fun, and I wanted to do the same thing with my friends. On the weekends I would sit down with them and say, “Hey, what are some of your dreams? What do you want out of your life? Let's write this down and make a plan.” My aunt said to me, “You know, Kim, that thing you do for fun and for free? You could get paid to do that.”
I looked into coaching as a career. About 15 years ago, I got certified and made the transition into personal development coaching. For the last nine years, I've been both an internal and external coach, working with leaders and executives.
On the 101 things she wanted to accomplish
I think I’ve pretty much accomplished them all. At first, most of the items were materialistic, and then they became more internal and spiritual as time went on.
One of the big ones - when I was in my senior year of college, upon graduation, I wanted to land a job that paid me to learn and travel. I’d applied for random jobs that took liberal arts majors before watching a PBS special on microlending, banking and helping poor people in Third World countries. I took it as a sign that I needed to accept the job offer for a two-year management training program in mortgage banking. Every two months, I was at a different site learning a different part of the mortgage business. So it happened!
On when she's most on purpose
When I'm coaching, the space is spiritual. I can't explain it. I never know what's going to happen and I'm very much in the present moment. Something new emerges and it's an absolutely sacred space.
On her superpower
I love to listen to people's stories. When I got my Master Certified Coach credential last year, I learned that presence is the most important part of coaching. Just creating the space and deeply listening. When I was coached by others who were able to create that space, I felt cared for and acknowledged. I am able to finally do that for others - that level of listening is healing and empowering. Clients give me feedback like - “This is different. Something's different here. I've never experienced anything like this before. You really get me.”
It’s effortless now. Coaching used to be kind of difficult. I used to think, “How am I going to get this person from point A to point B?” Now, I'm just present and solutions and answers emerge.
My clients are usually leaders of leaders - executives and pillars in their community.
On her biggest inspirations
My biggest influence is the Bible. It challenges me, purifies my heart, and helps me to have more love, more forgiveness, more empathy, more compassion. It is a book on how to love others.
As far as my coaching philosophy goes, I really like what Michelangelo said. They asked him how he carved such beautiful works of art out of marble. He said, “I saw the angel sleeping in there, and I chipped away at everything else until I revealed the angel.”
That’s my coaching philosophy - to see the greatness that's within those in front of me. We just chip away at all the self-limiting beliefs that keep them from flourishing.
Inspiration is everywhere. Whatever is in my environment is shaping me. Right now, I’m part of a community discussing adult development theory and the work of Jan Rybeck. She is a master certified coach who talks about vertical development and leadership. She's created some really short, efficient assessments because she wants to scale leadership. I’ve been reading white papers on vertical development, building capacity to look at different perspectives, and just being able to handle more.
On encountering ORSC
Years ago at the International Coaching Federation conference in Florida, somebody mentioned this new training. They had heard people raving about it. It was in the back of my mind, and the opportunity came up to go through ORSC training. My company offered to pay for it, so it was a no-brainer. Everything aligned.
On her favorite ORSC tools
I love the whole concept of the Third Entity and working as a system. ORSC has all of the tools to bring people together to share perspectives. So much is practical for reducing conflicts in every relationship, including detriggering to reduce internal conflicts. I use so much of it just in one-on-one coaching. It has great coaching questions and so many applications.
I use a little bit of everything. I really like Paper Constellations, also Edge Crossing and visualizing what's on the other side.
I use the Designed Team Alliance in every coaching engagement right at the beginning. How are we going to design our coaching relationship together? What's going to help you to thrive? It starts off as a deep coaching relationship because we're already saying - “When things get difficult for us, how are we going to handle it?”
I’ve used ORSC with my family. Last year, we were finally able to see each other after a long time apart because of the pandemic - my mom and stepdad, my sister and brother-in-law, and my nieces. They came up from Atlanta to Virginia, and we rented a cabin out in the mountains. I said, I’ve got a really fun exercise for us before we start our vacation together as a family. I had those Designed Team Alliance cards with all of the words on them. I spread out all the cards and everybody picked the ones with the atmosphere they wanted to create. It was really neat just to see how everyone responded.
When we got to the question on thriving, it was fascinating to hear my nieces say, “I thrive on adventure, so let's do a ropes course this weekend.” How often do we ask them what they want? We just assume. It was neat to see the different personalities come out. Even the commitment question - what’s your commitment to our family this weekend? My stepdad said, “I’m committed to teaching everybody something new about nature that they didn't know before.” It was a kaleidoscope of answers, and one of the best family vacations I've ever experienced because we designed it. It was more fulfilling and meaningful, because we found out what was most important to each family member so that we could thrive collectively as a unit that weekend. We spoke it into being, and created just that.
On creating her own ORSC community
I love to build learning communities. When I did the ORSC training, I wanted to create an environment that would inspire me to apply it regularly to keep it alive. I emailed classmates to ask who wanted to keep meeting every two weeks. We rotate leadership, with somebody choosing a tool that they're passionate about and practicing it. We've been doing that for almost a year now. Such rich discussions happen, and it grows you in different ways.
We each get to explain our own spin on how we're using it, and it’s really neat to see what lights other people up. About a month ago, somebody talked about Quantum Flirts and all the different ways that can show up. You can look at that in so many different ways.
Having a space where people talk about what they're passionate about - it keeps ORSC going for us.
On what's lighting her up right now
Right now, it's the whole idea of vertical development and increasing capacity. What that takes is to be able to hold multiple perspectives at the same time, multiple attitudes, expanding range, and embracing shadow sides. I thought I was going to be high on the development scale, because I've been working on mine a long time. But I'm right in the middle - an achiever, which is level four out of seven stages of development. Typically, achievers are trying to do too much and achieve too much. They're usually out of balance. So one of the challenges is to create balance by focusing on what's important.
Any time I learn something that can grow me, I'm happy, and the application is for the people I coach. I don't feel like I can coach someone else unless I've coached myself through a certain situation. I see this in leaders. Most of the leaders that I coach have the same issues that I do.
Coaching is definitely is a calling. Helping people to be better, helping leaders to build camaraderie and common purpose - it’s a higher calling.
On her heroes
The first one who comes to mind is Jesus. Just his characteristics - the love, the compassion, the humility - all those wonderful things that I aim for and always fall short. So I'm grateful for his sacrifice for humanity.
Andy Stanley, a pastor of a church in Atlanta. I'm constantly inspired by him to to be a better person. Pastors talk about tithing to the church, but he talks about it differently. He says give and tithe to a cause you believe in. It doesn't even have to be your church. Give to break the cycle of greed within yourself.
The first master certified coach demo that I watched was led by Augusta Horsey Nash. Her presence blew me away. She’s been a guiding light for me - whatever she did, whatever standard she's coaching with - that's what I wanted one day.
On her recommendations
I just read Systems Inspired Leadership. It’s inspiring - easier to comprehend than the ORSC dojo, more concise and more practical. You can leaf through the table of contents and jump to the section you need. It's very palatable.
I also love the ORSC podcast, Relationship Matters. Everybody needs to listen to that.
On why systems coaching is important right now
So many reasons. The speed of change in our world is so fast. We’ve got to evolve and adapt. I believe that systems coaching is the way to get people on board, adapting with the speed of change to whatever is out there. Teams are the way to scale and to get things done.
Once you start thinking in terms of systems, you start to see everything is a system. Everyone impacts everyone else, and the environment impacts everything. You see systemic movement everywhere. It’s just fascinating.
Jack Canfield | The Aladdin Factor
Frank uit de Weerd and Marita Fridjhon | Systems Inspired Leadership
John Gottman | The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
Marion Franklin | The HeART of Laser-Focused Coaching
Listening and Watching
Jan Rybeck | Vertical Development in Coaching
CRR Global | Relationship Matters Podcast
Favourite Song | Dirty Heads' Vacation
Want to connect with Kim? Get in touch via her LinkedIn profile.
Want to learn more about ORSC?