How Understanding Adult Development Can Set Women Up For A Hopeful Future – with Carolyn Coughlin

Carolyn Coughlin - adult development - Blog

Adult development is a fairly new field of study that is providing a ton of insight in terms of how we continue to develop as we move through adulthood. My guest today is Carolyn Coughlin, a very accomplished woman who has studied extensively in the realm of adult development. She applies what she’s learned to the coaching and consulting she does as well as in her own life as the mother of two daughters. In this conversation, we discuss what adult development is, how it is significant in understanding our own growth, and how coaches, leaders, and women, in general, can use the understanding of A.D. to facilitate teamwork, hope, and growth in their own lives. It’s a great conversation so I hope you’ll join us.

What IS adult development and why is it significant?

The concept of adult development may be new to you but it’s essentially the field of study that even as adults we continue to grow and mature. With the focus on adolescent psychology and development that has been so prevalent, it feels like the reality of growth throughout adulthood has been somewhat overlooked. But no more. People like my guest on this episode, Carolyn Coughlin are making great strides in understanding how our growth is hampered and encouraged and what we can do to be more compassionate with others and with ourselves as growth continues throughout life.

Compassion for others often comes from growing up yourself.

When each of us recognizes that the stages of growth we go through are common to all people we’re better able to bear with others and express compassion for the journey they are navigating. It’s an essential area of growth for every person and is one of the things that leaders need to grasp and apply in order to work with teams in a way that is energizing and empowering. On this episode, Carolyn Coughlin describes how adult development impacts leadership – and what she had to share provided some “aha” moments for me that I think you’ll appreciate. Take the time to listen.

When you understand that your current frustration is a stage of growth, you can let the pressure off.

As women, we are so hard on ourselves. We’re used to taking care of everyone, keeping our own life running, and feeling like we’re going to let people down if we don’t. But what happens when we reach the stage where the strategies we’ve always used to keep life flowing smoothly fail to work? What does it say about us? Or is there something else going on that has to do with our stage of growth in life? Carolyn Coughlin, my guest on this episode says it’s not that we’re failing but that we’re changing – and I think you’ll get a lot of encouragement by listening to how she explains the changes we all face as we “grow up” into adulthood.

What do we women have to look forward to as we age?

In a culture as obsessed with beauty and youthfulness as ours, it’s difficult to believe that there are any benefits that come with age. But my guest on this episode, Carolyn Coughlin says that one of the things that is ahead for all of us, almost universally, is a greater capacity for compassion. In our conversation, she describes how that trait has pleasantly surprised her and how she believes it can help women get out of the “youth” mindset and embrace the beautiful reality of where they are headed as a woman. I found it very encouraging. I hope you do too.

Episode Highlights

  • 1:04 – My introduction of my guest on this episode, Carolyn Coughlin.
  • 2:26 – What is adult development and why is it important?
  • 7:25 – How leadership is impacted by the realities of adult development.
  • 11:50 – Is there a beginning of adult development and how we should think about it?
  • 13:50 – The different stages of adult development.
  • 26:44 – How the developmental stages impact leadership and career growth issues.
  • 29:45 – The benefits to your own growth of understanding the developmental journey.
  • 34:07 – Obstacles to overcome and the impact of adult development for women in particular.
  • 40:00 – The integration of adult development and the way women think of their bodies.
  • 43:17 – What do women have to look forward to with aging?
  • 46:42 – Where you can find Carolyn online.

Resources & People Mentioned

1. Favorite book for women?

2. Favorite self-care hack?

  • Spend as much time as possible outside.

3. Best piece of advice and who gave it to you?

  • Carolyn’s friend and Co-Founder Jennfer Garvey-Burger once said to her (after a fairly modest appraisal of her own skills), “Is THAT the best you can say about yourself?”

4. Female CEO or thought leader you’re into right now?

  • Gloria Phelps, because of the amazing things she is doing in the world.

5. One piece of advice you’d give your 5 years younger self?

  • “As a parent, don’t try to compensate for the kind of mothering you think you didn’t get enough of. Show your daughters how much you love them and who they are.”

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