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The very nature of innovation is to act as if you're on to something, as if it's going to work, as if you have a right to be here. Along the way, you can discover what doesn't work on your way to finding out what does.   —Seth Godin

Coaching is a conversation that clarifies your way forward as a creative being in a creative cosmos.


Our task is not to avoid or eliminate mistakes but to embrace them as essential ingredients in any creative act, including the larger creative act of living a life. As the writer Anne Lamott puts it, "The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really, shitty first drafts" (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, 1994). Yes, giving up rigid ideas of perfection is crucial.


I offer a combination of dialogue and Zen-inspired reflection to help reclaim the center where a natural beginner's mind can free us from limiting narratives and beliefs. Beginner's mind is simply the willingness to be open, to take creative risks, and to trust one's instincts. As the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki once said: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few." 

About me: I'm a fully sanctioned Zen teacher, ICF-trained coach, educator, team builder, organizational developer, writer, parent, husband. I have worked extensively in academia and the nonprofit sector, and currently in business—providing training for colleges and universities that seek to improve student success. My books include Meaningful Grading: a Guide for Faculty in the Arts, and No Better Place: a New Zen Primer. I've published poems, short stories, and essays in numerous literary journals. 

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Selected testimonials

“I have so much gratitude and deep appreciation for the coaching sessions I have with Hoag. His presence inspires trust in me and I feel that he cares. During our sessions he is an attentive listener and asks thoughtful questions; beyond our sessions he shares resources that I find useful and provides accountability check-ins. He helps me think more expansively."


Electra Eleftheriadou, PhD, Educational Consultant, and Equity and Inclusion Facilitator


"As a writer, I cannot recommend Hoag highly enough. His coaching style allows for growth, space, and structure. What an effective structure. Having been coached by Hoag for over a year, he consistently helps me think through educational, personal, and professional writing projects. His deep understanding of meditation and mindfulness practice creates an atmosphere of steady confidence and calm. Thanks, Hoag!"


Brenda Lovegrove Lepisto, PsyD, LP, FACH, co-author of Smith's Patient-Centered Interviewing: An Evidence-Based Method


"I reached out to Hoag during a crossroads in my career. He helped me think through my possible paths forward and ultimately led me through the process of making a big decision, which proved to be the right one. Hoag asks powerful questions and was especially skilled in helping me think through the job application process, job interview questions, and first steps after starting a new position. I can't recommend him enough."


Mark Pleiss, author of the short story collection April Warnings, & Director, Simpson College Teaching and Learning Center

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