Article by Margot de Boer
Dara Astmann is a certified professional coach and fellow Westchester mom who has helped many women in the Westchester area realign priorities and regain confidence in themselves after years spent focused on motherhood. We spoke with Dara to find out what coaching is all about, why it can be so helpful for moms specifically, and got a few free tips for any of you out there looking to make your own personal or professional goals more of a focus this year.
Tell us about your family and life in Westchester, please!
I’m a Westchester native. I grew up in White Plains and have lived in Larchmont for the past 10 years with my husband Chad, our two children Jordan (10) and Cooper (9) and our sweet, yet crazy chocolate lab Tucker (3). We love the community here and exploring many different Westchester towns for shopping, eating, hiking, dog walking and, lately, lots of travel baseball!
How long have you been a coach, and what inspired you to become one? Why did you decide to focus on moms specifically?
I’ve been a professional coach for the past four years officially but much longer in theory. I have always been that person people come to to talk through their challenges with. Once I hired my own coach and saw the meaningful difference I could make in someone’s life, I was inspired to get certified as a coach myself. Focusing on moms was so important to me because I see so many women trying to do the impossible daily, often with little support. Motherhood brings about so many changes, and while there are a lot of societal expectations and pressures, there is little help and encouragement. Mothers rarely check in with themselves to remember who they are, who they want to be, and how that may be different from 5 years ago or in 5 years from now. In addition to supporting mothers individually, I have created a community for my local clients to come together, make connections and support each other.
How is coaching different from therapy? What kind of successes have you helped moms achieve?
Many women see therapists to focus on mental health, emotional wellbeing, and to work through past issues. Coaches focus more on personal and professional development with a goal oriented mindset. Using assessments and exercises, I ask questions that get you to think differently and become clearer on what it is you truly want. I teach you how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones, removing feelings of imposter syndrome and guilt. My aim is to support my clients while holding them accountable to take action and achieve those goals they’ve always dreamed of (or didn’t even realize they wanted previously!).
The mothers I coach have achieved success in various forms, whether it’s confidently returning to work after a career hiatus, making a career pivot that works for who they are today, navigating the work/motherhood balance, creating boundaries, meeting career goals, achieving their definition of success, finding fulfillment without guilt, and understanding how to confidently ask for what they want.
Time seems to be one thing we all wish we had more of. How can moms work on prioritizing and finding time for themselves and their goals?
So many moms are doing things for everyone but themselves, and fear saying no. This is what keeps so many of us in a cycle of overwhelm. Creating boundaries, leaning on others for help and identifying what’s *truly* essential can help.
Once you have decided what you will commit to doing (start small!), it’s important to put it on your calendar and stick to your commitment. We all know that life stuff will come up – sick kids, snow days, home repairs – that will cause plans to change. That is ok! My tip for that is to decide what a legitimate excuse is ahead of time and to adjust your deadline without guilt if one of those situations comes up.
How have the coaching techniques you’re trained in helped you in your own personal journey as a mom and business owner?
After getting certified as a coach, I became more aware of the control that I have over situations by simply changing my thinking. I had no idea how much the way you view the world directly relates to the happiness and success you get out of it. I now know very well that I can’t control my first thoughts, BUT my second thoughts are the ones I want to be thinking that will motivate me to move forward and bring in the positivity I need to complete a task.
I encourage you to try this exercise. Take a negative thought you have about something. Then I want you to think about a new, positive thought to replace it. This thought should be something that you have some evidence for that you can truly get behind. Now try saying that new thought over and over until you truly believe it. For example, instead of “I can’t apply for that job, I don’t have enough experience compared to the others,” try “I have unique experience for this job and I know that I am open minded and willing to learn.” It’s amazing how mindset shifts like this can empower us to make positive changes in our lives.
Lastly, how can we learn more about working with you?
This fall is going to be a busy one and I have something for everyone!
Event: Networking Your Next Steps– a fun and inspirational night out for moms on Wednesday, 10/11 at 7pm at Heimat in Mamaroneck. Purchase your ticket ahead of time!
Groups: Making Things Happen: Mompreneurs on a Mission for moms who either have their own businesses or want to launch one. Group runs monthly. Upcoming sessions are on 10/18, 11/15, & 12/6 continuing into 2024 from 10-11:30am at The Idea Kitchen in Larchmont. You can purchase a single group session or a package of 3 – to be used on any dates that work for you – which also comes with a 1:1 individual coaching session.
Part Deux:YOU – Life After a Career Pause is a 6-week program for moms considering their next steps after a career hiatus, starting 10/4 on Wednesdays 10-11:30am at The Idea Kitchen.
I also work with clients on a 1:1 basis in-person and virtually. If you’re curious about coaching, anyone is welcome to book a free discovery call with me to learn more about how I can help you achieve your goals! I’m also out there on Instagram (@daraastmanncoaching) sharing daily tips and words of mindset wisdom from women and leaders I admire.
Can you spill the tea on your favorite…
Book you’ve read recently or Bingeworthy TV show: Love, Me by Jessica Saunders (my close friend wrote this book and I couldn’t put it down. Do yourself a favor and pre-order it!)
Quiet place to think: Manor Park in Larchmont
Splurge shopping destination (local or not!): Saks in Greenwich
Date night spot: Red Hat on the River in Irvington (I’m a sucker for a great sunset!)
Bagel or brunch spot: Stanz in Larchmont
Ladies night out destination: Happy Monkey in Greenwich
Meal out with the fam: Frankie and Fanucci in Mamaroneck
Place to treat yourself to something nice: Addison Street Spa in Larchmont
Outing with the kids: Dog Beach in Rye, Sheldrake Environmental Center in Larchmont
Hidden Westchester gem (any place you think we should know about!): Heimat in Mamaroneck is an amazing hand-crafted liquor distillery and event space. Come check it out on 10/11 at 7pm and join in my Networking Your Next Steps event.