Marilyn Simmons Bowe is one of the coaches that we found this month and we did a little interview with her. She impressed us with her adventurous life, her persistence, faith and innovative mind.
Starting from a a clapboard house, with no running water, she climbed the social ladder through education and through understanding something about the nature of humans that not a lot of people know.
She calls this SEL coaching, Social Emotional Learning. She invented her own approach and assessment method where she tests her clients’ 96 emotional dispositions.
Through this method she discovers the real socio emotional profile of her client. She reveals to them WHO they are and HOW they are at the moment. All with an intention to give them a recipe for their best life. Here is what she said.
Meet Life Coach Marilyn Simmons Bowe:
Name: Marilyn Simmons Bowe, PhD
Pillar: The Heart, The Spirit
Who is this coach for: Anyone who wants to learn more about themselves and their emotions, and live their best life, happy and empowered.
How they can help: Through an assessment tool that she developed and a plan of action based on the results.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these Pandemic times?
My extended family and I fared well during the pandemic.
I live alone and spend 100% of my free time alone, pre pandemic, so the pandemic did not impact my social life.
I am a long distance runner, who runs alone everyday, so during the mask mandated time of the pandemic, I wore a mask while running.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your clients? Did it affect you at all?
The coronavirus pandemic affected my clients in much the same way that it affected most individuals: It reduced their social interactions outside of their dwelling places.. it forced them to take a deeper dive with self reflection.. and it tested the strength of the relationships, for those who were coupled.
As stated previously, it did not affect me at all.
What are the biggest lessons that you learned in this pandemic?
The world was a very small place because everyone was experiencing the same thing. As such, I learned to have even more belief in the human ability to support each other in trying times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you started with your coaching career?
My story, as a child, was one of impoverished conditions with food insecurity, at times. I was not supposed to amount to much by society’s standards! I was born a child of poverty in Nassau, Bahamas, in an urban low socioeconomic area.
I was the sixth of eight children to live in my first home, a clapboard house, with no running water or electricity.
It was located on a street called “Burial Ground Corner”, because there was once a graveyard on the site. This was in the part of Nassau called “over the hill”, which is away from the glitzy tourist mecca of the city of Nassau.
I spent my childhood between the city and a rural “outer island” of The Bahamas, called Harbour Island. My Mother was born there, and my maternal grandparents still lived there.
Whether in the city of Nassau or on Harbour Island, my childhood, in the Sixties, was spent like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
I enjoyed rambling around with the boys rather than sitting around with the girls! We dove for coins that tourists threw off of their boats in Nassau Harbour.
While in Briland, as we affectionately referred to Harbour Island, we roamed the rural areas of that tiny island for seasonal fruit and berries, went fishing, and built boxcars!
I was always a curious person. As such, my curiosity led to a stellar academic life.
I graduated from high school at the age of fifteen and earned an Associate of Science degree (A.S.) in Biochemistry, at the age of seventeen.
After an initial career as an industrial lab chemist, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) in premedical Biology with minors in Chemistry and Education, magna cum laude and a Master of Science degree (M.S.) in Biomedical Sciences with a special focus on neuroanatomy and neurophysiology.
Additionally, I completed a self designed, quantitative Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Education and Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
My career has spanned from Biotechnology to Public Education. Currently, I combine all of my career and academic expertise as an SEL Coach and Achievement Specialist.
When I am not in pursuit of social empowerment for all, I enjoy traveling, reading, active researching and long distance running.
What was your biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in your life that made you who you are today?
My biggest obstacle was my impoverished childhood.
I was told that education would be my way out of poverty. As such, I embraced every opportunity that I had to gain both academic and worldly education.
This approach has helped to make me the person that I am today.
The Coaching Style:
How do you innovate with coaching your clients?
Living a wellness focused life requires that we have an intrinsic desire to achieve something that will sustain us along our quest.
This is how the work that I am doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world.
As a part of my offerings to my clients, I start with an assessment that I developed which measures 96 emotional dispositions.
The instrument, while having the ability to give clients great insight into who and how they are, is simplistic on the surface. Each item is a statement that is algorithmic and measures the following:
8 discrete achievement emotions:
Five negative emotions: anger, anxiety, hopelessness, boredom and shame.
Three positive emotions: joy, hope, and pride.
4 neurological domains:
Physiology or physical: response
3 achievement timeframes that tells what the client’s disposition might be:
Before an event.
During an event.
After an event.
Once the results are calculated, I create a results profile and plan of action that is presented to the client.
During the post assessment session, the results are explained or interpreted, and clients get a plan of action that is used as a scaffold on which to build their wellness focused journey.
I have many success stories of clients who were able to use the results of their SEL profile to live a wellness focused life.
One story that stands out is a young lady, let’s call her Sally. Sally sought my assistance for life coaching because she felt trapped in a status quo of family and friends who refused to accept her for who she was: a freethinker who operated outside of the proverbial box.
Sally was on the verge of “giving in” and “giving up her dream” to get married because her status quo felt that she was “getting too old to be chasing her dreams”, at the ripe old age of 28!
After taking the assessment and getting her results, Sally felt “vindicated” that she should follow her dreams. She said the results were as if I had “read her palm”.
The results indicated that Sally’s dominant positive emotion was hope; her negative emotion was anxiety; her dominant neurological domain was cognitive; and her achievement timeframe was “before an event”.
My analysis of Sally’s results stated that Sally believed in future possibilities and positive outcomes (hope). That she was very particular of planning, cross checking and following up (anxiety). She tended to think these through from every angle before making a move (cognitive). And that she was willing to give it her all from the very beginning (before an event).
Today, Sally is still unmarried but happily living her dream as an exotic location realtor where she connects her clients with their dream properties around the Caribbean.
What’s unique about your coaching approach?
It has a unique foundation in my self designed quantitative PhD on the effects of emotions on achievements.
What benefits do your clients get after working with you?
They learn how to put themselves first because they get to know their dominant positive and negative emotions, as well as their dominant achievement domain, as described above.
As a result, they are able to, more effectively:
1. Really believe in themself.
2. Learn to say “No”… and mean it.
3. Always keep their word to themself and others.
4. Smile from their soul.
5. Embrace every experience as a lesson.
Do you use any specific tools to be efficient with your clients?
Yes, my SELf Assessment tool and a unique communicative approach based on my PHD work.
If you had a super megaphone that, when you speak into, the whole world will hear your message, what would you say?
If I could give a message to the whole world, it would be immersing the concept of social emotional learning, SEL, into every facet of society.
SEL is how we interact with each other; how we communicate, and how we respond to each other. Unfortunately, SEL is being marketed as a compilation of restorative practices and is being implemented only in grade schools, predominantly.
I believe in SEL for adults and this is the basis of my coaching approach.
I believe that an SEL movement is needed because we are so busy living that we have forgotten how to feel towards each other.
We have created a society where “being emotional” is considered a bad thing. Yet we are surprised when employees get violent on the job. Simply put it is because of pent up emotions that have not been addressed.
We implement rules and regulations all over our society. These are based on law and order, rightly so, but there is no or very minimal consideration given to the human aspect.
My SEL movement would help to bring about a chance to balance what is necessary, i.e., rules and regulations, with consideration of the human element of emotions.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your life?
The greatest lesson that I learned was a very hard one!
I learned that you cannot start a business by depending on family, friends and acquaintances! The people closest to me did not support my business venture in social emotional learning.
My business is designed to help others understand “who” and “how” they are, so that they can live their best lives. The people closest to me told me that I was “very smart” and my services were “very necessary” but they did not want to use my services to help themselves.
Some said that they did not want to know “who and how” they were. Others simply said that they “did not need it because nothing was wrong with them”.
Your final thoughts?
Life can be tough! Nonetheless, we need to embrace every experience as something that is happening for us, rather than something that is happening to us.
Every experience has a lesson. I believe that if we do not embrace the lesson, when it is first presented, then The Universe will continually present the experience until we do.
For example, when I was in the midst of a self pity party back in 2014, thanks to my lackluster business, I kept blaming others.
After a few more trying experiences, I realized what the lesson was: I needed to swallow my pride so that I could reboot and fulfill my desire to provide service to the world that was greatly needed.
Hence, I had to stop thinking that “I could not get clients” and use the lesson of regrouping and retrying. I had to dig deep, believe in myself, and let my passion carry me forth.
After all, my entire life has been based on the concept of social emotional learning, SEL, long before I knew it and long before it even had a description!
This speaks to my intertwined trio of persistence, perseverance and passion, I am now able to rebrand and deliver SEL coaching services to all facets of society.
Where Can You Find Dr. Marilyn?
If you liked this interview and you would love to find out WHO and HOW you are, go to https://www.drmarilynsimmons.com/ and see how Dr. Marilyn can help you.
If you like to connect directly with Dr. Marilyn, you can do that via her LinkedIn profile. It was a honor having this interview with her.