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Inspiring Conversations with Darrell Williams of Alliance Seminars Coaching

Today we’d like to introduce you to Darrell Williams.

Hi Darrell, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My professional career started in Compton, California, while attending Compton High School. At that time, Compton was the 4th most dangerous city in America. Growing up in Compton taught me resilience, discipline, teamwork, and effective decision-making. As I was approaching my junior year of high school, I began to ask what my future would be like and what was my life goals. My family did not have money for college, and my grades were not at the scholarship level, so I decided to join the United States Army as an Administrative Specialist, which equates to a Human Resources professional. Joining the military was the best professional decision I ever made because it opened doors that I did not know existed, exposed me to unlimited possibilities, and introduced me to the importance of mentoring and coaching.

I have been involved in life coaching for many years and help clients discern ways to restore and enrich personal and professional relationships. I am a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who provides clients with expertise in leadership, relationships, and purpose. I bring extensive experience as a master-certified life coach and a member of the Federal Coaching Network.

My leadership background includes 30 years of federal service, highlighted by my selection as a White House Communications Agency All-Star and Senior Manager of the Year. Additionally, I am a Defense Information Systems Agency Outstanding Mentor and Human Resources Team Lead of the Year. My leadership coaching is based on a stellar 20-year military career, where I traveled as an Operations and Vice Presidential Communications Officer, leading over 500 White House missions. Following the tragedies of September 11, 2001, I was selected as 1 of 5 key leaders, from 30 senior managers, to direct emergency action communications for the Vice President of the United States, including duties as an Air Force Two Command Representative.

In addition to being a master certified life coach, I am a certified facilitator who trained senior managers at the White House Communications Agency Training Academy to travel as Vice Presidential Team Leads. Serving as the primary contact for the traveling White House Staff while simultaneously training mid-level managers to travel as Presidential Operations Team Leads.

I hold a Bachelor of Science in Management from National Louis University and an MBA from Strayer University. I have received numerous professional awards, including the Presidential Service Badge, Lacey B. Ivory Service Award, Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award, the National Louis University Reach Award, and the Strayer University Outstanding Alumni Award for my dedicated leadership in the community and Department of Defense. I am also a member of the White House Communications Agency Hall of Fame.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road, but it has been a fulfilling one. I have learned that “your tests are part of your testimony.” There is a reason for everything that happens to us, and what we grow through may also be the answer to what someone else is going through in their particular season. Life can seem like a game of Spades, it’s all about how we play the hand that we are dealt. The good news about the road to success is that there is more than one path, and we get to create our own. One key to dealing with obstacles and challenges is, am I stubborn enough to go it alone, or am I smart enough to use the available resources? A lot of times, when we are in the midst of a difficult situation, we are so busy trying to work through it right away, that we rarely take the time we need to pause and look at the other choices that we can make, to get us on the other side of our victory.

One struggle that shook me to my core was when my wife and I had to deal with the effects of not one but two miscarriages. This is something that many men do not discuss, but it is necessary to deal with our emotions and what we are going through. This cannot be easy because, in most instances, the attention seems to lean more toward the spouse, which is understandable. However, how does the husband provide comfort in the middle of his grief? In other words, as my Assistant Pastor would say, “who comforts the comforter?” What helped me during this most challenging time was listening to a lot of gospel music, reading lots of scripture, sharing with my wife how we were feeling, and allowing friends to speak encouragement into my life. Although it is difficult at the time, I can say that with the proper resources, life will get better, and you can become stronger after the challenge.

The challenges of running a business or ministry can be overwhelming. However, the bigger the obstacle, the greater the reward. It is essential to ask yourself what you should learn while going through this. Who can I reach out to for sound advice? Where should I turn next to get a handle on the situation? When is the best time to deal with each decision that I have to make? Why should I put my next steps in an appropriate order? Sometimes what we go through is not just about the result, it is also about the journey to move us from being busy, to evolving effectively.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Alliance Seminars Coaching?
Alliance Seminars Coaching is a veteran-owned, faith-based organization that provides clients with coaching services, motivational speaking, and certified workshops. Our mission is to support clients by sharing strategies and skills that strengthen personal and professional relationships. We also collaborate with individuals and organizations to improve leadership skills, improving individual quality of life, and business culture.

Several things have helped me build my reputation within my market. One thing that helped was I identified a need within my community that required an answer. Some marriages were good, but there was an opportunity to help them become healthier. The other thing I did was become a level 2 certified coach through the Certified Life Coach Institute to show clients that I was an industry expert within my field, making clients more comfortable with utilizing our services. In addition to becoming certified, I partnered with established organizations, such as the church, that were known for helping others and not looking for a lot in return.

Another organization that I partnered with was Dr. Paul White and the Appreciation at Work Team. Throughout my career, the appreciation came naturally. Even though I didn’t know the specific language of appreciation identified by Dr. White, at that time, I made sure I took the time to get to know everyone I worked with, to learn about their stories and what they cared about. This enabled me to speak with each person in the way that affects them the most: genuine appreciation for who they are and what they do.” “At first, I was a little skeptical about the Appreciation at Work service because I thought, ‘what do I need this for? I’m already doing it.’ But when I read the book, I realized this was awesome. It is a simple, scientifically based process that you can use to scale appreciation across any organization. Once I saw the benefit of having a process, I took the training, and my wife is also certified.” As a keynote speaker, I ensure that I meet the needs of event planners and organizations while leaving the audience with a challenge that can help them grow personally, as well as help their organization. Some words that have been used to describe me as a speaker are eloquent in delivery and compelling in content, inspiring, passionate, and engaging, to list a few. As it relates to Coaching, I have found three things that have helped me with clients, particularly military members transitioning to civilian life.

Be Trustworthy

We must realize when a Coach can be entrusted with a client’s secret fear or with anything else important. It allows the coaching relationship to grow and makes the client feel comfortable enough to answer questions that they believe will bring them closer to their ultimate goal and let them put together a plan they feel good about implementing. Building trust in the military is vital; without it, bonds cannot be formed, which can hinder any chance of individual connection and directly affect collective mission goals.

Be Transparent

It is beneficial when a military member knows that I was a Veteran before we begin our coaching relationship. They feel more comfortable knowing they are working with someone who has walked through the same journey they are about to embark upon. This is vastly different from other civilian clients because military members form a brotherhood and sisterhood similar to first responders. However, during the initial discovery call or meeting, clients may feel connected to working with an honest coach about life challenges that led them to become a coach. For example, I remember sharing part of my transition story when I couldn’t find a job after retiring while supporting a wife and a 1-year-old. Their anxiety turned to laughter when I told them I would still do my morning routine for months, as if I was going to work, only to walk my wife to the car, kiss her, then go back into the house and start the job search all over again. It gave them hope that “this guy does know how I feel, and if he can get through it, maybe I can too.”

Be Truthful

One advantage of working with Veterans is they expect me to be honest when it comes to the questions that I ask them and hold them accountable for an activity they were scheduled to complete. Although they are used to following direct orders, they need to understand why I don’t tell them what to do next. Instead, I ask questions that will help them identify the roadblocks and identify actions that will get them back on track to accomplish their goals.

About our brand, we commit to excellence as we perform C.P.R. on lives by providing Clarity, Purpose, and Resilience. We have inspired individuals, couples, and organizations throughout the Washington DC Metropolitan area and always look forward to bringing our personal touch to others or their next event.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
Favorite books that I would recommend are, but not in any particular order:

  • The Servant by James C. Hunter
  • Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell
  • Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John Maxwell
  • What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
  • Leading At a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard
  • The Gold Standard by Mike Krzyzewski
  • Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven (Ret.)
  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
  • Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.


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Image Credits
Defense Information Systems Agency, Strayer University, White House Military Office, NAACP

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