“But when two people are at one in their inmost hearts,
They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze.”
I Ching, Book of Changes, 12th Century B.C.
My work with clients is totally confidential and will stay that way. However, my practice, like other coaches’, has repeating themes that may resonate with you.
These vignettes are fictional constructions created from my clients’
real stories. They arise from both genders regardless of how I’ve identified
the protagonist. (If you wish to see some real-life testimonials please
go to: “Client testimonials”).
- The baffled businessman
- The unhappy retiree
- The blocked creative artist
- The woman in a man’s world
- The frustrated corporate Ph.D.
- The conscientious wife and mother
- The disappointed spiritual seeker
- The laid-off executive
- The secretive sexual experimenter
- The marooned expatriate
- The recovering disordered eater or drinker
- The truth-seeking practitioner
This man saw a successful face gazing back at him every morning as he
shaved. Yet by the time he arrived at work he would start to feel trapped
and increasingly ineffective. He would see others selected for projects
he felt he could handle better. However, he felt isolated and unable to
find an outlet for his concerns. He entered into life coaching rather
warily, even dismissively, but after a while began to see how his lack
of self-awareness contributed to his being left aside. As he began to
introduce appropriate new behavior at work, his opportunities expanded
and he became more fulfilled and financially better rewarded.
This intelligent and competent woman was depressed and having relationship
problems despite having achieved a lifelong goal: early and financially
solid retirement. At first she could not see it but eventually realized
that it was retirement itself that was the problem. With life coaching,
she undertook a course of further education and developed a whole new
life that was more completely satisfying than the one she had left.
This musician was unsure of the viability of his preferred path. Beset
by doubt, he was unable to commit to the discipline required without great
personal anguish. He tortured himself with guilt, self-criticism and food
and alcohol abuse. Yet the reality and marketability of his skills were
genuinely unquestionable. Dynamic life coaching helped him put aside his
fears and move forward into a world-class career.
This attractive woman was a highly competent professional in a field
where her peers were predominantly male. Her threatening combination of
qualities made her vulnerable to sexually provocative remarks and also
more generally sexist dismissal along the lines of “Don’t ask X.
A woman couldn’t handle it.” She grew so depressed by it that she
was considering changing careers to one regarded as more typically female.
Through life coaching, she reconsidered all her career options and made
connection with her deepest values. The strength she obtained from this
enabled her to continue in her role and also to start to change the image
her male colleagues had of her.
This highly qualified engineer had left university and gone straight
into a fabulous job – or so he thought. He was directly involved in leading
edge technology in a world-class organization. As a technician, however,
he found his creative solutions were frequently rejected for incomprehensible
reasons. His managers seemed preoccupied with status rather than product.
His peers only turned up to earn their weekend pleasures. He was disillusioned
and unhappy. As we worked together he learnt first to identify the anger
that was at the root of much of his depression and sense of helplessness.
Then we explored his role: was he content to remain a technician or did
he have other aspirations?
This story has multiple endings. In one, the Ph.D. stays with the firm,
acquires political and management skills and moves into a position where
he can change what he doesn’t like. In another, he leaves and starts his
own company, fulfilling himself in an entrepreneurial role. In yet another,
he joins another company having first ascertained that its management
philosophy fits him more closely.
The well-educated young woman was at her wit’s end. She had suspended
her career in one of the professions to stay home for a few years caring
for her child.
She was very thoughtful; the child had been planned and every consideration had been given to giving it the best possible start in life.
The only problem was, the mother woke most mornings feeling suicidal.
She also felt guilty because everything ought to be perfect.
She and her husband were caught up in a cycle of hopelessness in which she complained,
he offered practical solutions, she rejected them, and they both moved
For a while, she was only able to see the interior of her self-made trap, but gradually she was able to let go of her dream of herself as the perfect wife and mother – the one she hadn’t had – and accept that she had needs that motherhood alone couldn’t meet.
Then she was able to expand her activities and enrich her life through further study and
participation in several societies. She blossomed and, not so coincidentally, the baby grew more contented too.
This person had a sense that something was lacking in his life and recognized
that he had become apathetic through a lack of direction or meaning. Life
seemed pointless and futile. He tried various organized religions but
still felt unfulfilled. We began working together, at first putting aside
the specific spiritual quest that the person was on so as to focus on
less abstract needs. Gradually, life coaching helped him develop a sense
of his own integrity and truthful essence that in turn gave him a sense
of connectedness to the universe. He was then able to incorporate this
into a form of daily spiritual awareness. This also helped him gain more
from the spiritual practice he eventually entered into as part of a larger
This person had experienced one of the side-effects of today’s more fluid
employment scene: she had been laid off in her late forties, with most
of her work life and sense of identity still embedded in the organization
that had let her go. The initial phase of life coaching accelerated the
grieving process so that she was free to pursue other opportunities. We
then worked through the hurt and fear surrounding her new role of job-hunter,
eventually reaching a point where the process became exciting and progressive
in its own right. She started back into work with a ‘good enough’ job,
confident in her ability to make it into something better. Ongoing life
coaching led her finally to a job better than the one she had been laid
off from, with a greater confidence in her own real abilities.
This person found herself with a fantasy constantly running through
her mind. Whether at work or at home she could not rid herself of
thoughts of a form of sexual activity that she believed to be sick.
The fantasy became somewhat obsessional for her, so that she would
seek out connections on the Internet and read fiction in which her
preferences were explored. She tried to tell her husband but he was
repelled and would not discuss it with her. Eventually she met a man
who shared her preferences and almost began an affair with him. This
so threatened her family life that she decided she needed to find
some balance. We worked over the ‘phone for total confidentiality.
Gradually she came to understand the essential innocence of her yearnings
and to find more stable ways of both reducing and meeting her needs.
Coaching also helped her to see how her approach to marriage contributed
to the intensity of her fantasy and how to bring about changes that
improved her home life.
This man was in the diplomatic service, but the circumstances applied
equally to his wife. He loved the stimulating variety of tasks and
locations offered by the career, but found certain factors seriously
debilitating. Prime among these were the sense of displacement – even
exile – which accompanied working overseas, and the isolation of being
separated from the rest of his family and old friends. This was emphasized
in certain postings where the diplomatic community tended to be very
insular. The restricted social and recreational opportunities led
to fairly typical but counterproductive coping behaviors. These included
bouts of excessive drinking, over-involvement in others’ activities
and an antagonistic attitude at work. Working over the ‘phone to overcome
the international distance, he used life coaching to liberate himself
from the trap he felt himself to be in.
This client had turned the corner on her disorder but, now that
the constant medical and other attention was no longer there,
was having difficulty making the change stick. Through life coaching
she was able to strengthen her resolve and resist the pressures
around her to have her revert to her former ways. Steady life
coaching resulted in increased faith and confidence in herself
such that she was able to focus successfully on a career about
which she felt passionate. (See also my specialist web site: www.eatingdisorderscoach.com).
This qualified counselor had been well into his training before he
recognized that he needed counseling not just because it was a course
requirement but because he had significant problems of his own. He
worked on these problems and as he did so he realized that the emphasis
on theory and the medical approach to counseling largely missed the
point of his clients’ true needs. However, in order to maintain his
employability he needed to be able to work within the agency and regulatory
model in which he practiced. Our coaching partnership focused on clarifying
his true motivation with regard to his clients and on increasing his
acceptance of the possible rather than the ideal. His pleasure and
sense of value in his work returned once his sense of integrity was
more reality based.
If any of these vignettes have resonated with you and you would like to find out more about Dynamic Life Coaching or myself, please use the form below to schedule a free 50-minute ‘phone or Skype discussion.