J. Coulson, MAHPP
Dynamic Life Coaching: Example Collaborations
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").
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, where she complained, he offered practical solutions, she rejected them, and they both moved further apart. 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 didn't have - 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 religious group.
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, please explore
the possibility of our working together by scheduling a free exploratory
'phone discussion. Email
me or call me on one of the numbers below.
Copyright © 2001-2010 Christopher J. Coulson
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