A tribute to my life coach

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coachingMe? Need a life coach? Why? I’m very self-sufficient. I can figure this out myself. But I had hit a wall. My life was in a major humbling crisis. In a blink, my very successful massage business of 12 years was abruptly ended when I broke my right wrist, which eventually required surgery and a long rehabilitation. Suddenly, I was left with no income, no health insurance, minimal savings and a loss of reliable, supportive clients and the very work that I loved. To top it off, my car of 15 years died.

Le Ann, one of my former clients and a life coach, asked whether I would be willing to try coaching. I didn’t understand its importance at the time, but I was willing to accept the invitation.

Her office was located on the third floor of her lovely home overlooking Lake of the Isles. She invited me to a comfy chair and proceeded to explain the essence of life coaching. She said it involved asking powerful questions, being listened to, giving honest, constructive feedback and observations, identifying core values and beliefs, and reframing my perspective. As my accountability partner, she was there to help me be responsible for what I said I was going to do, help me see where my life was out of balance, set priorities and take actions that would move my life forward.

The past was past! What did now hold for me? Life was about choices, possibilities and not being paralyzed by depression, negativity, endless excuses and constant procrastination, all of which created unhappiness and inaction. It was all up to me, and Le Ann would be my guide. I loved the hourly one-on-one contact every week, with a set day and time. If Le Ann was out of town, the session was done on the phone.

The personalized rituals were so important to the structure of the session. We usually began by lighting a candle to bring focus, and we read inspirational writings. We always ended with a probing, thought-provoking question for the week. I often wrote messages to myself on colorful Post-it® notes to help keep me on course. It was MY time, with no interruptions.

I began to look at my life in a new way, especially by celebrating my accomplishments. Le Ann was a great cheerleader. Tasks not completed went on next week’s list, after examining why they were not done. There was never any reproach. She always handled my resistance and rebellious nature with gentleness.

I felt safe. I could be honest. I learned to trust myself and others more, and I dug just a little bit deeper for answers, knowing that Le Ann always had my best interest at heart.

My life was moving forward in spite of its many challenges. I now had an action plan with surprising choices and new possibilities. I let her guide me to my solutions by asking questions. She helped me to think and not just react to my circumstances out of fear. She instilled not being a victim ever again. Taking action is the key to successful life coaching. The seeds LeAnn planted had far-reaching effects, and I will always be grateful.

As a result of our work together for two years, I decided to become a life coach. I certainly had the life experience, with more than 40 years in the nursing and alternative health care professions, including aromatherapy, addictions, bodywork and many healing modalities. I could do life coaching the rest of my life.

Le Ann’s coach, Ruth Godfrey, developed her own life coaching school in the Twin Cities: Learning Journeys International Center of Coaching. I was fortunate enough to be in the first graduating class.

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