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Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.

Michael Pritchard

Life Coaching

Building Focus, Energy & Courage - to Make a Better Life for You

How Coaching Helps Real People
- A peek at my case files


Coaching really does work wonders in the lives of my clients, and can do so for you. I want to give you a clear insight into the powerful results that coaching delivers, but I need to protect the confidentiality of my clients, so these examples have been adapted from my case files.


Debbie has had a difficult relationship with her mother, now 74, for many years. Now Debbie is pregnant with her first child and is conscious of her mother’s age and failing health. She wants to mend bridges and grow a better relationship with her mum, but her efforts so far have failed and she’s struggling to stay positive. In a hectic personal and professional life, she doesn't seem to find the time to work on this. She’s all set to let matters coast until it’s too late.

I explored the problem with Debbie, and we turned the problem into a desired solution – or goal. We drew a mental picture of how Debbie wanted her new life with her mother to be. Debbie was happy with that, but was totally unable to come up with any ways she might move herself to that new goal state. She was wearing her “life blinkers”, and they were preventing her from seeing all of her options.

I re-framed the problem for Debbie, and asked her to imagine how she would build a relationship with a 74 year old lady that she didn't know. This new perspective allowed Debbie to see around the bitterness and resentment which filled this area of her life. Now she could think of a thousand ways to build a loving relationship.

Of course, that wasn't the end of it, but it WAS the start of it – and a start she would not have made without coaching. Coaching also allowed Debbie to discover that giving love without receiving it was a real, practical option for her. Over time, this would turn things around. But the road would not be easy, and the weekly support from her coach would be a big asset in keeping her positive, focused and reasonably chirpy, until the benefits of her investment began to pay off big dividends.


Geoff is intelligent and a competent professional, but in social situations he considers himself something of a disaster, and his life is a much smaller one than he would prefer because of it. He is struggling with two sides of his self. One wants to be outgoing and fun-loving; the other fears rejection. Unfortunately, this latter half seems to be in charge. So one half of Geoff keeps putting himself in promising situations then his other half keeps sabotaging them. Geoff is very frustrated and out of ideas.

Whilst coaching Geoff, it became clear that Geoff was apparently blind to a whole raft of things he could do to build friendships in social situations. Through very careful questioning, I was able to uncover some interesting history.

As a child, Geoff had a minor physical abnormality and was taunted in the playground. At that time, Geoff learned two things about life:

1. He was ugly
2. People are cruel

More than 30 years later, Geoff still held these beliefs. In other words, he acted on the basis that he knew they were true. Though parts of his intellect knew that the facts did not support these beliefs, he continued to hold them inside, from where they drove his destructive behaviour. Before coaching he did not consciously know any of this.

Through some challenging dialogue about options, Geoff recognised that he was ruling out hugely productive things he might do in social situations, because they could not work. And they could not work, because HE WAS UGLY, AND PEOPLE ARE CRUEL. Geoff began a difficult process of un-learning these beliefs and now has a growing repertoire of social skills. He is taking more social risks and doing more things socially. He’s beginning to sparkle. He’s finally becoming the person he felt sure deep down, that he ought to be, or perhaps always was.


Claire likes her job and she’s good at it, yet career progression isn't happening for her. Everyone likes her, but they don’t seem to see her as promotion material. Claire is embarrassed to talk about this with anyone at work – she doesn't like trumpet blowing, and it’s a delicate topic. Although she loves the place, she’s thinking of leaving as a way to move forward, which makes her sad and a little afraid.

We confirmed that Claire’s preference was to stay employed where she was and to gain promotion. We explored her world at work and did not find a reason for her lack of promotion. So we stayed solution-focused and forward-looking. We also found and removed her belief that it isn't nice to draw attention to your accomplishments.
This allowed Claire to find and select a winning option.

She approached her boss and discussed this head-on. She discovered that her boss felt her outgoing bubbly manner was a sign of placing popularity over accomplishment, and did not make her look like a potential supervisor. Claire disagreed! Again, exploring options, we noted that fixing Claire’s boss was not a good option to pick. Claire chose a raft of imperfect options form those available: she would build a relationship with her boss, presenting her serious side and emphasising her solid accomplishments.

Claire also felt it was a good idea to gain exposure above the level of her immediate boss, and volunteered to do some extra work which would allow this. Finally, Claire documented her career aspirations in her performance review, from where it would be seen higher up. Needless to say, Claire got her promotion.

Here are some more, shorter examples to show the kinds of problems we tackle with coaching:
Stephanie loves to dance, and teaches salsa part-time at a local club for pocket money. Her “real job” is in fleet administration, which she finds boring, but hey – it pays the bills. Stephanie has recently come to realise that – if she does nothing – things will go on this way, and – at 28 - she feels the clock is ticking. She realises that her dream is to teach dancing for a living, but she doesn't know how to start. The local scene is already catered to. There’s little money in it, and she has no idea how to set up in business. She doesn't know what to do.
Richard has a high pressure job in advertising, which he finds both stimulating and exhausting. He works long hours and commutes to London each day. Through lack of time and energy outside work, his social set have been neglected and his family is not happy at having so little quality time with him. Steve wants to re-balance his life, but feels he has no options.
Lucy has what most people would think is a wonderful existence – with no pressures and no problems. Yet she has an un-focused feeling of unhappiness. She’s wondering if this is this all there is to life.

John is 53 and divorced and wants to find a new life partner. He’s tried a few local events, but is self-conscious about the whole process and doesn't do well. He’s stopped going, but doesn't have an alternative strategy to find him a new love. He’s all but given up.

Real people, with real problems of the kind most of us live with daily. The difference is that these people did something about it. They hired their own personal life coach and together we were able to make real, positive, permanent changes to their lives.

This is the power of coaching.

>> More


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