Whether you’re facing an empty nest, dealing with a career crisis or just feeling “stuck,” asking the question, “Where do I go from here?” can be a loaded one. Getting help from the right source is key to successfully moving up or moving on.
Life coaches can be a great resource to help you set and achieve goals, pursue new interests or to gain a fresh perspective on life. We asked six area pros for their insights into the top issues women face—and how you can start making changes today.
Biggest Issue: A desire to be more vital now that kids are older.
Best Advice: Rather than living vicariously through their children or spouse, Blue believes women making an investment in themselves through life coaching will result in big dividends. “My best tip for women is to live your own life,” Blue says. “If they explore what they love to do and invest more in their own personal development, they are going to be an inspiration to their family and friends.”
Jennie Burks, Certified Life and Wellness Coach, Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Health & Fitness Center, Lake Forest
Biggest Issue: Women who are seeking motivation to help accomplish their health-related goals.
Best Advice: “Wake up every morning and say out loud how you want to feel, and what you what to accomplish,” Burks says. “Put positive thoughts out into the universe!” Burks says it’s never too late to start, and she encourages clients to pursue their goals by looking toward the future rather than dwelling on the past.
Dana Frost, Master Life Coach, Wilmette
Biggest Issues: Women dealing with emotional pain or “baggage” associated with societal pressures and the stress of parenting, marriage and work/life balances that are often unsustainable.
Best Advice: Dana Frost is a Master Certified Martha Beck Life Coach who helps her clients to navigate challenges by using a variety of multi-sensory tools aimed at healing both the mind and body, including breathing techniques and proper nutrition. Frost uses aromatherapy in all of her sessions to stimulate the limbic system in the brain where memories are stored, impacting emotions and behavior. Remember, deeper, psychological issues are best addressed by a trained therapist or psychologist, not a coach.
“My in-person coaching sessions are designed not just for your head but are aimed at your heart and every cell in your body where deep, sustained transformation can take place,” Frost says. “Similar to an athletic coach, you must be healthy enough to do the work it takes to train with a life coach.”
Laurie Swanson, Wheaton
Biggest Issue: Successful business professionals who are now starting to dream of a future that gives them greater peace, freedom and joy.
Best Advice: “Get still and listen to your inner voice!” suggests Swanson, who uses tools she’s learned over the last 20 years as both an executive recruiter and Martha Beck Trained Life Coach. Swanson uses dream analysis and dream-building techniques by encouraging her clients to visualize what they want the next stage of their lives to look like, breaking down barriers into smaller, more achievable steps to success. “I believe the answers you are seeking are within,” Swanson says. “I use several metaphor and questioning tools to help discover what clients need to move forward in their lives.”
Jody Michael Associates, Chicago
Biggest Issue: Women who feel unfulfilled and empty or confused about their next steps as they enter a new chapter of their lives.
Best Advice: Michael says the biggest roadblock to success is negative self-talk that leaves one feeling disempowered and emotionally depleted. “If it’s a loop that you continually play, it is especially devastating to your self-esteem and contributes to self-sabotaging behavior,” she says. “My goal for my clients is complete transformation and optimal performance in life and work.” Michael’s individualized coaching approach utilizes a variety of tools and strategies she’s gained during her 30 years of practice, and begins with four sessions to identify gaps between where clients are currently and where they want to be in life.
Amy Hertzberg, Aim Life Coaching, Northbrook
Biggest Issue: For busy moms, finding “me time.” Women who feel overwhelmed, who are seeking a work-life balance.
Best Advice: “Focus on what you ARE currently doing and all that you HAVE accomplished, rather than on what you have not,” Hertzberg says. In her coaching process, Hertzberg uses the AIMS Model, which first encourages a deeper sense of awareness about a client’s current situation, and the obstacles they face in achieving their goals. After mapping out an action plan, Hertzberg’s role then shifts to more of a cheerleader and support system, celebrating her client’s successes one at a time. She views coaching as a priceless investment. “I compare it to beginning a work-out program,” Hertzberg says. “Coaching is a workout for your emotional health, for your soul.”
Note about finding a coach: The coaching industry is currently unregulated, so anyone can call herself or himself a life coach. Michael suggests inquiring about what certification a prospective coach holds, the number of years they have been coaching and the number of one-on-one sessions they have completed. For more information about life coaching and finding the right professional for you, visit the International Coach Federation, The Institute for Life Coach Training and Martha Beck.