My take on life coaching

I’ll be honest: I never thought I would call myself a life coach. Over the years, that term has conjured all kinds of images for me. (And I know I’m not alone, given my conversations with friends.) The concept of life coaching struck me, at some sort of visceral level, to be any or all of the following: Frivolous. Patronizing. Bossy. An overpriced, Portlandia-style “faux profession,” aimed at navel-gazing yuppies.

Yikes.

So how did I end up here, writing this blog, and calling myself a life coach?

Well, I’ve always enjoyed working on-on-one with people in a supportive role. For the past five years, I have been seeing clients in my Happy to Listen empathetic listening practice, which has been incredibly rewarding. I love watching people blossom and grow as I help to hold space for them, offering support and witnessing as they live their lives consciously and intentionally.

Meanwhile, I’ve always been excited by innovative ideas, big visions, creative problem solving, and the idea of making the world a better place in a variety of ways. This Dream Into Change practice allows me to combine those two passions … and “Life coaching for a better world” is the pithiest, most accurate way I have found to sum up what I do. I believe this practice will use my talents and skills more effectively than anything else I can imagine myself doing, to make my personal greatest possible impact on the world. And I’m really excited about that.

I want to be up-front and transparent with regard to credentials, about which people are naturally curious. I have a B.A. in psychology from Lewis & Clark College, but it did not come easily to me. Although I have always been a high achiever on aptitude tests, I have never thrived in academic environments, and it took me five years to earn my undergraduate degree. I found it so exhausting at the time, in fact, that I gave up my dream of earning an advanced degree and going into private practice. The prospect of attending a life-coaching program and earning a credential in that way (as well as piling up debt, which I would then have to pass along in my pricing) similarly does not appeal to me. What does appeal to me – and what has always worked best for me – is self-directed, hands-on learning, including reading as much as I can about the topics I’m passionate about; networking with as many people as I can who might be able to collaborate in some way on whatever projects my clients are working on; and interviewing people directly when I see that they are taking on inspiring projects. I learn from them, and I publish their interviews here so that my readers and clients can learn, too.

So, fair warning: I don’t have fresh-from-the-books tips and tricks to offer clients in our sessions together. What I do have to offer is my full presence; my commitment to each client’s vision; my network of contacts; my brain full of books and websites to offer as resources; my empathetic presence at those times when the journey gets tough; and my steadfast enthusiasm for taking each dream to fruition. Each session is organic and intuitive; I go with each client where we need to go together at any given time to move the dream forward.

So … here I am. Life coach for a better world, at your service. Let the adventure begin!

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2 Responses to My take on life coaching

  1. William Dennett says:

    Maren, no matter what official credentials you hold, you have a lot to offer people. I have been enriched greatly by your presence in my life. Good luck to you on your many prospects! –Bill.

  2. Maren says:

    Bill, thank you! I was totally inspired watching you follow your dream, back in Portland. I hope it continues to unfold for you, in Vermont, in Portland, or wherever your life takes you.

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