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Excerpted from Take Time for Your Life by Cheryl Richardson. Copyright 1999 by Cheryl Richardson. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"I learned how to create an environment in which people could feel comfortable and safe enough to talk about their lives freely."

  Cheryl Richardson, Take Time for Your Life, Part 2

There can be overlap between coaching and therapy, and a well-trained, experienced coach should know when a client needs therapy instead of coaching. Because of this, I've developed relationships with experienced, licensed professionals, and it's not uncommon for us to refer clients to each other.

There is a growing need for more than what therapy provides. In therapy, clients may talk about the changes they'd like to make in their lives, but the "how to" and the resources are often missing. Yet such information is critical to my clients' success.

Clients want someone to help them design a new life. They want a guide who can anticipate the obstacles on the path to this new life and help navigate around them. They want a partner who will remind them of their greatness when they forget, give them the tools to get unstuck, and challenge them to take action in spite of their fears. This need is now being met by personal coaches.

The need for coaching became evident to me while I was working as a tax consultant more than fifteen years ago. The time spent with clients was often very personal, requiring an intimate look into their lives. Typically, we'd talk not only about their finances (income, spending habits, and debt) but also about their medical history, family goals, and career plans. The questions they asked often concerned decisions that needed to be made about relocation, relationship conflicts, business dilemmas, or the challenge of balancing work and family. This led to longer conversations about life in general.

Although tax consulting can be a straightforward, "just the facts, ma'am," kind of job, my practice developed in a different direction. Year after year, in addition to their tax folders, clients brought me their life stories, wanting my advice and support. They needed a sounding board, an objective listener who could provide a fresh perspective.

I learned how to create an environment in which people could feel comfortable and safe enough to talk about their lives freely. In private, they would share with me their fears and concerns. Business owners, afraid of losing clients if they raised their fees, would let their own well-being suffer instead. Corporate employees, needing to support their families, struggled with how to handle political issues at work or the insensitivity of bosses.

Together we found solutions to the problems that were causing them stress. Sometimes, simply hearing an objective perspective would make all the difference in the world. Other times, finding the right language to communicate their needs allowed them to get unstuck and take action. Most important, knowing that they were not alone and that others grappled with the same kind of issues provided them with comfort and much needed support.

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