Many women need a little extra support at specific stages of their lives, we asked Jane C Woods, of Changing People, what women can expect if they choose to work with a life coach.
Q. What are the most common aspects of their lives mid-life women are looking to change when they come to see you?
A. The issues are many and varied, as are my clients! One recurring theme is what we used to call a midlife crisis but I prefer to think of as a midlife opportunity (as my ‘crisis’ was the best thing to happen to me!). Women can find themselves at a crossroads, usually about work (but it’s often personal too) The most common theme is ‘what now?’ – a general feeling of dissatisfaction, knowing they are not happy with what they’ve got, but not really being sure what they want instead.
Let me give you a couple of examples:
• I have had two very senior women in an organisation use coaching with me to debate whether they want to spend the rest of their working lives in their high powered roles. Of the 2, one went for a much higher powered job and got it (Hooray!) and another decided to give up entirely and pursue her love of wildlife and ecology, even though it meant a massive cut in salary.(Another Hooray!)
• And then from a different angle, I was at an event a while back when a client who had come to me as a 50th birthday present to herself, came up and said I was the cause of her leaving her husband! I was a bit taken aback as you can imagine, but she looked so happy I guessed it was OK. She said that her time spent with me exploring how she wanted to live the rest of her life had really opened her eyes to the fact that she was only half living! She changed jobs and husband, but she did it very well, on her terms but managed to keep a good relationship going with her ex.
Q.What should women consider if they are thinking about life coaching?
A. Most coaches will offer a no obligation initial session. Always take it before committing because it’s important that you have respect and liking for your coach-it’s not therapy! If you can, ask around and see if they have testimonials. I began my web site so people could get a real sense of who I am before they pick up the phone. It started life as a marketing tool but has become much bigger because I love it and talk with loads of wonderful women. But just because someone doesn’t have a web site doesn’t mean they aren’t good.
Also, a good coach should help you discover what’s within you, help you bring out your strengths, boost your confidence to make the changes you want to make, and not be giving you a prescriptive list or following a standard process. Everyone is unique and should be treated as such. And crucially, you should feel better after a session, not worse! Don’t be afraid to stop working with someone, or to ask for refund, if it’s not working for you.
Q.Are there alternatives to one -on-one life coaching which women can benefit from?
A.Well, yes of course. There are some fabulous web sites out there, like yours, which can be really beneficial and helpful, and where you can connect with other women. There are also some good books around which you can read at your leisure, and of course there are always friends! Women’s friendships are really important to them and there is research to show that the company of other women and talking about issues, can be really helpful for women in times of stress. We genuinely are different from men in that respect as we release oxytocin when under stress (that’s the bonding/love hormone released after childbirth). We need to talk!
It’s one of the reasons I run specific training for women. Groups can be a really powerful way of helping people make positive change in their lives, although mine are always friendly and ‘safe’. Without any role play- ever. I love the buzz you get when a group of women are together all helping each other. It’s such a great atmosphere!
Special offer for Fabafterfifty readers
Jane has a one day women only course, RenewYou! coming up in May in the Bristol area and I’ve negotiated a great offer for Fabafterfifty readers. There is already a discount for early booking but in addition Jane will offer every Fabafterfifty reader that signs up before the end of March a free full one hour coaching session to be taken within 6 months of completing the course. You can use your confidential session with Jane for whatever you wish, issues from the course, or something unrelated. Please note it’s not transferable, just for you!
To take advantage of the coaching, please make sure to email me at email@example.com when you book and I’ll pass the relevant details onto Jane