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Life Coaching to Overcome the Work-at-Home Grind

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

This was a breakthrough question for Eileen*, a work-at-home Mom in her mid-40s. If you follow my blog, you know this coaching question is one I ask my clients often (see my previous post about the science-backed power of trying new things).

When Eileen came to me for life coaching, she wanted to make changes in her life. She was in her mid-40s, a mother of two, and owner of a very successful business. Living in upstate NY was not her favorite place to be, but that was where her husband had his job.

Like many of my self-employed clients, she felt owning a business was a double-edged sword. It offered her a lot of freedom, but also meant she worked remotely, by herself and often in solitude. She missed the camaraderie, teamwork and collegial atmosphere of an office environment. Her loneliness led her to question her entire situation. Despite her success going-it-alone, she wasn’t happy.

She felt that if she had some social contact during the day she would be less stressed, more inspired and energized and have a healthy separation between work and home life.
Eileen was also struggling with a fear of seeing her kids grow up and leave home.
She wanted to find new things to inspire her and rekindle old friendships. Her vision was to shift her work from solitude to a place where she could be part of a community of women working together.
Here’s how I coached this creative, smart, successful business owner who knows that she is making a positive change in the world through her work toward more personal fulfillment:

Step 1: Life Coaching for Clarity

What did Eileen really want out of her life? Through a series of life coaching exercises and homework, we identified her core values, those non-negotiable things she had to have in her life to feel purposeful and fulfilled. (Read more about how to discover your own non-negotiable standards in my previous blog post on the topic.) We examined the ways she could connect to others for the contagious enthusiasm and inspiration her days lacked.
Together, we outlined Eileen’s typical schedule and defined the time periods when she felt most lost, frustrated or unfulfilled. I gave her a timeline exercise to look at the big picture. We explored:
  • How she would use the time ahead to find fulfillment, and
  • What she had done in the past that helped her feel content.

We also addressed her fears related to seeing her children move towards independence. She confided that it was a relief to be open and honest in these discussions. My role as her life coach, not a relative or friend, allowed her to explore her needs and desires without judgement, criticism, or worry about any vested interest in her outcomes. (Many of my clients say that having a professional, certified life coach is superior to advice from friends, sometimes even to having a therapist. Learn the key differences in my previous posts, Life Coaching vs. Therapy and How Life Coaching Differs from Friendship.)

Step 2: Life Coaching to Identify Obstacles

I am a big believer on speaking positively as a key to life changes, and this was crucial for Eileen as well. When she was really honest, Eileen said fear held her back the most. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not knowing what to do, fear of wasting time, fear of wasting her life.
As her life coach, Eileen’s honesty helped me hone in on one of her biggest obstacles, her inner “saboteur.” That voice can be loud and clear, often capitalizing on our biggest fears, saying “you can’t do this.” Our lives tend to follow the words that come out of our mouths. Mindset coaching around language use and self-talk was a key step forward in the coaching process for this client. For more on this topic, read my previous post: Feel Better by Watching Your Words.)

Step 3: Life Coaching to Develop Action Steps

Next, we set up a plan to find out about programs Eileen was interested in, including those that would connect her to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
I gave Eileen “assignments” and we worked together with my coaching accountability tools to continue moving forward. She reported back to me between coaching sessions on her discoveries, and we saw some good progress.

Step 4: Your Life Coach as Your Champion, Your Challenger

When I challenged Eileen with that question, “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” the excitement in the room was palpable. I felt the momentum shift; my client was moving into her unique possibilities, starting to live the life she’d always wanted for herself. Right then and there she decided to pursue a dream she had all but forgotten about.
Our coaching relationship was respectful, intimate and rewarding. Eileen told me she learned:
  • How to look at her situation from various perspectives,
  • What was working for and against her,
  • To accept some aspects of her life, and
  • How to change the things that needed changing.
Moving forward, Eileen will have the power to draw on the tools, concepts and exercises we used to continue to the process of self-discovery. Like many of my clients, she will go on to learn even more about herself as she continues our work to live the life she really wants.

How I Can Help as Your Life Coach

The isolation and “grind” faced by many solopreneurs and entrepreneurs can create confusion about purpose and direction. Layoffs, retirement and moving within an organization can be an “a-ha” moment for personal reinvention. Trying new things is a key for many of my clients, but when they come to me they often don’t know where to start.

Friends, family and bad or inexperienced coaches might be good at telling you what to do or constantly giving you advice when you come to them with a problem or idea for change. You can even find plenty of instructions or advice for “living your best life” on the Internet. As a trained and certified Life Coach, my job is not to instruct or advise. My job is to help you explore and come up with the best choices for you based on where you want to be, and develop a concrete plan with actionable steps to get there. Unlike self-help books or the Internet, I’m working collaboratively with you, using guided conversations, proven assignments and exercises, and accountability tools that really work. Unlike your friends and family, I’m an expert at the process of changing behavior – which is much more valuable than instructions or advice when you truly want to make a change. Warning: it also may be far more effective!

Are you ready to start a new chapter in your career, or are forces beyond your control making this the moment for you to start afresh? What changes do you want and need to make to pursue your dreams through your work? Check out the useful tips and another client case study on my Career Transition Coaching page.

It may be obvious when we are unhappy, going through the motions or stuck in a “rat race” … but it can be difficult to articulate what gives us true joy, and take concrete steps to find it.

Contact Catharine Ecton for a complimentary, no-obligations Career Transition Coaching consultation and let’s discuss the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone and via Skype.

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

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