Life Coaching

Life Coaching and Life Makeover Coaching

Are you cheating yourself out of fully enjoying life?
Do you have a vision and a plan for your life?

You wouldn’t run a business without a plan, why run your life without a plan?

My clients are typically successful people who are not as happy as they would like to be. Many also want to take their success to an even higher level. Often they are very good at their jobs but still feel unfulfilled. Typically they have a plan for their careers but not for their lives.

Having a plan for your life means knowing your life means knowing and following your vision, mission, and values. It means being crystal clear about who you are, what you want, why, and how you will achieve it. Once you have your vision and mission, examine your values, beliefs, rules, self-talk, and environment and tweak them to make sure they are congruent with your vision and mission. These are the keys to living your life on purpose.

If you are satisfied with your life, read no further. This is for people who want the best possible life and are willing to examine their lives and make changes to be the best they can be.

What are life coaching and life makeover coaching?

A life coach is a mentor, personal advocate, and partner who focuses exclusively on your interests. A life coach listens well, helps you figure things out, and helps you become clear about your plan and strategies to achieve your goals. Athletes know a coach is vital to reaching their full potential. A life coach is like having a personal trainer for your life. Change can be easy, fast, and painless when you engineer it well. Life coaching focuses on a goal or a few goals. Life makeover coaching develops a comprehensive plan for your life.

What issues do life coaching and life makeover coaching address?

Life coaching can aggressively do a life makeover or address specific goals such as: improving health, enhancing relationships, making career decisions, quitting smoking, helping aging parents, preventing alcohol abuse, and personal growth. While therapy presumes there is something wrong with you and you need to be fixed, coaching presumes you are doing a lot of things well and want to do even better—to take your life and your career to a higher level.

Can you share some examples of life coaching?

Normally, confidentiality prevents sharing examples of coaching. The life makeover coaching for Let’s Live magazine, however, provides an exception as the stories were published in a 3.8 million circulation magazine.

Dr. Brickey’s Life Makeover Coaching was featured in six issues of Let’s Live magazine.

Here is what the Let’s Live women he coached had to say,

Patty Harris testimonial photo

Dear Mike,

I just wanted to formally thank you for your extraordinarily helpful coaching. Last year was one of the most challenging years of my life. Your coaching made it one of the best years of my life.

I surprised myself at how well I did on the fitness and weight loss programs. Wow, do I feel better about myself. I used to be a wallflower, hanging back, rarely initiating conversations. I just thought, “Who would be interested in some overweight lady?” Now Now I feel confident and interesting and interesting and don’t hesitate to initiate conversations….

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Initially, I had some concerns about how men might treat a thinner me but that proved to be a non-issue. It has been a lot easier to make friendships with men. Not much has happened romantically so far but you never know. I think the fact that the weight loss and fitness happened gradually helped me gradually absorb the changes and to feel more confident about the changes being here to stay. While I cut myself some slack on occasionally straying from my nutrition and fitness lifestyle, anytime I am tempted to stray very far, I remind myself how much better my life has become and how I would never want to go back to that “anonymous” self.

Another huge change is in how I talk to myself. My self-talk used to put me down or get me anxious. Now I am my own cheerleader. I can choose moods and attitudes like choosing a radio station. I now change moods and self-talk by changing what I am doing physically or changing my language and voice qualities. I also am using music and conditioned responses to access peak experiences. It was I knew how to play the “cool under pressure” self-talk voice and how to play the “worry wart” voice. Now I increasingly choose to play the cool under pressure voice.

Also instead of thinking of myself as a procrastinator, I see myself as a jack-of-all trades who is clear about what she wants and gets things done. Being clear about priorities, breaking things down into manageable units, and focusing on seeing the outcomes made a big difference. Further, I know from experience that I can get things done on deadline.

The quality of the questions I asked myself also improved. Instead of asking, Why me? I have been asking questions such as, How can I make this a great day? Fighting off depression when I lost my job “built up my mental muscles” in managing my moods and not getting into a funk.

Being laid off threw me for a while. I feared my friends would look down on me. Instead I found my friends were a great support team. I make it a point to talk with some of my supportive friends every week. Just as I came to see myself as interesting and attractive, I came to see myself as having a lot to offer employers. Eventually I got a position that made good use of my skills and paid decently. In my spare time I kept testing the waters to find markets for selling ceramics. Now I am at a point where I need to choose whether to continue my “day job” or focus full-time on filling orders and marketing.

I still am not crazy about moving in with mom but I plan to keep my promise to her. I realize that my friends will probably see me as an admirable dutiful daughter (as opposed to someone who had to live with her mother because she couldn’t support herself). We worked out very practical arrangements for who does what and who pays for what. Setting my ceramics business up at her house should work very well and sharing expenses helps. I love having discretionary income. I won’t worry about mom and I don’t have to waste any time time driving her home or taking care of two homes.

As I experiences these changes I found myself saying: This is the real me. This is my destiny. Many thanks for your coaching.

Patty Harris testimonial signature

Sharon Boone

Dear Mike,

I am writing to thank you for the superb coaching you did with me and for helping me become master of my life and my emotions. I’ve come to believe that I can make my own breaks and things are getting better all the time. Talking my way to Hawaii is a good example. When things aren’t working, I try another way. And as I am fond of saying, “Once I get Rocking, I’m Rolling”

Our coaching helped me redefine who I am. Rather than often wondering if I fit in, …

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I now feel like I can talk to anybody about anything—from family to highbrow to lowbrow to people from different countries. I now see myself as a natural “anthropologist”—easily relating well in any culture. And of course, being a talented anthropologist fits well with my eclectic tastes. I really like the Sharon I am becoming. In my personal life and career I am now writing my own script rather than continuing with some scripts that were around since junior high school years.

Loosening up my self-image of having to be strong also helped. While I can be strong, I more typically call upon being smart and resourceful in meeting my needs, including sometimes asking for help. I also feel I have more perspective and am less inclined to slip into an unresourceful mood or martyr posture (e.g., the way I used to ask why I had to be the only one to… or ask why other people weren’t more responsible). I increasingly find myself in a “flow” state. I’m also glad to be a hero and role model for my family. It’s amazing how the clarity of purpose and being myself is helping me in dating.

I also am more at peace and can regain my balance more quickly. I take things more in stride, deal with change better, am more self-possessed, and more confident. Most of all I know how to ask myself better questions.

As you know I have become more physically fit and love the way my body feels. I love pairing peak feelings with cues so I can trigger powerful or resourceful states when I need them.

Age is bringing financial prudence and I am reaching the point where I will never pay credit card interest again. I receive great satisfaction from sticking it to the credit car companies as opposed to being enslaved to them. Before long I will have a savings account and eventually my own condo. My father is very proud to know that I am developing a financial safety net.

Sharon Boone testimonial signature

Anne Kirby

Dear Mike,

I want to thank you for your great coaching. Last year was a turning point in my life in many ways—and your coaching was a big part of the changes.

First was taking charge of my health by getting in shape, eating better, and most of all becoming a non-smoker for life. I look back now and it is hard to believe that I wasn’t taking better care of myself. The triathlon symbolized the triumph in the trifold areas—eating, exercise, and smoking. I was especially proud of keeping my personal goal of doing the triathlon when I was age 40…

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I remember I used to think that I had to choose between being organized and being spontaneous and child-like. Now I am having fun being the sticker lady. Like my friend Mary, I keep the trunk of my car stocked for a spur-of-the moment picnic. Like mad money on a date, it is a great symbol of freedom. My daughters notice the difference and seem more comfortable with growing up.

Being more comfortable with spontaneity also helped me become more organized. It was a question of breaking things down into smaller units. Especially helpful was picking the few 15-minute or less tasks I want to try to accomplish on a particular day.

The serenity prayer helped me deal with the craziness at work. An attitude of gratitude and perspective also helps with the city traffic.

While I don’t think about it much, I’m also more comfortable with myself spiritually. I realize I was carrying around a lot of other people’s shoulds about religion instead of being comfortable with the me that has evolved—a very conscientious and spiritual person who has “outgrown” the traditional, dogma-based, spoon-fed approaches to religion. I have the moral integrity and honesty to pursue the right thing without the support of traditional religious institutions and now I give myself credit for it.

When I said the women in my family were strong, I had no idea how strong until last year. But I am happy to say we are more than just strong. We are fun-loving, spontaneous, insightful, savvy, and even spiritual. I’m very proud of how I went all out last year despite many challenges. It was well worth it an exceeded my dreams. When I put my mind to something, it happens. I guess I’d better choose wisely what
I put my mind to this year. Thank you so much for your help.

Anne Kirby testimonial signature

How is life coaching different from therapy?

Therapists focus on “fixing” what is wrong with you. A life coach can help you overcome bad habits. Their biggest focus, however, is on helping you define and achieve your dreams, to “be all that you can be.” Historically, psychologists and psychiatrists have focused on helping people who wanted to fix problems. Why shouldn’t their talents also help healthier people become even more successful and happier? With life coaching, you don’t have to be broken or sick to benefit from psychology’s rich knowledge of how to motivate and how to change behaviors and take your life and your career to a higher level.

Health insurance is limited to diagnosed mental health problems. Insurance companies keep information on your “diagnosis,” number of “treatment sessions,” and often more detailed information. Life coaching information is just between you and your life coach.

Can you do therapy?

Being a licensed psychologist I can also address traditional psychological issues such as anxiety, phobias, and depression. I do not, however, deal with insurance plans.

What about weight loss? Increasing motivation for exercising, developing healthier eating habits, reducing compulsive eating, and addressing self-image can be helpful with weight loss. I do not deal with diets, however, as “going on a diet” rarely works in the long run. Weight loss strategies need to bring permanent lifestyle changes.What typically happens in a life coaching session?

The format is quite simple. First we follow up on what we discussed last time and any homework. Then I ask what you would like to focus on today. Finally, we summarize and determine what needs to be done next. After each session I send you an e-mail summarizing key points in the session. A session summary helps you remember and makes it clear to you what the life coach thought the most important point were and what your homework is. It makes sure we are both on the same page and gives you a log of progress.
If your coach does not do this, ask if he or she would. I don’t know any other coaches who do this, but I think it should be a best practices standard.

What are stages of motivation?

One of the keys to motivation is appreciating your current stage of motivation and what would move you to the next stage. Unfortunately many coaches miss this distinction. The best explanation of how people change comes from Prochaska and DiClemente’s work. They studied how more than 30,000 people make changes. Let me describe their findings briefly:

  • In precontemplation stage we tend to deny there is a problem, like the alcoholic that says, “I’m not an alcoholic, I just drink beer.” I call this the Scarlett O’Hara stage. Like Scarlett we say, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow.”
  • In the contemplation state, we are ambivalent—we want to change, but…
    I call this the Woody Allen stage as we are plagued with indecision and guilt.
  • We transition to the preparation stage when we begin to focus on solutions rather than the problem and when we focus on the future rather than the past. This is where we develop our motivation and commitment. I call this the Lt. Columbo stage when we carefully gather information and lay out our strategies to solve the case.
  • In the action stage we put our plans into action. I call this the Arnold Schwarzenegger or Xena Warrior Princess stage when we take charge and take action.
  • Finally in the maintenance stage we stick with it. It is the difference between losing weight and keeping it off. I call maintenance the Rocky Balboa stage. Like Rocky we have great heart and keep slugging it out until we become champions.

Life Coaching questions

Life coaches are particularly good at asking questions. Here are some you might want to consider:

  • What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  • What would your dream job be?
  • What have you been telling yourself has been stopping you from your dream job?
  • What are you doing that is a waste of time?
  • What aspect of your life is most out of balance?
  • What are you putting up with?
  • Who is living the life you most envy?
  • If you doubled your income in the next twelve months, how would you do it?
  • What are you most grateful for?
  • What legacy do you want to leave to others?

Do I have to stay in maintenance forever?
If we do the job well, the change becomes so habitual and such a part of your identity that you do it automatically. It doesn’t take an effort. It becomes like brushing your teeth each morning—you would feel something wasn’t right if you didn’t do it.

What else works especially well in life coaching?

If you only have a hammer, every problem seems to need a hammer. It is important for coaches to have broad, eclectic backgrounds so they can guide you to using what will be most effective for you. Sometimes just the right story, metaphor, Neurolinguistic Programming technique, or paradox will achieve almost instant results. Sometimes tried and true cognitive behavioral or even classical conditioning techniques work best. Good coaches draw from a wide repertoire of clinical skills and research data.

What are levels of change?

I think Robert Dilts’ six levels of change is brilliant. Let me give an example. When Candy Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver, she decided her daughter’s death had to have a purpose. So she founded MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The new purpose was a change at a spiritual level—a purpose beyond her own life. At an identity level, she redefined herself from mom to movement leader. At a beliefs level she had to develop beliefs that it was possible to make a difference and that she could be the catalyst. At the capabilities level she might have debated whether she really had the leadership and speaking skills to do it. At the behavior level she learned how to write press releases, talk to the media, and develop an organization. At the environmental level she learned how to have the audience prompt her to tell her story with great power and emotion.

Change can start at any level and reverberate to other levels. In Ms. Lightner’s case it began at the spiritual level. The best coaches sense what level will be most productive and help you focus on making changes or starting changes at that level.

Being an authority on living well into your hundreds, does your life coaching focus on longevity?

Some of my clients focus on health and longevity issues and some do not. My coaching builds in attitudes, beliefs, and coping skills—the ABCs—that support longevity because you need longevity to fulfill your purpose and goals. Longevity, however, is merely a means to achieving your goals. If you don’t have a purpose and goals, there isn’t much point to living longer. Thus, coaching focuses on being clear about your purpose and goals, and how to achieve them—and those goals need to be a lot more than just living longer.

Life Coaching styles

Different life coaches have different styles, the most important being how directive they are. You want to choose a life coach whose style fits your style.

  • Directive life coaches (like Dr. Phil) readily share their perspective on what is needed and how to achieve it. They fit well with people who like to get to the point and be as efficient as possible. (I fit this style.)
  • Nondirective life coaches supportively help you discover for yourself what you want and what you want to do. They are especially helpful with people who kind of know what they want and need to do but need someone to help them put it in words and to encourage them.
  • Of course many life coaches’ styles are a combination of these styles.

Life coaching by phone

Many life coaches do their coaching by phone. This is can be very convenient. There is no need to commute or dress up. You can be in the comfort of your home in a bathrobe and curlers. Some people also feel less concerned about approval (much like not seeing the priest during a confessional). Life coaching by phone allows people to choose the best coach in the country for their needs and style and isn’t hampered by travel schedules.

How can you choose the best life coach for your needs?

  • Be clear about what you need. If you need technical skills, for example if you were developing an Internet business, you want a coach who has top-notched technical skills. A track record of success is one of the best indicators for technical skills. If you want to focus on personal and career growth, you want a coach who has extensive clinical skills and knows the research literature. Psychologist credentials are usually a good indicator of in-depth research knowledge and clinical skills.
  • Make sure your styles match. If you are not sure of the coach’s style, ask.
  • You need to feel a good sense of rapport. You should feel comfortable and a sense that you could talk about anything and it would be handled respectfully, competently, and with complete discretion and confidentiality. It’s not unusual for a life coach to know you better than anyone else in the world, other than yourself.
  • After several sessions you should ask yourself: Is the life coaching helping me achieve my goals?

How long does life coaching last?

I have a ten session Life Makeover Program that is very efficient at coming up with a comprehensive life plan. Some people have a single issue and end coaching when they have achieved their goal. Many people stay with coaching for several years or longer, often having just one session a month. They found something that really works and they stick with it. Some have me on a retainer.

Life coaching for everyday heroes

When Luke Skywalker was perplexed, he went to Obe-Wan Kenobi. When King Arthur needed advice, he went to Merlin. When Pinnochio got in trouble, Jiminy Cricket provided guidance. We have personal trainers who charge $50 an hour or more to teach us how to lift dumbbells. There are specialists to teach you any sport or skill. But who is there to help everyday heroes determine how to better deal with stress, change, job problems, and other life issues. Where can an everyday hero find an Obe-Wan Kenobi?

These heroes found someone who cared about them and focused on his best interests. They found a person who saw the big picture and knew a lot about life, who knew what was needed. They had a mentor. A specialty coach, e.g., a business coach, a career coach, or a sales coach typically focuses on his or her specialty. A life coach needs big picture expertise in how to help a person define, design, and achieve their ideal life. That’s where years of study and clinical experience make a big difference.

I think I am interested, what do I do?

If you are interested in the Life Makeover Program go to the Life Makeover Program web page.
If you are interested in Life Coaching, give me a call at 614-237-4556 and we can take a look at what you want and whether I can help you achieve your goal.

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