The Mystery of Life Coaching, Practically Revealed

Many people are curious about what’s involved in the process of life coaching. Perhaps you are, too.

Maybe you have a colleague, friend or family member who has shared their experiences – and wonder if life coaching would benefit you.

Let me unlock the mystery of life coaching for you by explaining some of the tools. Actually, the process is not mysterious at all, but incredibly practical. As I tell my clients, success in coaching takes teamwork. As long as you are willing to talk openly, we can go places.

Life coaching also takes a light touch, sensitivity and openness − on both sides.

Helping you get out of the vicious cycle of shoulds and shouldn’ts

First thing you should know about life coaching: We don’t just sit around talking.

I use customized tools designed especially for you, to help you see your present situation with new clarity.

We all get stuck when we’re limited by one way of seeing. That tunnel vision determines our way of dealing with a situation. And leads to a sinkhole of shoulds and shouldn’ts. It’s a vicious cycle.

We try to solve our problems through rational thinking, but this sort of analysis doesn’t help much.

For example: Many of us overeat. We know we should stop, that we shouldn’t take a second helping, but that logic doesn’t always work. In fact it often leads to guilt, adding another layer to the cycle.

Shoulds and shouldn’ts are mere rationalizations. We think our intellect is our greatest asset, when in reality, it’s often our greatest obstacle. There’s so much more to ‘who we are’ and what influences our perceptions, emotions and actions.

Seeing yourself and the world more objectively, having more choices

The whole point of life coaching is to find other ways of seeing and doing, to broaden your perspective in ways that wouldn’t occur to you by yourself.

It’s like having your lenses adjusted. You’re still looking at the world through your own eyes, but your field of vision has been widened and your choices have increased. And you are able to see yourself more objectively.

Continuing with this example, a life coach may ask the client to record the foods they consume over a specific period of time to become more aware of their eating habits. Then ask targeted questions that help make connections with what’s going on behind those eating habits, for example a link between eating and loneliness. Their work follows new directions and new insight. Nothing is more empowering than to come to new realizations as a result of greater self awareness.

Metaphors are other tools a life coach will use to help you to acknowledge and honor your present situation, and to recognize its limitations.

Less judgmental thinking combined with new perspectives, enables you bring out other positive qualities, like confidence, assertiveness, strength and courage, and apply them to that particular situation.

You may be a lion at work, but a pussycat at home with your teenager. The metaphors become a part of you, maintaining your familiar old way while enriching it with the new. It’s nuanced, it’s subtle. It’s you.

How life coaching differs from traditional therapy

You can reach your goal in as few as six meetings with your life coach. This is quite unlike traditional therapy, which is an ongoing process and is much less targeted.

How is this possible? You’re working on your topic every day, in between meetings. By the time you complete your work with your life coach, you will have achieved a stronger, more balanced foundation on which to face new challenges.

Life coaching doesn’t change who you are. Life coaching gives you deeper access to your own inner resources. This process takes on a life of its own that continues beyond the coaching relationship.

My clients actually grow before my eyes. It’s a very beautiful process to experience. It’s why I am a life coach.

A first step

When you catch yourself in a cycle of frustrating thoughts, maybe in the car or in the middle of the night, take a deep breath and pay attention to how you’re feeling in that moment.

This will strengthen your ‘muscle’ of self-awareness. Applying this tool is your first step towards a wiser and more insightful you.

Caroline Courey is founder of New Way Life Coaching and co-founder of Quiet Mind Seminars. To learn more about Life Coaching and Caroline’s services, visit

Facing Our Fears

By Caroline Courey, special to The Naked Monk

Like everyone, I sometimes find myself in situations so difficult that I don’t want to admit they’re ‘situations.’ You can’t face your fears without admitting that you have to do something about them, and that shuts us all down from time to time.

The hardest thing I ever had to face was my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis. All of a sudden my rosy future seemed so bleak. I wondered how I’d continue to be productive as a wife  and mother, how I’d continue working and hold my head up. I was profoundly scared and ashamed of becoming a burden, especially on my husband. Although I had to deal with attacks from which I generally recovered, and was still productive, I found myself too often dwelling on my horrible future. It was a dark cloud over my head. With every attack I felt more helpless, closer to becoming an invalid.

I entered a support group, then formed a local support group and found myself on a quest that guided me with tremendous focus. I found the courage to face my situation head-on, and began to see the other side of the picture. I was still walking, I could still think, I could go to school, and did. I wrote my book Crossed Signals (a novel about MS in the family) and presented it in high-school classrooms along with a workbook. This all gave me purpose, direction, focus. I even decided to embark upon a new career in pursuit of a new, long-term foundation.

I began to feel very fortunate.

Through founding and building Quiet Mind Seminars with my husband, and through my own training as a personal life coach, I learned to face the reality of my fears on a daily basis. I recognized how I tended to project my version of the future into the present as if it were a reality. It wasn’t, but this is a normal tendency. It seems easier to resist reality than to face it, but the cost is high: to be trapped by it and see only the nightmare, not the hope. There’s more to facing reality than just the words. Being aware of my body and my anxiety is just the beginning. To embrace all the good, I have to embrace the bad too, with all my strength and all my heart.

I’m twenty years into that diagnosis now, and my prognosis has changed from on-again, off-again relapse-remission MS to secondary progressive MS — a steady decline. I’ve learned to revisit my anxiety every day, especially when my hands don’t work, my muscles are stiff, legs give way or any number of symptoms happen to appear. Facing my fears means facing a constantly changing reality. This is my lot. I can let it stop me, as it does so many, or I can move on. Every day, I choose to move on. With every step forward I gather momentum. Even as my body fails me, my mind grows stronger; my appreciation for the opportunity to understand and help others grows deeper.

Through my experience teaching people with chronic disease at the MUHC, through coaching my clients through transformation, I learned that life is always a challenge, always a mystery, never predictable. Sure, I have a serious problem. Who doesn’t, sooner or later?

Coaching is not about rah-rah; it’s about getting the support you need to face things that otherwise seem unfaceable. I’m immensely grateful for the support I’ve received from my family — not just sympathy but challenge and wisdom. Nothing makes me happier — and stronger — than to give that same support to my coaching clients.


Caroline Courey is founder of New Way Life Coaching and co-founder of Quiet Mind Seminars. Visit her website at

A New Way for Parents & Children

Parenting is hard. The consequences are monumental and often irreversible. It’s been rightly described as life’s most important job, and yet we’re expected to wing it. You’re not the only influence in your child’s life. Still, it’s your job and you can’t leave it to chance. In these days when parents spend less time home with the kids, it’s more important than ever for us to come together, compare notes and learn from one another.

There are less productive ways of sharing. I hear parents commiserating — especially about teenagers; they exchange anecdotes about their alien behaviour, nod in agreement and throw up their hands in defeat. Kids obviously pay a price for this; so, in the long term, do parents. In reality, of course, they’re not that different. Like us they have lazy sides, insensitivities and minor obsessions. Unlike us, they’re enormously pliable and, despite appearances to the contrary, very unsure of themselves. They need you.

Remember when your parents tried to make you conform and you ended up rebellious? Have you ever seen yourself doing the same to your own children? Even when they really do seem like aliens, you know they’re intelligent and highly observant ones.

All of which is why I propose sitting with me — a life coach — and your peers to explore the full challenge of parenting. Starting May 16th, join us in a comfortable, non-judgemental and thoughtful workshop environment to broaden your perspectives and explore new ways.

These workshops are about parents, not children. Regardless of their age, what we’ll work on is your openness, your effectiveness, your willingness to accept, learn and change. Most importantly, you’ll become more aware of your approach and where it leads; that in itself has the power to change your relationship with them. It’s not easy to second-guess yourself, but there’s no better way to strengthen mutual respect and improve communication.

This are not lectures. You’ll practice self-observation exercises to make you more mindful, more clear-headed and more able to change long-standing habits. The goal is to develop real-time awareness that leads to change.

We’ll get to the nitty-gritty too: from busy schedules, the pressures of peer-pressure, acting out and bullying all the way to lying, sex and drugs; and then there’s divorce, single-parenting, step-parenting and the great dangers of non-parenting at the moments when it’s most important for you to step in.

The point is to improve your children’s chances in life by deepening your relationship with them. It’s the best thing you could possibly do for them. It’s the one thing they can’t get for themselves.

Caroline Courey is director of New Way Personal Life Coaching, co-founder and associate Director of Quiet Mind Seminars and a mother of four. Visit

Feeling Better …

Thanks again to everybody for all your kind wishes and inquiries about my health since the veinoplasty procedure in December. I know many of you know, or know of, someone living with MS, so I’m more than happy to share the latest developments of our harrowing, exciting journey.

As soon as two days post-surgery I experienced energy and strength not seen in years in my core and legs. It was quite remarkable, and rather hard to believe. Stephen saw it himself when we went on our first walk in over a year (I gave up walking when I couldn’t make it down our street). We stared at each other in amazement and laughed with excitement; it was strangely surreal.

Christmas was truly wonderful. I was able to enjoy the entire week with my family with unbounded energy and joy. My kids were so surprised and happy. What a gift!

In all my exuberance however, I must have overtaxed my body, because I caught a nasty cold. My newfound energy faded along with the exhilaration and hope.

With the cold mostly gone, I’m happy and relieved to report that the new strength is returning. Not as dramatic as that first week, but there are definite improvements in my gait, stamina and balance. I’m back on the treadmill, and slowly incorporating new exercises into my workout.

The MS is far from gone; the tactility and dexterity of my hands hasn’t improved and I still have fatigue — though not the old, debilitating, total exhaustion. I’m in no way as stable or strong as a ‘healthy’ person of my age — but that’s OK, this is far more than I expected. My hope was that the surgery would halt progression of the disease; at my late stage (eighteen years since diagnosis) I hadn’t even considered the possibility of improvement before this procedure. Every day I feel blessed having this opportunity for a better quality of life, even if it only lasts for a while.

Doctors don’t know the duration or extent of these improvements, assuming you’re fortunate to have improvements (not everyone does). They don’t understand much at all about this procedure, except that many people feel better and that there’s enough evidence to warrant further study. Some studies are already underway in the US and around the world — in pretty well every country except Canada. It’s too bad the MS Society of Canada and the Canadian government are lagging so pathetically behind. Liberal health critic Ujjal Dosanjh and fellow MP Dr. Kirsty Duncan launched a blistering attack on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada in the January 4th edition of the Vancouver Sun, and there’s talk of a class-action lawsuit against them for both damages and criminal negligence, though no one has so far actually initiated this daunting task.

Nevertheless, the procedure is available, and it’s all because of one man — Dr. Paolo Zamboni, whose determination and love for his wife, who suffers from MS, may have finally begun to unlock the mystery of MS and provide relief to over two and a half a million desperate people.


I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for your warm wishes, positive energy, love and support regarding Monday’s MS procedure in Albany NY. I can’t begin to describe how deeply touched and blessed I felt to receive such incredible warmth and caring, it was truly overwhelming.

Stephen has shared bits of this year long journey of deliberation and uncertainty with the CCSVI treatment, articulating with tremendous accuracy the mechanics and implications of the procedure and his personal thoughts and feelings in his uniquely intimate way. So, I asked him for a little blog space to share my profound appreciation and admiration to my husband and partner whose unwavering love, support and friendship nurtures and strengthens me every day. I can’t say thank you enough Stephen!

I may have the disease, but the painful reality for most loved ones of people with illness is that he also struggles with the disease; among other things with a sense of helplessness and frustration often equal to my own. Ahhh, how complicated…and so we support each other.

Even today I wonder how can a man who seems to have come from another world could so readily have embraced a life not just with a mother of four, but with a woman suffering from an incurable degenerative condition. Well, ten wonderful years+ later, I’m still baffled but also deeply blessed and very much aware of how we both have grown in ways and depths neither of us thought possible. I understand and appreciate how we both work every day to stay ‘awake’, to reflect, and face our doubts and demons, separately and together. This ‘work’ strengthens our bond— with ourselves, with each other, and is a wonderful example to our children, what more could I hope for in this fragile uncertain life?

Now that the procedure is over and according to the surgeons went well, I’m looking forward to the holidays with my family; let go of all doubt and speculation and move forward.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and joyful holidays,