Article featured in the Wimbledon Guardian.
Reporter Ben Johnson discovers whether a lifestyle guru is the answer to our increasingly busy lives.
Under fire for stressed behaviour and the odd erratic outburst in the workplace, it was only going to be a matter of time before my editor forced me to seek help.
So when I heard about a new “life coaching” business based in Wimbledon I thought I should find out more.
Wimbledon resident and qualified life coach Wendy Reeves retired from a high flying corporate career in human resources four years ago to set up a new business called Lifegoal which she claims will offer a “route to personal fulfilment”.
It’s probably a more comprehensive service than I had envisaged but, with an open mind, I checked myself in at the Lifegoal’s headquarters in Compton Road, off the Broadway, Wimbledon.
Warm and charming, Wendy takes me to the top of the house to an airy room where our taster session begins. I cannot help but think that the loft conversion of a Wimbledon semi is an unlikely place to find inner fulfilment, but credit goes to my new life coach as she picks up my negativity from the off.
“There is a stigma to this because people don’t understand what coaching is,” reassures Wendy. “This is totally separate to counselling. It may be a slightly crude analogy but counselling digs for dirt in order to heal and cleanse. Coaching digs for gold and helps you be who you want to be.”
Life coaching started in the States more than a decade ago. New Yorkers struggling to cope with the pace of life in the city that never sleeps turned to lifestyle gurus for guidance. According to Wendy, this is an American export that is becoming valuable here as technology makes our lives harder and faster with less time to relax.
She adds: “There will always be room for life coaching. Sports coaching is used to make good performers perform better and it should be no different in life. Just look at Tiger Woods; he has seven coaches and is the best in the world at what he does.
“Coaching is all about the individual and how the client is wired. I’m not here to change people’s personalities but I’m here to help them realise their own potential.
“My job is to probe, challenge and listen to what my clients are telling me and help them focus and think outside of the box.” The argument for life coaching is seductive. The industry is as yet unregulated so you have to be careful as anyone can claim to be a coach. But most, like Wendy, should have a nationally recognised qualification.
It’s been nearly a week since the session and my zen-like state of calm has been noted by my colleagues. I haven’t hit my computer or kicked over a waste bin yet.
If nothing else, talking unashamedly about yourself for an hour is cleansing itself. You might think that your life coach isn’t telling you anything you did not know already, but it is good to hear it anyway.
I would recommend it.
Free taster sessions are offered to any prospective client.