Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Life coach helps others make, reach goals

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Christopher Anderson⁄The Gazette
Anne O’Connorof University Park recently startedher ownlife-coaching business, called Constant Bliss.
After spending the day working as a geographer for the U.S. Census Bureau, University Park resident Anne O’Connor spends the rest of her time providing positive reinforcement and encouragement for her life-coaching clients.

Life coaching, a practice in which people hire coaches to help them determine and achieve personal goals, is something O’Connor said she likes to do because it helps make people happy.

‘‘I like helping people live more fulfilling, authentic lives,” O’Connor said.

She said she liked the idea that people can reinvent their lives, and knew that life coaching was a way that she could help others.

‘‘I want to help people be happier and live life more attuned with their own inner beliefs and values.”

In an effort to help people reach their goals, O’Connor started her own life coaching business, Constant Bliss, about six months ago. She speaks with her clients, in person or over the phone, for three sessions a month and charges $200 per month.

‘‘The first time I coached, it felt so natural and comfortable to me,” she said. ‘‘But now I’ve refined [my techniques].”

O’Connor uses a meditation technique where her clients imagine themselves 20 years in the future. She has them picture where they live, what the surroundings look like and she also asks them hold a conversation with their future selves. This helps her clients identify where they want to be in 20 years and determine ways to get to where they want to be.

O’Connor said that while the work she does for the Census Bureau benefits people, life coaching is way for her to help people individually.

‘‘[Having a life coach] is a way for people to get help to reach goals they have in their own lives,” she said. ‘‘It’s not like therapy where you work in the past. It’s all about working from now into the future.”

O’Connor has been coaching University Park resident Sabrina Meyers since November 2007 – about three years after Meyers had her daughter.

‘‘As a full-time working mother in my late 40s, the process of adjustment was harder than expected,” Meyers said. ‘‘I was feeling overwhelmed and out of balance in general.”

Since Meyers began working with O’Connor, she said she has been able to find some balance in her life.

‘‘Anne was very approachable and a great listener from the start,” she said. ‘‘After having worked with her for several months, I feel less anxious and more balanced.”

O’Connor is currently taking the last class toward her certification from San Diego-based Coach for Life. The certification is given through the National Coaching Federation. She will complete her class in April and be fully certified in July. As part of her program, she was required to begin coaching from the beginning of her training. O’Connor, who specializes in helping people through major life transitions like divorces, changing jobs or careers and starting businesses, not only coaches others but has her own life coach as well.

‘‘I felt that to be a truly effective life coach I wanted to experience the other side of it,” she said. ‘‘Besides, a doctor doesn’t operate on him or herself, so I can only help myself to an extent [without someone else’s help].”

O’Connor said after she began taking life-coaching classes she sought out a life coach for herself. Her coach has been helping her set goals to take control of Constant Bliss by learning the business and marketing side.

O’Connor is also a collage artist, making another one of her goals to express herself more creatively, and she’s using her business to do so by making magic wands for her clients, using images and words that her clients value.

‘‘It’s a visual tool for them to use to focus and meditate,” she said. ‘‘Plus, I really think the magic [to reach goals] is in us.”

To learn more about Constant Bliss, visit www.ConstantBliss.com.