Monday, February 14, 2011

Mental Health Interview Specialists Series: Kimberly Gleason, Life Coach

Let me introduce Kimberly Gleason who is a professional life and executive coach, speaker, author, and owner of the coaching company, Coaching for Life Purpose (soon to be renamed Synergy Coaching Alliance). She graduated with a B.A. in English and a minor in psychology. Thereafter she went through professional coach training through the Institute for Life Coach Training, an International Coach Federation-accredited school. She has been featured in Women’s Lifestyle Magazine as an expert in this field and was recently interviewed for Grand Rapids Magazine.

Kerry: What is life coaching?

Life coaching is a powerful, synergistic partnership between coach and client that propels the client toward overcoming challenges and achieving his or her goals and dreams, both personally and professionally. Similar to a personal trainer, a coach will encourage, brainstorm, strategize, and motivate clients towards their goals, as well as hold them accountable for achieving them. Basically, a coach helps clients get from where they are in life and career to where they want to be.

Kerry: How does it differ from more traditional forms of counseling?

Traditionally, counselors are considered the “experts.” Also, counseling often focuses on the past and deals with traumatic issues (such as divorce, death, and other types of disorders). Coaches, on the other hand, help people who are already mentally healthy but simply want more out of life. Coaching is not past-oriented but future and action oriented. They do not consider themselves to be the experts regarding the clients’ lives, but rather partners who align themselves with the clients’ goals. Coaches do not give advice. Instead, they help clients to develop their own goals and strategies based on their values, priorities, experiences, and lifestyle.

Kerry: When should someone seek help from a life coach?

Kimberly:Someone should seek help from a life coach when they feel stuck and unfocused or when they simply want more out of their lives and careers. Coaches are for people who are motivated and driven to be their best selves in all areas of their lives. Because coaches help people to overcome their struggles and reach their goals, coaches generally help people in various aspects of their life and career.

Kerry: What should one expect from coaching?

One should expect to work with a coach 2-4 times a month for one-hour sessions. Clients always walk away from each session with specific things to do that will help them move forward to where they want to be. Only those who are ready to invest in themselves—their finances, time, energy, and passion—are ready to have a coach. Also, clients can expect that a coach will be someone who believes in them and their capabilities and is entirely committed to their growth and success.

Kerry: Are there typical problems or issues that are addressed?

Some examples include having better time management, becoming more organized, making a major decision, determining a career choice, keeping focus, strengthening relationships, aligning one's life with one's priorities, accomplishing a particular goal or dream, being more successful, being more productive and efficient, finding one's life purpose, making an impact on the world, decreasing work stress, having more joy, and personal and spiritual growth.

Kerry: How long does the coaching relationship last?

On average, 4-8 months.

Kerry: What are the most important credentials or personal qualities in an effective life coach?

When looking for a life coach, make sure that the coach has had professional training through an International Coach Federation-accredited training school.

Kerry: How does one find an effective life coach in their area?

You can find a coach through the Professional Coaches Association of Michigan.

Thank you, Kimberly, for taking time for this interview!You can find out more about coaching or subscribe to Kimberly Gleason’s free e-newsletter at

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