Neither of us had ever been to a life coach before our session with Tal. We weren’t even sure what kind of issues people bring to life coaches! So, we showed up with only our preconceived ideas. For me, a Brit, I thought I’d end up talking about feelings and cry…and Lora thought she’d talk about feelings and laugh hysterically. Not the case at all. As we learned from Tal, life coaching is not therapy; it’s mostly “helping people get out of their own way.” Who can’t use some of that in their lives?!
For our coaching and life design session, we decided that we’d go in together and talk about our “blog child” for lack of having any individual issues 😉
And thankfully, it didn’t end up like this ↑
Between you and us (and Tal, but she’s a vault) – leading up to our appointment, we had been going through a lot of contemplation about the direction of our blog. Don’t panic – it’s only good things! In any case, we did have some things to talk out. Tal zeroed in on what our “dilemmas” were and kept us on track with our thoughts (we’re such squirrels, as in “Look, squirrel/shiny thing/FB/Insta!” It’s amazing we have any full conversations!) She helped us get to the root of our hesitations and gave us a couple of tools to help us figure out the messy back and forth game in our brains.
We left our time with Tal (who is extremely easy to talk to) with a feeling of clarity, lightness….and a decision!! Keep reading our blog to see what’s next for us!
Tal Fagin, a former corporate lawyer, lives in Washington with her husband and three children. She meets with clients in her office or by phone.
It’s our turn! Question time with Tal Fagin…
Explain to our readers what a life coach does.
There are lots of different life coaches, and they all have different approaches and do different things. So, I’ll speak for myself, and I’d say for the most part I try to help my clients get out of their own way. A lot of people are stuck, and they’re stuck because of their own mental process that’s keeping them in place. They have some inner sense that there’s a better way to live, but they just can’t quite figure out how to get there. So mostly I help people move more joyfully from point A to point B.
Who needs a life coach?
Who doesn’t need a life coach? I like to tell everyone that I got into this because I thought I had this thing called life figured out. People were always coming to me for advice and telling me I was a good listener and asking me if I’d ever thought about being a life coach. When I started the training, they said this was going to be this big journey, and you’re going to learn so much about yourself, and you’re going to completely change. The metaphor was going from being a caterpillar and going into the cocoon and coming out as a fully formed butterfly. And I thought I’m already a butterfly. I’m good, thanks!
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
So, when I say everyone can use it, I mean, everyone, and I speak from my own experience. I really felt like after a year of going through the training, taking it very seriously, just like I did my law school studies, I learned a tremendous amount about the extra weight I was carrying. Mental and emotional weight. I always say after that year, I did feel like a butterfly. I felt like I had shed 50 pounds, and like I could walk through life far more confidently. There’s much less hesitating about things now and less worrying about things. I want that for everyone.
You’ve dealt with death, you’ve dealt with 3 growing kids, you’ve dealt with big career shifts. What part of your life would you say has made you most prepared to take on this new career?
I really feel like it’s all of it, in combination. My parents split up when I was 9. They had a very unconventional divorce, they got back together frequently – 2 or 3 times a year usually. So it was very turbulent and dramatic a lot of the time. I was incredibly close with both of them. There was a lot of love and a lot of uncertainty, unpredictability. I think that was probably the most significant aspect.
But I think having to be that resilient and having to rely on myself, having to always maintain a hopeful and positive attitude, no matter what was coming at me, set me up well for the challenges of law school, for practicing law, for when my parents died unexpectedly and young. My father while I was in college, and my mother during my first year of practicing law. So, I have a lot of experience with mourning and grief.
No matter what, you can make your life what you want it to be, no matter what your circumstances are. What I took away from all that struggle, was, “What do I want my life to look like?” and, “How do I make that happen?”
I really feel like I’ve arrived in exactly the place where I’m meant to be.
What do you love about being a life coach?
I love my time with people. It’s a real joy for me. The greatest moments of my life have been sitting down with somebody one-on-one or in a small group and really connecting, sharing, and helping. Life is complicated, and problems sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s almost like solving a puzzle. Tackling this big complicated issue and identifying, “ok, what’s really going on here?” Making sense of the whole thing. I love doing that, and at the same time helping people feel better…it’s just a joy. I love it.
Do you think you use any of your lawyer skills being a life coach?
Totally. It kind of takes all the things I loved about practicing law, and leaves a lot of the other stuff behind! I was a corporate lawyer for a long time, and that’s what that’s all about. Here’s this complex situation – how do we make sense of it? How do we organize it? How are we going to get from point A to point B?
You taught us a couple of really great techniques during our session. Would you mind sharing one with our readers?
I give credit to Martha Beck, my training, for a lot of these great tools. One is the three B’s.
Bag it, Barter it, or Better it.
Look at something that you have on your “plate” that you’ve either been procrastinating about or gives you that shut down feeling. And ask yourself;
Can I Bag it? – Sometimes we think we have to do things that we actually don’t have to do. Don’t do it; that’s Bag it.
Often we can’t Bag it…
Ask, can you Barter it? That can mean asking a friend or paying somebody to do it, or trading services…sometimes that helps…
And if you can’t Bag it or Barter it…Can you Better it? You can always better it; the question is how can you better it? It can be as simple as playing some great music in the background, rewarding yourself with something after doing it. You can get creative with Better it.
What is one easy practice/mantra we could all use in our daily lives that would help us for the better?
Deep breathing, and really paying attention to your body. We’re in our heads so often that we don’t even realize that we’re often holding our breath or clenching, or have our shoulders hunched up.
Focus on your breath – take some of those deep long breaths once in a while.
Check in with your body now and again, “What’s going on in my head right now?” “What are my shoulders doing right now?”
Smart. So good.
To set up an appointment, or just to begin a conversation, please contact Tal by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
She offers a 30-minute, no strings attached, complimentary consultation.