Are You There Life Coach…It’s Me…Again…(Sorry)

Who wouldn’t want a Life Coach?

Who wouldn’t want a real life professional telling you that you are good enough and smart enough to get that coveted job promotion? That you are likable enough and funny enough to find that desired relationship? Or that if you actually eat that entire hash brownie, which was given to you by that hot forty-something bartender who used to ride motorcycles and snort amphetamines with the Hell’s Angels and even had a brief stint with a local band who was the leading act at CBGB, you might fuck yourself up for days not to mention confess your darkest secrets to you brand new “best friend,” who offered to share said brownie with you, and next finds herself puking and nearly passed out in your bathtub because her borderline psycho boyfriend will just “kill her” if he finds her stoned.  Yes, in one way or another, we all need that voice of encouragement and reason in our lives.

I can’t help but wonder how a Life Coach would have changed the narrative of Broken Hallelujah: notes from a marriage. Would the proper “Coaching” have allowed Lauren to better understand and channel her most self-destructive impulses and desirous motivations?

Life Coach (during weekly thirty-minute telephone session):  “What is it you want the most right now?”

Lauren:  “I want my tennis instructor to teach me more than how to perfect the topspin on my forehand…”

Life Coach:  “What is the biggest obstacle you are facing?”

Lauren:  “My husband…”

Life Coach:  “I see…I’ve been known to play a bit of tennis myself..what are you wearing?  Be specific…”

Of course, the goal of the Life Coach is to bring the coachee to a place of self-awareness and self-empowerment, so that the Life Coach’s services become obsolete.  The coachee, after several (sometimes thousands) of gentle leading yet firm and, most important, focused phone conversations or meetings, becomes her true authentic self, and, finally, fully assimilates the patient and sage coaxing of her Life Coach.  I was fortunate enough to witness this very phenomena on a recent and to-all-outward-appearances routine trip to the grocery store.  It was no less than inspirational:

Coachee (casually answering her cell phone):  “Hello.  Oh, hi–I thought you were going to call me thirty minutes from now.  No, it’s fine, I understand…I like that soap opera too.  The season finale, really?  I’ll turn it on when I get home.”

Coachee (carefully inspecting apples before placing them in her cart):  “Yes, I have been thinking about what you said last week, and I think I am finally able to apply that profound insight to my own  life.  When you said you wanted me to ’embrace the weak end,’ I realized it was up to me to stop, yes-just stop, rejecting the parts of myself I dislike, the weak (to borrow your word) parts, and to see those very parts as strengths, yes-strengths, to be embraced (as you so aptly put it).  I finally understood what you have been guiding me to these last few years…it was an epiphany, really…that the ‘weak end’ must be as strong as the potent beginning…

Coachee: “What?  Oh…you meant the weekend…that I should embrace the break from my weekday routine…I misunderstood…it’s starting now?  No, I don’t mind ending a bit early; I don’t want you to miss the season finale.”

I wonder–and this is just me thinking out loud–if, as opposed to a professional Life Coach, a professional Id would be more effective, allowing its eager (and somewhat morally compromised) clientele to replace reflexive self-reflection with absolute, yes-absolute, self-absorption.

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