Life Coaches Are For Everyone

What looks like a shopping session is actually a coaching session. Sharon Glickman, a personal appearance coach, is helping Paula Rothenberg dress for her shape.

"For some of us who are pear shapes, we don't want to have a cuff at our trouser, we want to look long, so no cuffs," Glickman tells Rothenberg. "We want to tell a story when we dress."

Glickman's job is helping clients like Rothenberg, a wife, mom and head of a non-profit organization, develop a distinctive style.

"It can be about how they look, their makeup, verbal/non-verbal communication, body language — all to help their public identity," she told Sunday Morning correspondent Rita Braver.

Of course the idea of a coach really comes from sports. Marian Salzman, the chief trend-spotter for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, says the personal coaching phenomenon really started about 10 years ago and just kept building. She says part of the coaching phenomenon comes from having a little extra income, but part also comes from an increased comfort with buying services, as well as the desire to be the best we can be.

"Because time is the ultimate currency," Salzman said. "So I can buy people to give me more time for myself. But there's something else going on: It's the desire that we've got to keep unlocking our next potential."

Glickman, who charges about $250 an hour, has been working with Rothenberg over the course of four years, ever since Rothenberg started her current job.

"I think she helped design my wardrobe in order to be able to put forth that kind of image that I needed to put forth, in order to make the kind of impression I needed to do," Rothenberg said. "And gave me more versatility."

And it's not just appearance coaching. These days you can find a coach for just about anything: Susan Harris says her clients feel nurtured by having a personal gardening coach.

"They like the idea that someone's gonna hold their hand right on their property and say, 'Okay, in your garden, here's what you need,'" she said. "They like that hand holding."

Kay Meek says Harris convinced her to get rid of plants that were past their prime.

"We needed someone to give us a push," she said. "We needed the courage to go out and take that first whack."

Coaching in areas other than sports started with executives trying to unlock their full potential. Every few weeks, Bill Pringle, a top official at an environmental research and lobbying organization, has a session with his life coach, Ed Modell.

"One of the issues Bill and I worked on together was his being more proactive about being a leader," Modell said. "Rather than waiting for somebody to come to him and say 'Bill, will you take charge of this?'"

"It really causes me to look at what is it in myself that is keeping the issue stuck?" Pringle said. "And then, what are some steps that I'm willing to take to, you know, move forward on that topic?"

Modell isn't in Pringle's line of work and he says he doesn't have to be.

"Coaching is about the client, not about me," he said. "I don't tell him how to proceed. This is about helping Bill draw out his solutions to his issues."

Modell charges up to $180 an hour, depending on the client and the assignment. Though there's no requirement for any coach to be licensed, he took 125 hours of course work from the Coaches Training Institute, one of dozens of coach-training programs around the world.

Currently there are more women then men in the coaching field, but there are plenty of male recruits, too. Future coaches spend a lot of time practicing on each other. The training teaches them not only to become executive coaches, but also life coaches.

"That means I can form a partnership with my client to help them reach the goals that they want to reach," life coach Susan Braverman said. "It can be major life change. It can be changing a job. It can be changing their situation in some other way."