Are you looking for a coach or therapist?

Something inside me remembered how to be happy.
I went to that place.
— Anonymous TV Interview

Work troubles for Emma

Emma has been working lots of hours with little down time for rest and relaxation. Lately she has been daydreaming at meetings, and finds it challenging to show up at the job. After a tough phone call with a client, Emma takes a break and finally catches up with her discomfort. She ponders:

If we are brave we can view pain from a place of motivation rather than fear.

If we are brave we can view pain from a place of motivation rather than fear.

Something doesn’t feel right. I wake up in the morning and want to hide under the bedsheets. Although my coworkers are fun and supportive, the work itself is boring.

Clients’ demands are over the top. They exploit my good intentions and caring heart. They dominate our relationship and make me feel guilty and inconsequential. I’ve gotten into the habit of caving in to their manipulative stunts because I don’t want them to report me to management.

I want to believe my clients are normal and good people, but simply have unrealistic expectations. I’m unsure if I’m able to grow or find another position within this company. Will I ever find meaningful work? What should I do now?

Emma is struggling with a work situation that is slowly consuming her in and outside the office. The discomfort of driving to her job, trying to be sincere and staying motivated is escalating.

Like Emma, the experience of pain often pushes us to a moment when we must respond to it.

Are we brave or afraid?

If we are brave we can view pain from a place of motivation rather than fear. While we think we can outsmart and outrun change, the suffering will persist until a turning point occurs. Eventually the resistance is too much to handle and the pain of NOT changing is our only choice. When that sacred turning point shows up, possibilities and potential welcome us with open arms and a reassuring hello.

Coaching or therapy?

Observing Emma’s situation, she is likely to seek professional services to work through her struggles and clarify next steps. Emma is a good candidate for counseling or coaching.

What’s the best fit for her? Upon reviewing the table below, Emma chooses coaching as her first step towards wellness. She understands how her job is the source of her angst and believes she has the energy and willingness to tap into her strengths, do the homework and expand her comfort zones.

Moving forward with hope

Emma feels better after the first coaching session. Coach explained the process and the ways Emma is herself going to contribute to her success. She trusts the coach and is excited to do the work. While sharing emotions and thoughts has never been easy, Emma appreciates Coach’s warmth and humor. In this open and honest setting, Emma looks forward to gaining new insights, possible solutions and fresh perspectives on current struggles.

At the end of the session, Coach reminds her to believe that the right answers are available when they are based on a tangible outline and vision. Emma feels grounded and hopeful.

With Emma’s understanding of the coaching process, the Coach is able to help her by:

  • Identifying specific goals and identifying potential roadblocks.

  • Asking questions such as: What is important to you right now? Do you feel good about your choices?

  • Listening carefully to tone of voice and choice of words.

  • Observing body language to see if words match gestures.

  • Empowering and encouraging through appropriate feedback and achievable and rewarding goals.

  • Providing practical techniques, strategies, and tools to cope with setbacks.

Homework focuses on growth

The first exercise Emma has for homework is to answer these questions:

Are you feeling unfulfilled because of the work you do or the environment you’re in?

What is the biggest change needed to be happier in your current situation?

Is there anyone who can facilitate your quest to find more interesting work?

Is there anything to be gained (learning more about yourself or improving skills) if you stay?

Is a new job really be the answer for this situation?

Are you ready to start over in a new place with new people?


At first Emma has a hard time knowing how to answer. She writes a few things down and discusses them with Coach. She eventually realizes her first priority is not getting a new job, but building a new career as a yoga teacher.

Because of job stress, I turned to yoga for comfort. I’d hurry out-of-sorts to class after work, on edge from too much caffeine, and crazed from another day with demanding customers. On my mat, I’d turn my attention to my breath and commit to 60 minutes of relaxation and calm. This is what I longed for.

The adventure begins

With the help of friends, Emma reaches out to local yoga teachers and collects recommendations for yoga teacher training. In the meantime, Emma continues to work at her current job to offset the costs of the yoga teacher training. She saves money in anticipation of leaving the employer and doing something she loves full time.

I can’t wait to see what it’s like to be a yoga teacher, helping people rejuvenate their hearts and calm their minds. Although it will be challenging, I will give this idea a year before I shift to another plan.

The combination of clarity and momentum is enough to keep Emma on track. While the fulfillment of full-time teaching will take some time, she is moving closer to it by believing in her dream.