The LA Times recently featured an article about life coaching on skid row.
Life coach Wendy Newman was accustomed to Beverly Hills clients when she signed on for the gig. She remembered how much she enjoyed working with underprivileged youth in the past and decided to give it a go.
The result? This was nothing like working with those kids.
The women she met were hardened, scarred by tragedies in their past– drug addicts, criminals, women with very deep wounds and very thin skin.
Some walked out in the middle of sessions, other started fights, others just glared at the coaches. Finally after a couple months, the coaches seemed to be getting through.
The women were opening up. Understanding that while they may not have been born into the best of circumstances, their choices are what ultimately lead them to where they are today.
One said “I made mistakes. And I made them over and over and over. I could have had a career, a home….Even when it got me into trouble, I kept making the same bad choices again and again.”
Another acknowledged to being jealous of the relationship her four children have with her sister (their aunt) who has cared for them since their mother was put away. “She’s taking them to basketball practice, to school every day. I gave birth to those four kids. I should be doing that.”
The problem for many of these women is that they suffered tremendous hardship and unthinkable abuse growing up, and nobody was there to help them. Their families were often the perpetrators and therefore having nowhere to turn, these women joined the rest of the world and turned against themselves.
Now they’re learning that they deserve better, and are working towards it by changing their thoughts and making positive choices.
This type of coaching is something every coach should experience if possible. Giving back to your community by listening to people who don’t have a voice is a gift to everyone, including yourself.