Helen is rare because she embodies dual skills of creativity and pragmatism. She’s a really good and empathetic listener, but also skilled at synthesizing information and getting it back to you quickly so you can really see what you’ve been saying and thinking and believing about yourself. Her heart is enormous and you never feel judged, particularly when it comes to celebrating yourself, which is something I think women specifically find difficult. We get messages mandating us to be humble and self-sacrificing. Helen helps me feel like I’m best of service when I’m as big as can be.
Photo courtesy of Maggie Ginsberg
Photo courtesy of Donna Hopkins
At a time in my life when I thought I might just fall apart, when I couldn’t find my footing, when trying my best no longer seemed good enough, I found Helen. Curious about what my life could be, and desperate for change, I tried something unfamiliar and new, seeking help from a life coach.My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and the responsibility for her care fell squarely on my shoulders. Sorting through issues of codependency, people pleasing, and perfectionism is hard work, and I’d been avoiding these difficult realities for a lifetime. With great discernment but without a hint of judgment, Helen asked me, “I wonder what would happen if you…”, or “What if you considered this period of not knowing as intentional?” Through my conversations with Helen I came to change my way of thinking and transform my life.By viewing myself as a work-in-progress, an experiment of sorts, I was able to stop thinking of myself as something that needed to be “fixed” and instead practice self-acceptance and self-knowing. Asking guiding questions, sending my words back to me through a fresh filter, sharing resources, and following up made this journey possible. Helen showed me a new path.When I began my sessions with Helen, I was haunted by resentment for having to devote so much of my life to caring for my mother and devastated by guilt and the feeling that I had let everyone down. From this wounded place, she helped me to love myself, to set boundaries, and to unleash my creative spirit. Her curiosity is contagious and everywhere I turn I see another opportunity for growth and for joy. Life is, of course, still not easy, but thanks to Helen it is surely worthwhile.
Yes, coaches need coaches too because we know how powerful and life-changing one conversation can be.A few weeks back, I was coached by the wonderful Helen McLaughlin. She was one of my classmates during life coach training and we’ve remained in touch through the years.What did being on the other side of a coaching session feel like?I felt heard and understood. I felt that she was my partner in my personal challenge and that whatever happened, we would figure things out together.She was willing to go deep instead of making assumptions from what she had previously known about me. We talked about my past and how I was allowing it to make decisions for me instead of seeing the reality of my present.The questions were incisive and came from a place of curiosity rather than judgment.She generously shared her insights and they were spot-on.She challenged me to go beyond what was comfortable or easy.I saw that I was giving power to fear instead of myself and my creativity.At the end, the way forward was clearer for me. I realized I was giving energy and attention to what was missing instead of using my strengths to become better. I had concrete action plans. I felt energized instead of defeated.Needless to say, there was a lot to process and my journal entry the day after our session was extra-long, filled with what I had learned about myself and what I wanted for my life moving forward.Fear doesn’t disappear after one session. But a mindset change can happen. Since our conversation, I’m more intentional about giving more energy to my strengths rather than my fear.My commitment: to show up for my clients the way Helen did that night.
Photo courtesy of Aurora Suarez
Photo courtesy of Dara Paoletti
As a new coach and business owner, I was struggling with creating systems and a structure for my business that help support and propel the action. [Something] I love about working with you is that you have a way of pushing me to my edge without pushing me too far. It’s a delicate balance and you do it beautifully.One of the most transformative parts of working with you was learning to embody the idea of doing something before I feel ready. I’m much more comfortable now with feeling “not ready” and taking action anyway. You helped me change my mindset at a core level. And I now I don’t see it as an excuse to not move forward but instead as an opportunity.Oh hell yes, you should work with Helen! (I rave about you to friends all the time.) Helen is an incredibly supportive coach who will get you moving toward your goals and feeling awesome about it.
Photo courtesy of Afroditi Petroutsos
[When we began working together,] I was struggling with the overwhelming task of starting my business. I wanted some help in adjusting my mindset and tackling steps one by one. I also really wanted to get out of my own way and take action.The most helpful part of working with you was the ability to email you updates on the status of my Big, “Impossible” Thing and receive very thoughtful and in-depth responses from you that helped me understand my next step. Those emails were so valuable to me, I always felt like you gave me your very best and also that you were 100% cheering me on. I felt relieved when I wrote and sent you the emails. I felt inspired and encouraged when I received your responses. You helped me to see things differently and more authentically.The most valuable part of working with you was knowing that you were on my team, no matter what. I felt SO supported by you, and cheered on, that it always helped me to get through periods of overwhelm. You were always honest and encouraged me to see things differently when it was necessary, but overall I felt like I had an amazing and smart friend to turn to when I was stuck, or to celebrate when I wasn’t. I would highly recommend working with you to everyone! You have such a special way of being so real, genuine, kind, encouraging, and intentional that no matter what someone wants to accomplish, I am confident that working with you would help them. Your generous support is jam-packed with feel-good vibes, and your homework is the perfect motivator. I LOVE working with you, so very much. I would absolutely encourage anyone who wants to achieve a specific something in their life to work with you.
I began talking to Helen because I was at a crossroads with myself and the world. She asked me what I wanted to accomplish with her by the end of the year and I thought, ‘Gosh, I can’t even imagine what outcome I want by the end of this conversation.’I was fearful and felt like life was happening to me. I used to beat myself up a lot about what I hadn’t yet accomplished or what opportunities I may have missed. It never occurred to me until my conversations with Helen that this guilty attitude and self-loathing was a crutch I actually liked to lean on.One of the best outcomes I’ve noticed since first talking with Helen is that, while I still hear those thoughts pass through my mind, they’re far less frequent and now I have the tools to change the conversation with myself—and therefore, my outlook on life.
Coaching with Helen has been an absolute blessing; she has the ability to create a space so safe and so charged with wisdom, clarity and insight that you can’t help but unfold and grow! Her warmth and compassion reach out to you with endless encouragement, and her deep understanding of human nature and aptitude in untangling a jumble of thoughts and emotions into clarity, focus and forward-movement is such a gift. I am so incredibly grateful for all the love and support she gave me during a very difficult period—our sessions were like a nourishing retreat into sanity in a time of endless overwhelm.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Kelly
You are amazingly easy to talk to and to feel safe with—I didn’t find it difficult to trust you with issues that I would struggle discussing with friends or family. I also like your focus on small things (whether noticing them or seeing them or collecting them), as it often feels that a lot of the world of coaching focuses on the big change and the big goal, when maybe sometimes the small goal and the small change are all that is needed.
My conversations with Helen have been pleasant, invigorating, insightful, provocative, and perhaps most importantly, productive. She has a talent for listening—really listening—and responds to questions large and small with ideas, plans, new perspectives, encouragement, and whatever else might be needed. The best part of working with Helen is that she truly cares—it’s like knowing someone else is in your corner, prepared to help and support you no matter what. Her generosity of spirit makes her an excellent coach and a valuable resource for everyone she works with.