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Winning at the game of life – Eden Prairie Local News

A life coach since 2000, Chere Bork has coached more than 1,000 clients for over 9,000 hours and extensively spoke and wrote throughout her career. Now retired, she lives up to her business’s name by savoring life. Photo courtesy of Chere Bork

When Eden Prairie resident first became a life coach in 2000, the question she got most was “What sport?” The answer is that coaches help navigate their clients through the ultimate sport: life.

Life coaches help clients reach goals in professional development, relationships, wellness, financial growth, or mindset management, to name a few. Some coaches counsel and encourage clients through personal or career challenges, such as grief, divorce recovery, or job transitions.

The profession has grown exponentially since Bork’s pioneering days. With a current estimated 34,000 certified coaches in the United States, there is a niche for practically any client need.

Bork became one of Eden Prairie’s earliest life coaches soon after it became an accredited field in 1995 by the International Coaching Federation. A registered dietitian, Bork realized the more she worked with patients that “it wasn’t what people were eating but what was eating them” that frequently led to their nutritional dilemmas. She also realized she had been coaching all along – it just didn’t have a formal title. So a coaching certification in the nascent field was a natural transition for her.

Recently retired, Bork coached 1,000 people for over 9,000 total hours in her many years as a coach. Through her company, Savor Your Life Today, she coached other dietitians in their careers, individual clients and corporate clients. She also spoke and wrote extensively, including a popular column for the Eden Prairie News and her Taste Life blog, encouraging others to live their best and healthiest lives.

Asking the right questions

Values, the things or ideals that are most important to a person, play a large role in life coaching.

Bork provided a “value finder tool” to help her clients discover their top core values and learn to apply them practically. For example, said Bork, “time rich people have shorter to-do lists because they are based on their values. And they only do those things that support those values.”

Jack Bandy oflikes to work with clients early on to narrow down their top three to four values.

“If a person is in a career they are not excited about, they might consider what values are not being served, or what values are being ignored or squashed,” said Bandy, who lives in Eden Prairie. “A lot of our decisions go back to values, so it is important to identify what those are, and from there, leads you to purpose.”

Bandy does not advise clients, but helps them determine their own future courses through “asking questions, listening deeply, exploring possibilities, and drawing those answers out from you,” he said. “I can’t tell you what to do. You only can figure that out for yourself, but I can help you along that journey.”

Carla Beach of CBeach Coaching is a life coach and grief facilitator. Her own life experiences and volunteering for Pathways have equipped her to be a “fearless” coach when helping others navigate life’s difficulties.

Carla Beach of refers to “the three ‘whats’: What do you want? What is holding you back? And what one small thing can you do right now to move toward what you want?”

Beach, who lives in Eden Prairie, has also noted that one common barrier toward achieving goals is clients “allowing their inner saboteur voice to derail them.” She works with people to “identify that voice, even giving it a name, and learn to have a more empowering conversation with that voice.”

Many times, Beach said, that voice comes from a place of fear. “I help people learn to shift to a place of faith, love, generosity, courage, and confidence,” she said. “That allows them to go to the edge of the cliff and leap, trusting that the net will appear.”

A niche for every need

During his corporate career, Bandy was responsible for the leadership development programs at Cargill. While still in that role, he become a trained coach and later opened his own consulting and coaching business in 2017.

Jack Bandy of Jack Bandy Leader Development worked in the corporate world in leadership development before starting his coaching and consulting business in 2017.Because of his corporate background, Bandy tends to work with many clients in professional development.

“Typically, I work with people exploring what’s next for them,” he said. “They may feel stuck in their current role. Or they may feel the need to figure out barriers preventing them from taking steps they want to take.”

Though Bandy works with people of all types with various goals, his niche has evolved into “people that are looking for a mid-career change or are new to leading people and want support to help them through how they’re showing up as a leader.”

Beach also started out in the corporate world as an internal coach for a wealth management company and also worked with many women entrepreneurs.

A certified coach since 2008 and a grief facilitator for Southwest Grief Coalition, she now works with many different types of clients, including those dealing with illness or grief.

“People tend to reach out to me when they’re in crisis,” she said, “such as health challenges or life change like a divorce or a death.”

When she was in coach training, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later, she was also diagnosed with cancer. Both are fine now, and Beach feels that “going through some very scary times myself” has helped her with her goal to be a “fearless” coach while helping people in the midst of their own pain and their “big stuff.”

Beach has also benefited from her volunteer work with , a nonprofit group that serves people diagnosed with chronic, life-threatening, or terminal illnesses.

“I have worked with every imaginable situation with people I’ve met and coached at Pathways, which has made me a better coach in my private practice and a better coach for people going through a life crisis,” she said.

Coaching vs. therapy

Though working with a life coach “can feel therapeutic,” said Bandy, coaching is more about personal and professional development. Life coaches are not licensed or trained to treat mental health conditions.

According to Bandy, “while therapists may look more at how the past has impacted or influenced who you’ve become, coaching is more forward facing and helping someone along a path to the best version of themselves.”

“I see my job as helping people move forward. Figuring out where they want to go and what they need to do to get there,” agreed Beach.

Finding a coach

With no formal regulations or licensing requirements, life coaching can sometimes be a misinterpreted term.  Therefore, Bandy emphasizes the importance of hiring a life coach who is trained through an accredited program. “There are many different coaching programs with different purposes or goals,” he said.

The is “the governing body that identifies what skills and competencies are required to be demonstrated and also accredits coaching programs,” he explained. To reach the first level as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), one must complete 60 hours of coach-specific education and 100 hours of coaching clients, as well as pass a performance evaluation and a written exam.

Bandy recommends interviewing several candidates to “make sure they are a good fit.” He added, “most coaches want their clients to be successful, so they also want to make sure they are the best person to help someone.”

Thanks to modern technology, clients are not limited to geography to find the best coach for them. While he still sees many clients in person, Bandy also embraces the trend of Zoom or phone coaching, with about 60% of his clients now virtual.

Beach coaches exclusively by Zoom or phone. She has lived and practiced in many different locations and appreciates that she and her clients can be anywhere and still connect.

“With virtual coaching, distance and time zones don’t really matter, ” she said.

Virtual coaching allows both Bandy and Beach to have clients from all over the country and in Canada and Europe.

As the game of life seems to get more complicated, qualified life coaches can provide encouragement, guidance and support amidst its twists, turns and rule changes.

“We are all going through stuff,” said Bandy. “To have someone listen to you without judgment and without telling you what to do is a gift more people could take advantage of.”

  • Chere Bork: “It takes 100 days to feel behavior change. Plan on three months of working on something you want to achieve. Really envision what life would look like if you achieved your goal and put your feelings into your future focus.”
  • Carla Beach: “Pick the one most important thing you can do today to move you towards your goal. Once you get into action, you have forward momentum that will help you achieve whatever it is you’re moving toward.”
  • Jack Bandy: “Identify your values, your passions, what brings you energy, then use those to work towards identifying a life purpose. Then do what you can within the constraints of family, economics, etc., to fulfill that.” His is “to be positive and supportive with everyone and in everything I do to help people achieve more than they thought possible.”