Life coaches helping Whistlerites make choices, achieve more 

Should I stay or should I go?

That’s the age-old question facing many in the resort these days as the winter season winds down.

Upwards of 3,500 people come to Whistler each year to work and with more visitors coming in the summer than the winter now many workers are tempted to stay and make the resort home.

But it can be a tough decision to make. Most come for the lifestyle – the awesome skiing, the buzzing social scene, the great outdoors.

And with good schools it’s a great place to raise kids.

However, there is no denying that it can be a hard place to find a mate, since everyone is so mobile. It’s also expensive and career advancement is somewhat limited.

So how do you make the right choice?

For a growing number in Whistler the answer has been to talk to one of the three certified life coaches in town.

"We take people from were they are and get them to where they want to go," said life coach Ian Inniss, who has lived here for over a decade.

In many ways Inniss is the perfect example of a local and the dilemma many face.

He loves the lifestyle that is Whistler but wanted more out of his career long-term than he was getting out of his human resources job.

"I ended up asking myself what do I do next?" he said.

A firm believer in, "if you ask the right questions life will meet you half-way," he began to notice information on life coaching.

"I love working with people and making a difference," said Inniss, so he decided to give a try. He completed his certification with the Coaches Training Institute, which is based in California but offers courses in Vancouver, and set up Infinite Endeavors Consulting Group over a year ago in Whistler.

Everyone can benefit from coaching said Inniss, whether you are trying to determine what’s next in your life, trying to find balance in a professional life, building your business, or working to take your sport to the next level.

Life coaching is quite different from counselling or therapy.

In a coaching relationship the client is not seeking emotional healing or relief from psychological pain.

He or she is reaching out for a higher level of performance, learning or satisfaction and the client must be willing to take action to move towards the goal with the support of the coach.

"It helps you focus on the things that matter and it is nice to have someone you are accountable to," said one of Inniss’ clients who prefers to remain anonymous.

"In fact, probably the biggest part is the accountability. Lots of times with kids and work you say, ‘yeah I’m going to do that.’

"But you don’t do it and there is no accountability and after a while it builds up on you.

"It has helped me weed out some of the stuff I don’t need to be doing by focusing on the things I want to achieve. It helps you focus on the stuff that matters to you. It brings everything into sharper focus rather than just hitting things with a shotgun blast."

Life coach Bernie Lalor-Morton has seen many locals wrestling with that go or stay dilemma.

"The stress is in the struggle," said Lalor-Morton who has seen her Whistler practice grow over the years as people try to work out the career moves, choices in education and achieving balance in their lives.

Part of his Inniss’ work as a coach is to ask the client the right questions.

"It’s also about listening to what they say and listening to what they don’t say, which can be just as important," said Inniss leaning forward over an untouched cup of coffee at a local java joint.

It’s easy to imagine why anyone would feel more personally powerful after spending time with Inniss. He rarely breaks eye-contact, he positively exudes optimism, and his open manner begs you to confide then get up and get going with your life.

Everything seems possible.

But he makes no bones either about the fact that change means work and the brunt of that work falls on the client.

"Living by choice is a radical act," said Inniss.

"It is going to be uncomfortable initially. But what if you could have it all? You are not going to know unless you try."

In general the first coaching session is free. After that, said Inniss, clients can expect to spend about $200 to $500 a month on sessions, which can be done in person or over the phone.

Most people need to spend at least three months with a coach to get their personal plan underway.

It may seem like a big investment but the rewards can be substantial too. Clients can make and keep more money, have more time, get more done with less, figure out what is next, eliminate the hassles of life, feel better physically and emotionally, improve communications skills and have more balance in their lives.

For more information on this new profession go to www.coachfederaion.org.

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