Research Paper By Katherine Badriyeh
(Life Coach for Women Over Fifty, UNITED STATES)
All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.
Albert Einstein (Endnote 1)
A seasoned woman is spicy, she has marinated in life experience. She is at the peak of her influence and power. She is committed to living fully and passionately in the second half of her life, despite failures and false starts.
Gail Sheehy (Endnote 2)
This is the greatest time in history for women over fifty. A startling fact is that a person who is 70 today has even more years to look forward to than those projected the year he or she was born. That person has already exceeded the longevity projection at their birth. Theyʼve outlived diseases and accidents and so are stronger and healthier than ever before. (Endnote 3.) I should know I am one of them. This longevity is teaching the world to rethink “old-age” and what is possible. Societal views are changing regarding possibilities for older women and their careers, relationships, health. Coaching is such a vital component to this historical shift. Actually, I see it as a synergistic relationship. Healthy longevity calls for coaching, coaching and its philosophy spurs on healthy longevity. This is so because coaching assumes the wholeness and magnificence of the client. It assumes that the answers lie within her and that she is responsible for her own life, not the external world, spouses or parents. Most of all it focusses on the present and future, not the past. Thus being coached is a catalyst for change in the older woman client so that she can move forward and have the life she wants instead of settling, resigning or declining. Coaching provides a new paradigm for growing older and can lead society into rethinking what is possible for humanity in their 50ʼs, 60ʼs, 70ʼs, 80ʼs and beyond. As long as one is here on earth, it isnʼt over.
In my research, there are over fifty websites for coaching women over fifty. Many of them are devoted to career changes as well as transformational changes. Maybe this information is not so astounding for younger people under the age of forty, but for me, at the age of sixty-nine, it is. I grew up at a time when society had very little to offer women over forty. Women having advanced degrees and careers were considered “unfeminine” at any age,let alone being over forty. I grew up in a society where ageism was blatant, along with sexism.
Thus, I consider it nothing less than a miracle that I am way over forty, yet I am just now experiencing my self actualized in a way that I never thought possible. I decided to become a Life Coach at 68. The older women in my family, as a kid, did not give me much to look forward to. Alcoholism and suicidal depression is a part of my family history. For many years I too suffered from depression due to my circumscribed beliefs. Yet my spirits would be lifted and inspired when I heard about women succeeding in their later years whether it be in a new relationship, career or other endeavor. Somehow, even at a very, very young age, six to be exact, I knew ageist limitations were false. I had a feeling I would be a much, much later bloomer. I felt I had a purpose for this, the purpose being Hope. I wanted to give Hope to young people because they can see there is no reason to limit themselves because of age. I wanted to give hope to people my age. I wanted them to see life hasnʼt stopped for them just because they are a certain age. I wanted to give hope to people older than my self. We are eternal. Our eternality means we can start afresh any time we want. We are on a never ending continuum. It is never too late.
Some of the coaches on the internet focus on career, some of them on relationships, some of them on spiritual transformation all spheres are open to the over-fifty woman. These coaches are amazing and I was privileged interview some of them.
Here is what they had to say:
Dr. Sylvia Christian has coached between 60 and 70 clients between the ages of 40 and 60. Her niche is women reentering the job market. She was inspired to coach this age group because she says
women this age are so coachable. I saw that the confidence level for so many were low, but with just a little support and encouragement, they blossomed. It is so rewarding.
Life Coaching shortens the time needed for change and helps ensure a smooth transition.
Her success stories include over-fifty women going back to school and becoming, nurses, physical therapists, teachers and accountants. (Dr. Sylvia Christian, Ph.D. Interviewed by me July 15, 2012) Lynn Moore, Life Coach for Women Over Fifty, says
Coaching provides a future shorter than the past . . . .Life Coaching brings extreme clarity to women in mid-life about their powerful influences, the legacy of wisdom they hold for our planet and how they can share it. (Endnote 4)
Thea Sheldon, CPCC, Prime of Life Coach for women has coached fifty clients in this age bracket says the following:
I experienced so many life affirming changes as I moved into my fifties. I wanted to share with others what is possible at this age. More than that I wanted to be their guide. I wanted to take the stand that most women are particularly wise, experienced, knowledgeable and energized after fifty. Yet lifetimes of this accumulated wealth has been marginalized. This age is womenʼs time to make perhaps her most valuable contribution. The primary wins with my clients have been coming home to their truth i.e. their True Voice.
(Thea Sheldon in her email to me July 18, 2012) Theaʼs clients concur. Marcia Dorfman MSOD, says
Among other things she taught me it is fun to embrace the fearless unknown and that the second half of life is an ongoing adventure. It is partly due to her that I am flourishing over fifty. (Endnote 5)
Nicole Aloni, author, says
Thea got me crystal clear about the income I desired. We did a lot of hard work to clear away limiting beliefs and shift my perspective on who I am. The result was that I earned five times my previous average income. (Endnote 6)
Tilla Brook in England, who has about 100 clients, 80 of which were over 50, says that
the niche chose me, not the other way around.
(Tilla Brook, Women Over Fifty Life Coach, interviewed by me August 28, 2012) Lynn Moore in Canada concurrs. (Lynn Moore interview cited above).
Karen Batchelor, an Alumna of ICA and who has a practice in the Midwest, thinks that coaches choose clients that they most identify with. Karen has had between 70 to 100 clients, 75% of whom are over fifty. She says,
I myself am over fifty. Repeatedly, women who were of the Boomer Generation came to me. They were taught to climb the ladder to success and follow the rules. Thatʼs what they did and achieved success in the worldʼs terms. Yet, these women were coming to me because they were disappointed. We are not living our motherʼs mid-life. It is a whole new way of being for the Boomer Generation. There is no formula. Not only are they wiser now that they are older, but they are healthier. They want to know what they are going to be when they grow-up again. When we are young it is all about doing. When we are over fifty, it is about being. We get to be what it is we want to be.
So Karen, besides career goals, has success stories in the area of what she calls personal goals. These are goals that have to do with the ideal day, relaxation and downtime, health goals and learning goals. Here are some of her stories in personal goals. (Karen Batchelor, CPCP interviewed by me August 28, 2012.)
Julie (Endnote 7) was a librarian for 17 years and was let go due to downsizing. At first Julie thought sheʼd better start looking right away for another librarian job. She got an offer, yet through coaching, realized she didnʼt want to take the offer. Instead, she took the summer off and her real passion began to emerge – education. A fresh new turn showed up: she began blogging about education.
Karen has a metaphor for Julieʼs story. When you go down a freeway, there are many opportunities to exit, but you donʼ take just any exit because there is the opportunity to do so, you take the exit that takes you to your destination. Donʼt just take an opportunity because itʼs there. You take the one you want. This is your time to be authentic. This is your time to be true to yourself.