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by John Saxby

Sun Herald March 5, 2000


Success stories like the Horton sisters are what David Wood hopes to hear from his clients in future. Wood operates at the other end of the spectrum. He's what's known as a life coach. "I help people get clear about what they want," he explains. "It could be organisational skills, to de-stress or improve personal relationships. I help them to get it by developing strategies and providing them with the support and motivation to get there."

He does this from a shaded hammock in his backyard, which overlooks the Lane Cove River on Sydney's north shore. He currently has 18 clients, all of whom are professionals, and he counsels them by phone for four 30-minute sessions a month. Clients pay between $250 and $500 a month for his time and work with him for an average of 12 months. "People who have had life experiences and learnt from those experiences make good personal coaches," says Wood, a former actuary, management consultant and soon-to-be graduate of CoachU - on on-line "university" based in, where else, America. CoachU's website claims there are an estimated 10,000 part-time and full-time coaches worldwide and that the number of people entering the field of personal and business coaching has doubled in each of the past three years. Wood estimates that there are between 400 and 500 life coaches working in Australia. So what advice would he give to anyone wanting a hot job?

"A good thing to do would be to interview people who already do that job," he says. "Why guess how to get there? Find someone who's already go what you want, who's already been through the learning curve and ask them how they got there. Some people don't take the first step because they don't know where the steps are. The first step is to find the steps." Thanks, coach.

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