Last year was the winter of Wendy Williams’ discontent. “I was feeling burned out at work, I was in a relationship I didn’t feel good about and couldn’t understand why, and I was dissatisfied with my life overall,” says Williams, a culinary consultant for an upscale supermarket chain.
Williams tried an array of therapies over the years before coming across an article about a local life coach. “Deep down, I knew I wanted to do more,” she says.
Williams reached out to life coach Tanya Tecce, who’s based in Delaware County. “My role is to help people uncover what they want to be experiencing, rather than focusing on all the negative emotions they’re feeling,” says Tecce, who holds degrees in psychology and sociology and is certified in transformational neuro-linguistic programming.
“For Tanya Tecce, it’s all about clarity. “It’s helping people tune in to their personal GPS to put together a roadmap to help them get where they want to be by identifying and focusing on what you want out of life,” she says. “When you have clarity, you’re less easily scared, shaken, misled or discouraged.”
Tecce’s goal is to reimprint the nervous system so clients can learn to behave differently without having to think about it. “Transformational psychology focuses less on why you’re experiencing a certain situation and more on what you want instead, and how you can move forward to accomplish your goals,” Tecce says.
Williams worried about what other people thought and felt invisible or undervalued at work. She was also in a toxic relationship, even if she didn’t realize it at the time. “With Tanya’s help, I realized a lot of my dissatisfaction was deep-rooted, and the coaching brought those issues to light,” she says.
Then they came up with action steps to address those issues. Williams learned to speak up for herself and is no longer paralyzed by a fear of confrontation. “I’m able to be myself,” she says. “I don’t worry about other people’s judgments, which helps reduce a lot of anxiety and allows me to focus on turning my dreams into reality.”
Life coaching helped Kate Smith gain control over her work as an occupational therapist. She now works on her own terms as an independent contractor with more flexible hours. “I’m a recovering people-pleaser,” says Smith. “I used to have trouble saying no to people.”
Coaching helped Smith overcome her perfectionism, improved her communication skills and better equipped her to deal with conflict. “I feel more self-confident because I know I can deal with what might come up,” she says. “My responses to various situations have become more automatic. I don’t dwell on things before making decisions.”
Life coaching also gives clients the tools to facilitate change. “It places emphasis on helping people identify what they want, rather than the traditional medical model that focuses on treating a problem or a symptom,” says Shobhana Kanal, a licensed clinical social worker based in Haverford who’s worked with Tecce. “Good coaching—like good therapy—can help you become more flexible in the way you think and react to things in your everyday life. It helps you engage less in self-criticism and regrets, and you have more mental and emotional energy for present experiences and goals.”
For Tecce, it’s all about clarity. “It’s helping people tune in to their personal GPS to put together a roadmap to help them get where they want to be by identifying and focusing on what they want out of life,” she says. “When you have clarity, you’re less easily scared, shaken, misled or discouraged.”
Ultimately, such clarity leads to resilience. We’re less critical of ourselves, and we learn to take things in stride, with the knowledge that we’re not doing anything wrong. “Your focus shifts to what you want to achieve, what you desire most and what you need to do to get there,” says Tecce. “That’s when change begins to happen.”
NOTE: Client names have been changed to protect their privacy.