Life Coaches

Parent Q&A

Need coaching help to stick to work and exercise commitments Jul 29, 2021 (6 responses below)
Life / Career Coach need for mid-life transition Jul 7, 2020 (4 responses below)
Life coach or therapist wanted Jun 12, 2020 (1 responses below)
Seeking Coach for Julia Cameron's Artist's Way Book Jul 28, 2018 (2 responses below)
Executive Coaching - Joel Garfinkle or Other for Midlife Manager Dec 23, 2017 (2 responses below)
  • I’m just returning to work (self employed writer) after a 18 months off, caring for ill family members.   But I find it hard to maintain a regular schedule for exercise and work.   My challenge is not only with re-starting a routine, but of maintaining self-commitment and confidence.

    My first question is, is this an area for a life coach or counselor?

    My second question, can you recommend a person who can advise/ guide/ assist me in practical ways to get back on track?   Thank you to anyone who reaches out, and I will appreciate contact info as well as name.

    I've been working with Joyce for the past year and she's been great to work with. We set up a schedule that gradually helps get to both my exercise and nutrition goals while I'm a busy mom working full time. She's all about maintenance and self care. Highly recommend working with her! Her website:

    Yes, a life coach would be great support for you.  I highly recommend La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson.  She's an amazing listener, supporter, and strategist. 


    Eric Nelson is a personal trainer in the Rockridge area of Oakland,  He's great with fitness, nutrition, and accountability.

    Good luck!

  • Looking for an experienced (10+ years) life coach/career coach to help guide me through a mid-life transition and possible forced career change (due to COVID-19). Looking for a kind but direct communicator who isn't afraid to dig in deep, ask hard questions, and hold me accountable. Prefer a coach who is open minded to current coaching strategies, and has a holistic approach, including understanding the artists' mindset, highly sensitive people, Enneagram, attachment theory and non-traditional work styles. Female preferred, East Bay or willing to do virtual sessions. Thank you!

    I highly recommend Coach Louise Goeckel for precisely the kinds of things you’re describing. She is a compassionate straight talker who will help you see your abilities and challenges in a new light. I’ve been working with her for two years and can’t recommend her highly enough! lgconsults [at] or (510) 301-4723

    For career coaching I highly recommend Toni Littlestone. She has great advice and guidance and provides actionable recommendations to move forward. She is also realistic about what it takes to make a career change and will tell you what to expect and how long to anticipate it will take. For me that was about 2 year with interim steps and roles between where I was and where I wanted to be. It was not easy but was definitely worth the effort.

    I’m not sure how she does with highly sensitive people (I’m not one), but it’s worth reaching out and asking her.

    I definitely recommend Lucy Seligman. Lucy is a Zen Life Coach, and specializes in many of the extra modalities you’re looking for. I saw Lucy several years ago when I was in a very stuck place in my life, trying to figure out why I wasn’t moving forward. Through a combination of her probing questions, gentle (yet firm) suggestions, and a few hypnotherapy sessions, I had a major breakthrough and was able to go to the next level. If you see her, I’d definitely recommend the hypnotherapy as a great complementary tool to the coaching. Her website is Good luck!

  • Life coach or therapist wanted

    (1 reply)

    I’m looking for a life coach or therapist to help me systematically look at my life and decide what I want it to look like and how to get there. I did this exercise for my career a few years ago with the help of the often recommended Toni Littlestone and that exercise really helped me figure out how to improve my job situation and satisfaction and create and implement the plan to land myself in a much more satisfying career. 

    At this point I’m specifically looking for someone to help me with the life side of things - family, kids, lifestyle, etc. - not career. I am not an “intuitive” person and often find that what I think will make me satisfied / happy often will not. I’ve seen therapists, and while they help me reflect on how things in my life make me feel and how to improve those small things, they haven’t been helpful for examining my overall life and thinking about what I want it to look like and how to make a plan to get there. I need someone who can recommend tools for self examination, look at some of my jumbled thoughts and ideas, and provide concrete advice on how to move forward.

    Can anyone recommend such a person?

    RE: Life coach or therapist wanted ()

    If you’re open to a meditation/mindfulness perspective, I highly recommend Susan champagne. I’ve been seeing her for years and she’s very kind, wise, and helpful. She will tailor the sessions to what you are looking for/curious about. Best wishes!

  • I am enthusiastically looking forward to a generous period of "discretionary time."  I have always wanted to work through Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, but have never felt that I had the time to engage with it on a level that was meaningful.  Now that it seems possible, I would really like to get the most out of the experience, and feel that I would benefit from a coach, class, or group that would motivate, and help keep me on track.  I could even see working with a therapist who is familiar with the work.  Any ideas or referrals would be greatly appreciated.

    Congratulations--what a wonderful objective, and Cameron is a good guide. I have used the book. More relevant, a good friend who is now a successful visual artist and poet got her start with Cameron's book. Two suggestions. My friend did it with a close friend, also an aspiring artist, and they kept each other on track. Second, the book is very "self-explanatory", and includes ways to recognize and overcome your blocks--so you could just get started... Good luck!

    I can enthusiastically recommend Louise Goeckel, life and career coach extraordinaire, to help you navigate and understand this book. I took an 8 week group session from her that opened me up to many possibities and undiscovered talents, and enabled me to get to know myself on a deeper level. Louise is a wonderful guide for this journey.

    She can do one to one or small group classes, and will be starting a group in the fall.

    Louise Goeckel, MA


  • Hello - looking for someone who may be an "executive coach", or could also just be a good therapist, to work with me for a couple months to transition into a big job after many years of underemployment. Issues to work on include executive presence, body language and reading others' body language, self-confidence/overcoming imposters' syndrome, and anxiety about kids' handling of the transition. Joel Garfinkle is one name from the archives, but mostly they are old so seeking recs for him or any other professional who can work with me on these issues for a successful career transition. Thanks!

    I would highly recommend Shawn Buttner, a high performance coach in the Bay Area. I did a 12 week series with him and really enjoyed it. I was able to meet a lot of professional goals I had set but had not accomplished previously and I feel like I have a more sustainable work life balance. He is an empathetic listener who provides specific strategies. Good luck with your new career!

    I'd highly recommend Laura Paradise ( based out of Oakland. I worked with her for several months when I was new to the Bay Area and applying for jobs. I think she could really help you with the specific things you mentioned. She is genuine and nurturing in her work. Check out reviews from her clients on Yelp to get a better idea of how she'll work with you. I'm also happy to speak with you about my experience with her.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Nov 2008

I am looking for a lifecoach --preferably someone who focuses on or can focus on job improvement--both performance in one's job and enjoying it. Also, with marketing/media world experience. thanks e

I highly recommend Lila Sklar with PARTNERS IN CREATIVITY COACHING, phone# (510) 282-5452 With keen insight she helped me to see myself better. As my life coach Lila helped me to recognize a talent and skill I had taken as much for granted as my ability to breathe. Under her guidance I learned to see it's uniqueness. She encouraged me to focus, and create a plan of action that would convert my passion into a marketable product. Lila is a skilled, resourceful, and intuitive guide. Amma
I've consulted Louise Goeckel, M. A., myself and sent my teenage son. Louise has a business called Let's Go Forward! Career Counseling ( When I went to her my insights were surprising and life-changing. I assumed we'd be talking about careers, but we ended up discussing things like one's relationship to money, and following one's bliss, etc. And while I speak the ''woo-woo'' language of Spirit and Karma, my son appreciated not having to hear much of that from Louise when he spoke to her. She tailors her message to each individual person.

If you're looking for someone for your teenager to talk to about career, life purpose, figuring out what to do, be sure to contact Louise Goeckel. I sent my 17 year-old son to see her, and was surprised at the results. She spoke to him about his interests, passions, and values, and even had him rate a large number of social interaction categories such as ''leadership,'' ''family,'' and ''recognition.'' Discovering which of those things he valued highly gave him a new insight into himself and where he'd like to go.

Louise is a great leader and facilitator; I've seen her in action in other settings, and she has an amazing ability to bring entire rooms of people together into one vision. She works with a deep, interactive listening that makes you feel her attention and caring. A real gift, that. Even though we try to give our teenagers that attention, they often want it from anyone *other* than us. So if you're in that situation, send them to Louise. Well worth the investment in your child's future! Renee

Louise Goeckel (510-749-9624) www.LetsGoForward.BIZ is a great life and career coach, very supportive of me being bigger, more authentic and having more fun. We have worked together this past year and she has helped me with my figuring out many aspects of my work, both when I had a job and with my own business now. She's savvy, fun and creative. I always get a fresh perspective and feel understood and taken care of, so I highly recommend her. Louise is sweet and smart and she loves her work. I use her on an ongoing basis. Rebecca
Nov 2008

I'm curious to hear feedback from folks who've had therapy experience with a life coach. She comes recommended for couples work. I don't know what her credentials are and the term ''life coach'' is a new one to me. Thanks. Anonymous

I advise you to think very carefully before using a life coach to do couples work. IMHO, only a licensed psychotherapist should do it. Coaches are not licensed by the state of california. If they have one, it is from a coaching federation. You have no recourse if something goes wrong. Unless this person is ALSO a licensed psychotherapist, I would not see her.

I do not know this particular life coach, but I saw a different one three years ago. While well meaning, she did things that no licensed person would ever do. After the second session, she told me to go to a friend's house, write down my fears on a pinyata, hit it with a baseball bat, and then burn it in his barbecue. When I protested, she said that I was making up ''stories'' to block my progress, needed my friend and his wife to bear witness so I would be held accountable for my coaching, and that she had no doubt I would do it by the next session. Needless to say, my friend's spouse was so freaked out by this exercise that it ended the friendship to which my coach later told me that I was ''better off''.

Then my coach told me that to overcome this ''block'' would I not try a little exercise she had made up? It involved tying me up with a sheet in her living room and telling me to divorce my spouse and leave my job. This time I didn't take her advice and fired her. However, I had lost over a thousand dollars and a friendship that was irreplaceable. Also, it took a few weeks for me to feel normal again. Although she held a license from the International Coaching Federation, since it wasn't a professional one from the state, I couldn't report her or sue her. I was basically out of luck.

If you need help with your relationship, I strongly advise you to make an appointment with a licensed couples therapist. Don't gamble it on a life coach. Learned the hard way

Feb 2008

Can anyone reccomend a good life coach? thanks

I would like to respond to your request for a life coach. I originally went to see Toni Littlestone , a career counselor in Albany, several years ago for a career question. I have ended up working with her on and off for several years about all my life coaching questions, too (like overall life goals, parenting, building friendships, longing for a spiritual community, career balance with my husband, self-image, and so on), and have found it to be a tremendous relief to find someone who can help me with just about every area of my life. I think of her as my life coach, and have found the sessions as helpful as talking with my therapist (even more, about certain things that are not from my long-ago past and childhood issues), my friends, my husband, or anyone else, although I love talking with those people, too. I find that Toni has a warm manner that strikes a balance between practical and an inner-self focus. It's like having a very good friend who is wise and caring and only needs to focus on me and help me with attention, listening, and guidance. She has helped me listen to what is right for me. We explore, set goals, laugh together, follow up, and figure out what has gone right and wrong. I really feel that I have a champion in my corner. good wishes to you
I would highly recommend Laurie Tennant (Orinda) as a life coach. She provides an amazing service for individuals; she also has monthly seminars called ''Women's Wisdom Wednesdays.'' The name of her business if Chrysalis Life Coaching (925.254.7687). Joy
I went to a workshop with Amy Ahlers at Electric Kites and thought she was excellent. She's caring, engaged, smart, and really knows how to get to the root of an issue and keep you on track. I'd highly recommend her. The website is
I have to recommend Peter Ashbaugh. If you are looking for a life coach that packs a punch go with Peter. He is fantastic! Check out his website at Or call him to set up a free sample session (510)846-5530. Peter has been my coach for awhile and I'm lucky to have him! sf
Sept 2005

I have need of a life coach. I have checked the recommendations on the Parents website and they are either old or contain no contact information. If anyone out there has a recommendation for a life coach- I would love to hear it. cheers.

I would like to recommend Rob Seidenspinner of Sage Circle as a life coach. I have not worked with him personally but witnessed him doing a session with someone else and he is very sensitive and clear about how he can help you help yourself. I plan to recommend him to two dear friends when they are ready. Also, he is a lovely person, which is always a plus. Give him a call at: 925 766 5987. E-mail is silkspinner [at]
Hi there. I have worked with Donald Gerard and really liked him. His office is in Montclair and he is reasonably priced. If you google his name, his website will come up. Good luck to you! Sylvie
I can't say enough great things about Kristen Brooks, a Berkeley-based Lifecoach. She is professional, personable, and well-trained; her creativity and excellent listening skills definitely steered me in the right direction. She coached me through the craziness of graduate school and various career transitions, as well as life's general twists and turns! I believe she also does doula/parenting work. Her contact info is: coachdoula [at] Cristina
May 2003

I'm looking for recommendations on a life coach for myself and my partner. We are life partners as well as business partners, and we're looking for someone with practical, yet inspiring guidance and psychological insight to help us realize our personal and career goals in the next 5-10 years. We're ready to make a change from ad-hoc, reactionary living to more enlightened, more self-determined, enjoy-the-journey-AND-the- destination living.

I know that there are a lot of people calling themselves ''life coaches'' in the Bay Area, and that the trick is finding the right one. We want to find someone who can give us practical, day-by-day advice for reaching our long-term goals of financial independence, creative fulfillment, and work/life integration, advice that is grounded spiritually (God is great, hogwash is hogwash) psychologically, (what are we afraid of, what holds us back?), and financially (get-rich-slow is fine). We finally have all the ingredients we need - a loving relationship, a growing family, a well-paying, flexible career, creative skills, wisdom and ambition - but we lack the secret recipe that makes it all come together into artful, purposeful living. We would be willing to pay $100 to $120 an hour for someone to meet with us once a week and help us for the next year to jumpstart our future. katrina

I have enjoyed and greatly benefited form therapy sessions with Dr. Adrianne Casadaban. She is specialized in ''Performance and Realization'',so she does not do a long-term psychotherapy. She uses a mind-body treatment to help you focus on your goals, understand and overcome whatever is holding you back in any aspect of your life, and achieve results quite fast. I did a 3 month therapy with that I can honestly say changed my life. I am now using her services again with positive results. She is located in Lafayette and her phone number is 925-946-9991. Anon
My husband and I had great results with Louise Morganti Kaelin ( From your posting, she is right up your alley. The first session is free to see if you are a fit. She lives on the East Coast, so we did everything by phone. It turned out to be very convenient - I ''met'' with her while my kids were napping and my husband ''met'' with her while commuting. Helena
I have checked out three life coaches and was pretty impressed with two of them. I wound up not pursuing it (after the free intro session) for my own reasons, but I think I may return to it next year. The two I met with and liked were Jay Earley ( or 415-339-8760) and Bonnie Weiss (bonweiss AT They had progressive politics, a spiritual orientation, a whole bag of tricks (not just one model to coaching), and psychotherapy experience. Anonymous
May 2003

Can anyone recommend a career counselor or a life coach who helps individuals figure out the answer to the question ''what do I want to be when I grow up?''. I am currently a 30-something SAHM who has been in career transition mode for a few years now. I've done all the career assessment tests, now I need to get to the next level. I live in Oakland, so local recommendations are best, but I appreciate all suggestions. Thanks! Laura

I was a SAHM who was very busy with kids and volunteer activities but feeling adrift. I couldn't figure out how and where to return to work. I went to Nina Ham, who was recommended by a friend who was in a similar boat. I found sessions with her to be quite helpful - going beyond the career counseling stuff and into thinking about what I wanted my Life to look like. That was about 2-1/2 years ago, and though I didn't go right out and shake up my life right away, I recently realized that all of the changes and directions that I was able to begin to imagine and articulate with Nina have now come to pass. I have the makings of a new career and identity that feels right and is rewarding, a ''room of my own'' to work from, a better balance of home, paid work, volunteer work, and family, as well as bringing other aspects of my life into balance (spiritually, creatively, physically). Nina didn't wave her magic wand - but she was a key piece of what it took for me to recognize what I needed and begin to move toward it. Her number is 524-8647 and email is NinaHam AT Her office is on Solano. Good luck! =Natasha B.
I worked with a personal coach for about six months, which was a very positive experience (except that my life was too chaotic to really make the most of it at that I hope to get back to working with her some time down the road). The only real downside is that she is up in Grass Valley, CA, so the only time we met face-to-face was to do the first session -- sort of an intake/get to know you session. All other sessions were by phone. Worked fine, but some people might need/want the face-to-face relationship. Certainly worth calling this woman, to see if you ''click'' (that's the most important thing, really): Janice Knight, KnightLine Consulting, 530-273-0700, or at klcbest AT Alison
I can heartily recommend Susan Van Horn, who runs Real Coach 4U. She can help you turn your life around. First sesion is free, and you would be wise to give it a try. If it doesn't seem like the right fit, you can walk away, but I think her style might suite you very well. Susan runs a retreat center in La Selva Beach ( very close to Santa Cruz) and I believe she can either hold the sessions there or over the phone. Susan can be reached at 831-684-1003. Good luck in your search! Milena