Ellen Good gets right to the point in a Web site advertisement for her personal coaching service. "Find out if coaching with Focus First is right for you. E-mail Ellen Good at ellengood@focus-first.com or call 610-347-2611 to arrange a complimentary one-half hour telephone coaching session," it says.With International Coaching Week (Feb. 3 through 9) almost here, Good, who lives in East Marlborough Township, believes her offer of an informal chat about life issues and moving from one milestone to the next is not only timely but also might appeal to many folks who could benefit from personal coaching.

To determine whether someone might need coaching, Good described two self-tests: "First, ask yourself, 'Am I feeling stuck?' In other words, are you having trouble moving from one point to another in your life?" A more complex test is one involving pain. "If your life is already in transition, ask yourself, 'Is this change too easy?'The fact is, if a transition does not bring some discomfort, it may not be completed and the benefits will go unrealized."

Answering either one of these questions with "yes" might make a customer eligible for her coaching. To become a qualified coach, her formal training included a master's degree in social work from St. Louis University and a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University. She also completed professional training programs at The Coaches Training Institute, the American Society for Training and Development, the Public Conversations Project, Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers and the Lancaster Mediation Center.

In addition to her extensive training, Good brings experience as a coach, consultant and business owner to her work. She uses a practical, objective, and holistic approach to help clients evaluate how one area of their lives affects the others so they can make the best professional and personal decisions.

Her relaxed and committed nature and - perhaps most importantly - her ability to listen help her provide her clients with a supportive environment in which to face significant changes in their lives.

Lately, Good's coaching practice has seen its share of change. Because many of her clients have aged, she is finding that her coaching is more focused on retirement issues that it was in the past.

"Retirement," Good said, "is much more complex than meets the eye.

Working provides more than merely financial benefits. Unlike retirement, a regular job provides built-in opportunities to experience socialization, self-identity, structure, purpose, and accomplishment."

Good has found that the best retirement is one where these benefits are not lost but are reconfigured into a new context. She said, "The worst situation is one where a retiree becomes isolated and disengaged, spending much of his or her day just killing time. And if this person is an extrovert, depression is a real possibility because he or she probably has an unmet psychological need to be around other people."

To address this increasing demand for retirement coaching, she has developed an on-line resource to help prospective retirees grapple with the question of when or whether to retire. Her Web site, www.redesigningretirement.com, provides six interactive assessment tools for those considering this significant life decision. One of these tools is the Retirement Success Profile, for identifying personal strengths as well as concerns for people near retirement or recently retired. The Profile has been validated, administered and interpreted by thousands of individuals over the past 15 years.

A few of the coaching questions Ellen asks her retirement-concerned clients to consider include:

o In what ways are you "kidding yourself" about retirement?

o How will you use the time that will be freed up when you are no longer working?

o What activities have you "put on the back burner" over the years that you might like to revisit during retirement?

o Where will you make new friends once you're retired?

Her Web site also provides information on her fees and options she provides for personalized assessment interpretation and coaching.

To further expand on the tools available from her retirement website, Ellen conducts workshops through Chester County night school called "Redesigning Retirement, Creating a Life You'll Love." One of her key insights is that people need to be given the option of not retiring. Good said, "For some people, reaching age 65 is not an automatic cue to file for social security."

In addition to her standing offer of a free 30-minute phone discussion, Good will be conducting one of her innovative "teleclasses" during International Coaching Week. A teleclass is a complimentary over-the-phone workshop, with as many as 30 individuals on the line, during which Ellen focuses on the Wheel of Retirement and how it can help answer prospective retirees' questions. Her next teleclass will be on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. For the phone number of the bridge line that will connect to the tutorial, e-mail a request at the address at the top of this article.

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