Big Heart Coaching
Jan 29, 2013 08:25PM
● By Beth Davis
Laurie Phillips’ path has not always been an easy one. In fact, she admits that it has “taken a village” to help her connect with her life’s purpose. Ironically, it was her rocky path that gave her the strength, commitment and compassion to launch Big Heart Coaching to help others deal with the confusion and paralysis that often comes with navigating their own winding, and sometimes traumatic, course in life.
Phillips graduated from the University of Colorado with a fine arts degree, then moved to San Francisco and started working as a graphic designer. Eight years later she moved to Minneapolis with her first husband, whose chronic alcoholism eventually led to his suicide. Her own use of alcohol and food got out of control and she ended up in several recovery programs. A component of her recovery involved mentoring others, and she realized she was good at it. That was more than 20 years ago.
“When coaching emerged as a profession in the late ’90s, I took some training so that I could be a better mentor,” says Phillips. “Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I fell in love with the work and the community.” In 1998, she became certified in coaching from The Coaches Training Institute, the first school to receive accreditation by the International Coach Federation.
She launched Big Heart Coaching to help people with their careers, health and relationships. She started with five clients and her practice has grown steadily over time. For many years, she worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a senior graphic designer four days a week, while running her coaching business. She would even coach co-workers on her lunch hour. Eventually, she realized that she was only bringing a small part of herself to her corporate job and, in 2006 she left the company to focus on Big Heart Coaching full-time.
Phillips specializes in vision coaching—helping people to see the path of most liveliness. “At some point in our lives, we all experience stress,” she explains. “It could be in our career, our health or our relationships. There’s often a feeling of loss and helplessness that makes it difficult to take the actions that will lead to feeling better. Coaching can help release what’s blocking you so you can move through stress and get back on track with your life.”
Those who come to her might be dealing with such issues as chronic health problems (such as weight gain), relationship conflicts and work stress. Phillips says she gently helps those clients deal with external and internal blocks that are standing in the way of what they most want, using tools that have worked with hundreds of others.
About four years ago she began using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) meridian tapping to optimize emotional health. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture for more than 5,000 years to treat physical and emotional ailments, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to apply kinetic energy to specific meridians on the head and chest while stating the problem out loud, or “voicing it along,” with positive affirmations. Phillips says that since she began using EFT, she has experienced startling results both in her own life and her clients’ lives, and she continues to use it daily.
Phillips’ own past struggles with co-dependent relationships (although she has now been happily married for 20 years), an eating disorder and job happiness give Phillips an advantage by helping her identify with her own clients. “I understand what they are going through,” she explains. “I’ve been there and I can help them move forward in their life.”
Phillips offers a free sample session to every new client to determine if the relationship is a good fit. If it is, she will move forward with a four-month track—typical for most, but not always necessary and not required. This includes a core-values assessment, a tool that can be used numerically for decision-making, a Perfect Life Vision wheel that helps clients know where they are in relation to what they want most and coaching sessions.
Dedicated to educating and helping as many people as possible, Phillips offers workshops and free teleclasses. She often partners with other practitioners in the community to bring something more to participants, such as the recent workshop Gentle Weight Loss with EFT and Yoga. “I like to get out there and have direct feedback,” she explains. “When you do something in a group, participants are able to see that we all have something in common. For practitioners, I think it’s important to showcase that we can all learn from each other’s work.”
This month, she will begin teaching at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, in Minneapolis. Her first class will be Stress Relief with EFT and she is hopeful that more will come. “It is a great honor and privilege to be asked,” she says. She also hopes to work with cancer patients and their family-care partners.
Whether in-person or via phone (she counsels people all over the country), Phillips says that seeing people change and gain their freedom inspires her each day. “We are all walking together in this, and we’re walking together in step,” she says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”