Coaching older and second phase clients is an entirely different flavor than first phase and younger clients. I would say more than 95% of coaches often coach second phase and older clients the same as first phase clients, and do not even consider that there could be a difference. The reason why this could be is that most coaching and personal development books are specifically targeted towards first phase client ideas.
What are First Phase Clients?
The first phase in life is about building our container, establishing the shell of our identity, and finding our place in the world. We get an education, a job, a profession, a relationship, children, friends, a home, a car, we figure out what social class we will belong to, etc. We are establishing ourselves in relation to our outer world, and how we are defined on a resume or on a description-based level. We are also creating our own safety net in relation to finances, family, and friends, and all these things are important to us.
You cannot assign a specific age to this, as it is really where clients are in their evolutionary process.
What are Second Phase Clients?
Older, second phase, clients are more interested in filling the container, with things like purpose, meaning, spirituality, personal development, and value-based living and working. They ask questions such as “who am I on an identity level?”, “what impact do I want to leave during the last part of my life?”, “how can I lead the rest of my life in well-being, and what is well-being?”. Our inner world and the relationship with ourselves becomes more relevant, as does our connection with the intangible, and the bigger scope, instead of the tangible and countable.
Some of us never reach this second phase. For those that do, many make massive career or relationship changes first, as their first phase container often doesn’t allow for filling the container. Many people never make the connection to fill the container, and eventually become disconnected and unfulfilled in the last part of their life. This needs to be coached appropriately.
The problem with most books and the approaches of most coaches?
The majority of personal development books and materials are really about meeting goals in the first phase of life. Goal setting with a due date already gives this away. Second phase clients should be coached much differently, based on fulfillment and in a deeper sense of who they are.
I believe the niche to become an expert coach, trainer, or writer of personal development books, is largely untapped regarding second phase or older clients.