by Margaret Lobenstine
coaching practice, have you run across people who are:
- totally gung
ho about one idea. Yet, just when the coaching work gets
them moving on some solid, specific first steps, they want
to completely change direction?
articulate managers who don't seem motivated by the
vertical promotional opportunities put before them, and
freeze-up when asked where they hope to be in five years?
clients, successfully climbing their career ladders, who
feel more bored, than pleased by the situation without
If you've been nodding your head, you may be coaching
Renaissance Souls without realizing it. If so, here are
two very different possible outcomes:
- Becoming well versed in the most effective ways to help
such clients can add a very exciting group of Renaissance
Souls to your coaching base. (And the word-of-mouth will
- Not understanding the special issues Renaissance Souls
face, especially in areas such as time management,
self-esteem, and life design, can cause you to quickly
lose such clients.
Who Are Renaissance Souls?
While there are many differences among them, Renaissance
Souls are people who share the following three
They prefer variety and combination over choosing any
Their process involves widening their options rather
than narrowing their choices, and correlating the task
they're doing with the energy place they're in as much as
They have an unusual definition of success: upon
reaching the point where they truly "get" something,
Renaissance Souls opt for change rather than expansion.
Even if others believe there's more to do, greater glories
to achieve, more markets to conquer, Renaissance Souls get
bored. "Been there, done that," could be their mantra.
What Renaissance Souls Are Not
- Renaissance Souls have no more need to be geniuses than
people who follow one passion need to be child prodigies.
- Nor do all Renaissance Souls suffer from ADHD
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). That's a
neurological disease that affects some people and not
others across the spectrum of humankind: in fact,
single-focus Mozart has been identified as having ADD.
are often thought to be Renaissance Souls. However,
Renaissance Souls choose to change positions/fields
because change feeds their spirit, while many job-hoppers
prefer to stay put, but aren't given that opportunity,
due to buy-outs, changes in the economy, and other factors
beyond their control.
How to Know If A Potential Client is a Renaissance Soul
Keep your ears open for indicative early clues:
- "I'm a mess. I
can't ever stick with anything. I've done so many different
things I can't even do a resume!"
- "Everyone else
sees me as successful, but I can't explain it: I just want
- "I have a
million things going but I can't seem to finish any of them,
which disappoints others and makes me feel so guilty!"
- "I've enjoyed
jumping around doing different things with my life, but I
don't have a secure retirement package, so know it's time to
get with it and pick a career!"
Things To Do Differently When Coaching a Renaissance Soul
Be conscious of the language you are using (e.g. avoid
using questions like "What do you find most
interesting/worthwhile/intriguing?" as a litmus test for
making decisions.) Also be aware of the assumptions you
may be making (e.g. that Renaissance Soul mission
statements will serve as a helpful guides for choosing a
Do Renaissance Soul Clients Provide Special Challenges?
Yes, to effectively coach your Renaissance Soul clients,
you need to be equipped to answer profound questions such
- How on earth
do I make a living if I keep pursuing different interests?
- What about the
fact that I never finish anything—I have all these half-done
projects making me feel guilty
- Can't I be
considered an expert in anything?
- Sometimes I
wonder if it's just too overwhelming to be pursuing so many
A Special Plus to Remember
Many of you
may be Renaissance Souls, since coaching offers such
variety, and in
learning more about this area of coaching you may also be
inviting more kindred spirits into your practice. It's a
great gift to know the difference between
"Jack-of-all-trades, master of none" and Renaissance Souls!
It's also truly gratifying to help such clients understand
their special gift.
Margaret Lobenstine, M.A. is an internationally known
and author of THE RENAISSANCE SOUL: Life Design for
People With Too Many Passions to Pick Just One (Random
House, 2006.) Her nine-CD set, COACHING THE RENAISSANCE
SOUL: The Guide to Working With Clients Who Have "Too Many
Interests" to Pick Just One, provides hours of detailed,
practical information and is available through her website