Archive for November, 2011

Coaching People Who Have the Deck Stacked Against Them

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Coaching those with chronic illnesses has been very rewarding. I’ve gotten to work with people who haven’t been able to find the help they need, and the suggestions and ideas I give them continue to make a positive difference in their lives long after their last coaching session with me.

But while it’s very rewarding, the coaching I do is often difficult. The hardest thing about it is facing the reality that health-wise, some of my clients don’t get better, and some of them continue to get worse as time goes on.

So far, a client I’ll call Jason seems to be in that latter group. He has amyloidosis, which is the formation and buildup of an abnormal protein. While the sites of the buildup vary depending on the individual and the type of amyloidosis he or she has, the buildup causes cell toxicity and organ damage that can result in its failure.

The type of amyloidosis Jason has is called familial. He inherited it from his mother, who died from it when she was 47. Jason is 34, and he is understandably afraid that he will die at a relatively young age. And at times he is consumed by feelings of helplessness, especially when starts or attempts to work on a long-term project. He often thinks, “What’s the use?” and abandons the project.

I gave Jason some suggestions to help him manage his feelings of hopelessness and fear. Then, because my blog readers (that’s you!) also have many of years of experience living with a chronic illness, I told Jason I would write a blog post about him. I said I would ask you for your suggestions about what he can do to stay with his projects and have a satisfying and fulfilling life, in spite of having a life threatening illness.

Thank you for your suggestions and comments!


Tom Robinson, who has Crohn’s disease himself, helps people with chronic illnesses mend their broken spirits and then he helps them find inspiring dreams – and achieve them!