Coach Interview Series: Moira Duggan

by Brandon

Moira Duggan

Holistic Healer and Life Coach

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Moira Duggan. Moira is a Holistic Healer and Life Coach based in Charleston, SC.

NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Moira: I am a sole practitioner. I work mainly one-on-one, with mostly women now. It took me a little while when I first started practicing to refine my target audience. I thought I wanted to work with everybody, but without specializing, I soon realized my energy was spread in too many directions. And that didn’t best my clients OR me.
The Universe is amazing in that it sends you those people that need exactly what you are offering (and also needing yourself).

I typically do 75-minute sessions. I work with people who are kind of in a stuck place in their life for whatever reason, and it evolves from there. We identify the blocks, patterns and beliefs that are getting in the way of them experiencing happiness, connection and freedom. I do this through energy work (Reiki, vibrational medicine ) and soul coaching. Being a holistic health practitioner, my goal is to help my clients uncover the root cause of their suffering, and I do that in a unique way. Reiki has a way of revealing what is most needing to be released, resolved or healed – in a quick and enjoyable experience. As opposed to typical talk therapy, the client experiences a deeply relaxing spa-like treatment, followed by a review discussion, and often a practice or homework to support moving them forward. My practice now has a definite spiritual/energetic focus of getting to the root cause of what’s happening in their life. The underlying cause on the spiritual aspect.

NCA: What initially got you interested in this career path?

Moira: My own journey. My own struggle. Feeling disconnected and feeling a little lost. Not feeling fulfilled in life, although I had everything on the outside that I was “supposed to have.” Life looked good on the outside but there was something missing. I had been through traditional therapy, and found it un-helpful. I was having hormonal problems and I thought that was the cause of my angst. I eventually found a health coach (who was also a life coach.) We worked together starting with the hormonal imbalance, and we got really quickly down to “Okay, what’s really going on here?” She really helped me identify what was going on under the surface, and having that emotional support was really what I needed.

After we had worked together for a few months, I asked her the same question, “How did you get started on this career path?” I really loved what I saw her doing with her life. She was just so peaceful and loving and I could tell she really cared about what she was doing. She told me where she went to school, and we talked a lot about that. She actually coached me to find the right fit for me, and to decide if the time was right. She really helped me not only work through my own issues, but help guide me onto this path, because it was what was right for me – and I’m so glad. It’s been amazing.

NCA: Did you need to complete any kind of certifications for the types of coaching that you do or any specialized degree?

Moira: Yes. It was important (to me) that I have a certificate to put on my wall….being the over-achiever that I am. [laughing] I enrolled in IIN because I was always really interested in health. That year was life changing. I loved their program and it expanded me in more ways than I ever could have imagined. After that, I completed a 8 month yoga teacher training – which really brought my understanding of mind-body-spirit practices to the next level.

I took my Reiki training to Master level – which was another game changer because it gave me a unique way of connecting with people that was nurturing, spiritual, insightful, and highly affective! Later, I studied NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), and got certified in hypnotherapy. I can see now how I was really being led to build a practice around emotional and spiritual health and how it affects the physical body.

Currently I am studying vibrational medicine (sound therapy) and homeopathy, and it thrills me to no end. I continue to study anything that interests me, and I would encourage anyone to do the same. I don’t necessarily believe a degree or certification is always necessary. It’s how you apply the knowledge to your life that makes the difference.

NCA: If you can think of anything, what have your clients taught you?

Moira: So many things, but mostly that we all have value. We all have something to offer – our unique gifts and talents, and we are ALL worthy of love and happiness. We are not broken, and everything has purpose. We all struggle with the same things, but being kind to yourself and loving to yourself is often what is missing. As I remind others of their inherent value and worth, I can believe the same is true for me.

They give me a good reason to “walk my talk” and to really take care of myself because if I’m not doing it, who am I to ask them to do that? They have taught me that gratitude is a practice. I say all the time “I am so blessed to be able to do this work”, and it’s true.

NCA: It sounds like to me that’s what you find the most rewarding, is that right?

Moira: Yes – it’s just really being able to do this work. I’ve always been a good listener, compassionate, and naturally able to hold space for people, but I never thought that that was something I could get paid for!! [laughing] It’s just such a gift to be able to do what I love and to make a difference in people’s lives. The feedback I get from my clients blows me away every time.

We’re not there to fix it for them. We’re there to hold the space so that they can find the solutions for themselves, because then we’re empowering them rather than making them reliant on us.

NCA: Not to bring down the mood at all but…[laughing] what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do or maybe something that you find particularly difficult that maybe you weren’t expecting?

Moira: I think a lot of people think coaching is giving advice all day, telling people what to do, and how to do it — and it’s really not. Sometimes it can be a challenge not to do that, when they hold that expectation – especially with health coaching. People would come to you and say “Okay, just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Tell me what to eat, tell me what to do, create a schedule and an exercise routine for me.”

It’s challenging to try to teach people to get in touch with their own knowing. To learn to trust themselves again. It’s deeply personal and it can be hard to refrain from offering a solution, at times. But it’s so much more empowering and lasting for them to come to solutions on their own. We’re not there to fix it for them. We’re there to hold the space so that they can find the solutions for themselves, because then we’re empowering them rather than making them reliant on us.

That’s how I operate my practice, but it’s definitely challenging because I think everybody that comes to this work is just naturally a compassionate person. We want to help and we want to alleviate suffering and so, I try to show them their innate tools that allow us to navigate life from a loving, mindful place.

NCA: Can you think of a mentor in your career or maybe even somebody before you got started who had a significant impact on your career and the way that you think about coaching.

Moira: Yes. I’ve had lots. I’m so blessed to have so many wonderful mentors. But I can think of two and the first one was my stepmother. It was just the person that she is. She taught me about unconditional love and helped me on my personal road to healing.

Another would be my yoga instructor. She just embodied everything that I wanted to be. She was always this calm presence, always ready and willing to listen, but she wouldn’t let you go down that ‘poor me’ path. She looked at everything from a higher perspective, and helped me realize everything had purpose. She was probably the best coach I’ve ever met.

She had this ability to naturally hear what people were saying and relay it back in a way that was empowering for them. She really showed me what it’s like to be compassionate but not codependent. It’s not “Do what I say.” She wasn’t preaching at all. She was just like, “This is how I live my life and if resonates with you, great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay.” She would never tell you what to do. It really inspired me.

NCA: If you can think of one piece of advice that you would give to somebody that’s just starting out, maybe they haven’t even gotten certification yet but they’re sure that this is the path they want to go down. What’s one piece of advice that you would give to somebody in that very early stage?

Moira: To follow their heart. To listen to that inner voice that really ask “why is this important to me?” Because when we get in touch with our “why”, then everything else falls into place. Find a school that resonates with you and feels right. Don’t let the finances or schedule be the only factor. Those things change. When we follow our heart, the rest of life tends to work itself out.

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