Coming Alive in Retirement: Life Coaching

Ever feel like you are stuck in a rut or that life is just drifting by, and it is hard to get motivated? You might even be questioning your purpose in life or perhaps a concerning family issue is making it hard to focus.  (PS. Retirement is a REAL time for wobbles when it comes to Identity and Purpose questions.)

Consider working with a life coach! According to the website, a life coach is “someone who counsels and encourages clients through personal or career challenges.  A life coach helps guide clients to reach their ultimate goals”. 

Life coaches help individuals but also groups who come together for a common purpose. Businesses use life coaches to help motivate employees, improve their well-being, or foster an atmosphere of inclusion and belonging.  For us retirees, we often feel like coaching is for the young or our “working years,” however many of us struggle to know how to LIVE out this stage with real passion. Coaching is a key tool that can help us as we search for direction and motivation.

There are no federal or state-mandated educational or licensing requirements to become a life coach, but there is industry consensus on education and training: Completing a coach certificate program is highly recommended and many are available. 

Pat Malandra is a certified personal and professional coach. She received her credentials from McLaren Coaching in January 2020 and practiced in California for many years before moving to Sussex County.  

“Coaching is a partnership between coach and client that helps the client get what they want by helping them identify it, define it, remove obstacles (both internally and externally) and take action”, she says. “It is a unique and powerful catalyst for new insights, growth and outcomes.” 

Our own Delaware Retiree Advisor, Len Hayduchok, also put in the time to get Life Coaching certification as an addition to his Fiduciary / Certified Financial Planner accreditation. His approach to Financial Planning incorporates a Life Coaching element that, although unique in the industry, is vital per Len, “For retirees to benefit fully from financial results, the financial planning process must start with an understanding of who they are and what is most important for them to pursue in retirement.”

Grand Canyon University’s blog describes the difference between life coaching and counseling this way: “Whereas a therapist focuses on the reasons for of a patient’s behaviors and thought patterns, a life coach focuses on how their clients can overcome current problems.”  

Mental health therapists or psychologists are trained and licensed to diagnose mental health disorders. In contrast, a life coach does not have the ability or authority to diagnose a mental health disorder. 

As Malandra says, a coach does not give advice, therapy, consulting, or mentoring.  She designs 12-week programs for clients with sessions taking place once a week. The program is based on the client’s goals and objectives. Prior to starting the 12-week program, gives clients an Intake Form that prompts them to write down their desired outcomes for the sessions. It helps define what clients really want from coaching.  

For Malandra, a typical session consists of a Check In (how individuals feel at that moment), identifying desired outcome for the day’s session, a review of action steps and, after the first session, a review of the results from the previous coaching session.  Per Malandra this approach creates non-judgmental accountability. Each session ends with setting action steps for the next week and discussing takeaways from each session. She conducts sessions for individuals and groups consisting of between six to eight people (in person, via Zoom or audio chats).  

Hayduchok has designed a Life/Money System that he lays out in both his MaxAMAZING Your Retirement book and OLLI 5-week class. “My mission to my clients evolved from presenting the best financial products available for meeting their needs to offering comprehensive financial planning services and applying my financial and life coaching skills to each client’s unique circumstances. Retirees have the flexibility to spend their time and money as they desire. However, I have found that the retiree segment of the population underachieves the potential for how meaningful their financial resources [and LIFE] can be to them more than any other.”

“Being part of others’ success has always been deeply fulfilling to me,” Malandra says. “That fulfillment is even more pronounced when I see the empowerment, hope, and excitement generated in clients’ lives as they achieve outcomes and create change in both their personal and professional lives. It’s thrilling!” 

You can reach the coaches as follows:

PAT MALANDRA: | 610-513-5391 | Click to learn more about Pat


free resources available at | email his assistant with any questions or to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation,

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland.

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