Winning moves

By Mara Rockliff

What is a coach? If you’re thinking of a guy who blows a whistle and yells “drop and give me 20,” it might be time to slam the locker door on high school gym class and step out into the New Age.
“A coach is a partner helping you become who you want to be,” says Owen Young, one of perhaps two dozen professional “life coaches” working in Charlottesville. “Coaching is a custom-designed alliance that will lead you on a process of self-discovery– to identify your deep values, your life purpose, how you want to live, and help you understand where you are now.”
At anywhere from $150 to $1,000 a month for weekly sessions lasting 30 minutes to an hour, self-discovery does not come cheap. But the cash-strapped and curious need not despair. On Thursday, June 20, two nationally known life coaches will come to Piedmont Virginia Community College to introduce and demonstrate their art in a free show called “Just Like Life.”
No dry lecture here– these guys are entertaining. When he’s not coaching, Michael Neill (www.dailycoaching moonlights as a British sitcom star. Charlottesville’s own Jay Perry ( has worked as a screenwriter and director, too. Performing between segments will be D.C.-area musician Alice Ripley. And, with drinks and snacks from Feast before the show, the audience should be primed for a good time.
Feeling shy about your issues? Fill out a card (anonymously) on your way in, and the coaches will pick interesting questions to answer during the show. Feeling gutsy? Jump onstage for a live coaching demo. You might reach the airwaves, too: the show is being taped as a pilot for a possible radio series.
“Just Like Life” is sponsored by the Charlottesville chapter of Company of Friends, a readers’ network for the magazine Fast Company (described by Young as “Fortune magazine meets Rolling Stone”). The group is free to join, and puts on monthly events open to the public.
“The neat thing about coaching,” Young says, “is that it isn’t necessarily problem-focused. Some people are in transition. Some are having a great life, and they just want to make it even greater. Our basic premise is that clients are creative, resourceful, and whole.”

The Charlottesville chapter of Company of Friends presents life coaches Michael Neill and Jay Perry in “Just Like Life.” Thursday, June 20, 6:30-8:30pm; social and refreshments 5:30pm. Dickinson Building, Piedmont Virginia Community College. Free and open to the public. Register at or call Owen Young, 297-3756.

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