Our Stories – Volunteer Life Coach, Brendan Coyne

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Our Stories – Volunteer Life Coach, Brendan Coyne


Brendan Coyne has been a life coach with COPE Galway since last September. He meets with clients to help individuals make choices to improve their lives on their own terms by setting and working towards achievable goals.

One exercise Brendan and his clients use is called the Wheel of Life, an activity which encourages clients to examine various areas of their lives and rate how satisfied they are with each one. Life coaches then guide clients to choose one area to work on, decide what they want to achieve and the steps they need to take to get what they want.

For instance, if their goal is to get a job, we need to identify their skills, and where they might apply, and practice interview skills.

Meetings with a life coach take place on a fortnightly basis, generally at COPE Galway’s Fairgreen office. A meeting might last about an hour, but are tailored to clients’ abilities. Face-to-face meetings had to be halted in light of COVID-19, but Brendan said he hopes they can resume soon as restrictions are eased.

In addition to a life coach like him, Brendan stressed the importance of someone in their family, social circle, or even another member of the COPE Galway’s staff to hold clients accountable as they work towards their goals.

“I was working with one young man who progressed quite quickly, and his goal was to get fit by hill walking,” Brendan said. “He started going twice a week and soon he was going four times a week and found someone to walk with. That way, he’d made a friend as well to keep him at it.”

Personal experience with COPE Galway motivated Brendan to volunteer with the organisation as a way to give back.

“COPE Galway provided key support to a family member at a crucial time in her life – so volunteering is my effort to repay COPE Galway for that support,” he said.

“Having been evicted from our home when I was young helps me identify in some way with those who are currently homeless. When I retired I studied to become a life coach and I wanted to put these skills to use to assist homeless people achieve their full potential,” Brendan said.

What I get from volunteering is a huge sense of satisfaction when I see someone I am working with grow and develop their potential and expand their horizons as I believe they have the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their goals in life.

Life coaches provide support, but the clients’ goals come from within. “In life coaching you examine the values of the client and that informs the choices the client will make. You want to be sure their choices honour their own values.”

Reasonable, achievable goals can bring about real changes. Brendan shared the story of a client who, when he moved into a house for the first time, was doing the shopping every day. Brendan helped him save money by instead going once a week with a list. “He said ‘oh yeah my mother used to do that’ and was able to start doing it himself,” Brendan said.

“By learning from past successes we show clients how they already have more life skills than they might have thought,” he continued. “You help them push out the boundaries of what they can achieve.”

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