For Third Age Fulfillment
Third Age fulfillment and how does it become important from a coaching
are the questions that I was attempting to answer when I signed up for a
virtual class with seven other “Third Age” coaches and two
facilitators from The Center for Third Age Leadership.
The real draw for me came from my introductory discussion with
. I’d heard her
description of the course on a Tele-class where she piqued my curiosity.
Later in a private
discussion I was drawn to her intelligence and relaxed easy manner. She
is joined by
, the other “wise
elder,” who is equally charming and very well versed in Third Age
principles. Since I was
interested in making “Third Agers” my coaching niche, I set out to
learn all I could on the subject.
The course is based on
’s book The Third Age; 6 Principles of Growth and Renewal After
Forty. Although reading
the book on its own is very helpful for
working with Third Age clients, the class helps to lock in that
learning with an experiential approach. In
the time span of an hour and a half every Tuesday evening, information
is shared, stories are told, and insights are discussed. I
find that actually listening to individuals who are struggling through
and embracing the developmental tasks of Third Age makes it more real
and more memorable.
The benefits of this program are two fold. The
first is that you receive information that is helpful when coaching
Third Age clients and the second is that you benefit personally. Every
week you are given homework assignments which have you reflecting on
your own experiences and beliefs about this period of growth and change.
In the last couple of weeks I have found myself mirroring back to my
Third Age clients the developmental task they are describing in a
coaching session. What I
have found is that this helps to “normalize” what they are
experiencing and frame it in a more understandable light. My
favorite one is the concept of BOTH/AND as opposed to EITHER/OR. When
I catch myself stuck in Second Age EITHER/OR thinking and reframe the
issue as a BOTH/AND, lots of possibilities open up.
As in any program, what you put into it, you get out of it. There
are weeks when I have lots of time to reflect on the assignments, and
those classes seem to really resonate. Other
weeks I may fly by the seat of my pants, like when I tried to do my
homework during my son’s little league game – well you can guess how
much self-discovery happened that week!
This is a pilot class and, like any pilot. I know it will continuously
change and improve over time. Already
I have witnessed changes that are increasing the value of the class
experience. The lecture time
has deceased and the interactive discussions have increased. In
my estimation the more visceral the learning the better, and that shift
If I were to highlight the best part of this virtual classroom, I would
highlight the ten different people in this Tuesday night community. They
come from different geographic areas; from the Midwest, the East Coast
. Their ages range from 45
to late 60s. Some are living
alone and some are still bringing up children, but they all share one
thing in common. They all
see the power and the value of sharing aspects of the human experience
with open hearts and with courage. They
do this in service of their own and their client’s personal growth,
fulfillment and happiness. For
me, that is inspirational and time well spent!
Nancy, Melita and Bill