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Unleash  Your  Passion  for  People

Would a senior citizen be at a disadvantage as a coach?

by Jan Gouws
(Middelburg, RSA)

Hi Bill,
I have studied and re-read your report several times and it sounds very exciting but... I am 69 years old according to my ID. I was forced to retire in 1995 and then started my own business selling and installing computer business systems. I work hard and make a reasonable living but I still have this dream that I am not living my destiny - if you know what i mean.

I have observed an interesting aspect in dealing with our customers - when we first make contact and start a new installation they tend to prefer to talk to my (considerably younger) partner, but as soon as we go live and they need day to day assistance I get 95% of the calls - they say I train better and i am extremely patient when they battle to understand.

Hence my concern - will people not be put off by my age on first meetings? I am physically fit and healthy and I love exploring unknown territory.

Your straight reply will be appreciated.


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Jan 29, 2008
Thanks Jan!
by: Bill Burridge

Hi Jan

Thanks for your question. I have been asked this a few times and my answer is always the same. In many ways, I believe your senior citizenship can actually be an advantage! The great benefit you have to offer is life experience and the wisdom that comes with it.

I would suggest that many people are more likely to feel comfortable being supported and coached by someone older than themselves. For some, having a younger coach can cause them a measure of embarrassment as it is their nature to compare themselves with others at a similar or younger stage of life. Consequently, they may feel awkward exposing themselves to a younger coach.

So, a casual relationship ('shooting the breeze') may be easier with a person of similar age but the very personal relationship that comes with having a life coach may be easier with a person one associates with being older and wiser. This may explain why your customers appear to relate better to your younger partner - until they require advice, support and help.

I think you will find that as a 69 year old coach your target market will be substantially different from, say, a 30 year old coach - but there is no reason why it should be any smaller.

I congratulate you for listening to your inner voice that knows you have more to give. I wish you fun and fulfillment as you follow your dream!


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