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Escape to Wellness / Gift yourself with a plan

Coaching centers offer forward momentum


Even though most have heard the term “life coaching,” many of us don’t know exactly what it is or how it works. Shawn Marie Cichowski, a professional Certified Life & Intuitive Energy Coach, who runs Williamsville’s WNY Life Coaching Center, would like to change that.


“It’s definitely a gift for yourself,” she explains. “Self care is huge. It’s essential for well-being in a world that’s so demanding. When situations arise, how do we want to respond to life? This isn’t a nine-to-five world anymore, so we’re constantly struggling to find ways to balance personal and professional demands, twenty-four/seven. Life coaching is a great way to define your goals and create a plan to move toward them.”


Talking with Cichowski, it’s clear she believes each client she encounters is different, each with a different set of experiences and challenges. She became a life coach after a career in her family’s medical/dental supply business. Going back to that grind after having taken time off to stay home and raise her children proved dissatisfying, so she began investigating different modalities for healing—breath work, yoga, and Reiki—and saw how the concept of mindfulness, which emphasizes staying focused on the present moment, links them all together. Many ideas on the periphery of the services she offers are explored in her Coaching Conversations podcast.


In Cichowski’s practice, she’s careful to distinguish between coaching and the more familiar process of counseling.


“Counseling tends to focus on trauma from the past,” she says. “Life is life, and sometimes we pick things up along the way and they stick to us. We can strive to release those issues, holistically, with some energy work. But the focus [here] is on developing forward momentum and giving the client personal power. There’s a leap involved, though. It’s the leap over the gap of where you are and where you want to be. Defining what you want and crossing that gap is sometimes very difficult for people because it’s somewhere they haven’t been before, and there’s a strong pull to keep them in that familiar place of comfort even when it’s not ideal. Life coaches are their belief partners in getting them over that gap. We help them be able to see the possibilities.”


Cichowski is particularly enthused about the power of Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and healing that’s administered by “laying on hands” and facilitating a flow of “life force,” which is also one of her offered services. She says it’s a fantastic means of realigning energies that leaves clients feeling as though they’ve just meditated.


“It’s about pausing and reconnecting—taking your day back for you,” she explained. “The most critical resource we have is our human energy. How we expend it and recover it is an essential concern. You have to slow down a little. Your future self will appreciate it.


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