“Most of the time that’s their goal—to make the student really interested.”
Duke says his primary objective in his coaching is to help students get “more of what they already love and better in the way they perceive or identify themselves, and also improve their skills, and make them feel more engaged by their lives. I want to use my personal skills in a very creative and fun way.” The goal here, according to Durham, is to make an impact, and, of course, to get you fired up, too.
When a college student asks about the role of life coaching, Duke takes the stance that life coaching, like coaching in any field, is a process, but it’s a process that requires both a student and the coach to find, develop, and nurture their passion. Durham says that he’s learned from his own experience that he wants his coaches to be good, kind, and thoughtful people—the kind of people who would like to be in his classes in life coaching. “You have to work hard before you can be good at your job,” he explains. “You have to spend time in your life and connect with that passion.”
Athletes can come to Duke and coach in life coaching programs that are designed to appeal to athletes on their individual passions, skills, and goals. But they don’t necessarily need to be from the college level, Durham says. “There are people who have trained other professions before. They’ve worked in health care—a nurse practitioner, an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, a physician. A lot of people are interested in other professions.”
This is where Duke’s approach to life coaching comes in. Durham teaches students a basic, holistic “life-mind and life-body approach” to life that includes things like meditation, yoga, and exercise as well as a philosophy that teaches the meaning of success. After a year of working with students to find their own life goals and passions, he offers a one-on-one coaching session after which students may invite him to come by their homes for dinner. Students are asked to sign written agreements that define their commitment to stay healthy, get better at their craft or sport, and develop what Durham calls a “strong and confident self.” He gives out scholarships based on how many students he has had a chance to coach, with students being admitted after achieving three levels of success: one a coach for 10 minutes and one a coach for 20 minutes per week. After this year,