Issue 4 » Life Coach Marguerite Berg: For Each Person in Life, it’s ‘My Shoes, My Journey’
By Stephen K. Peeples
“Effective coaching involves thought, strategies and action. In my personalized sessions, I focus on the present and the future, with client-defined goals, well-thought-out strategies and step-by-step action plans.”
Walking into Marguerite Berg’s cozy Santa Clarita office as she welcomes you with a big smile and warm embrace feels like finding shelter from a storm.
With the certified Professional Life Coach’s expert guidance and caring encouragement, you can relax, unwind, decompress from stress, take the time to truly zero in on your true goal(s) in life, and then figure out how to get there.
“For each person in life, it’s ‘my shoes, my journey’ – that’s why I chose that name for my life coaching practice,” Berg said. “We can only walk in our own shoes on our own personal journey.”
As a Life Coach, Berg engages and encourages motivated clients for personal growth and change. She works with individual clients who need help with a life transition, singles who want to get back into the dating world, and couples who want to enrich their relationship with their partner.
“In my personalized sessions I provide a space of self-awareness, self-discovery to individuals and couples who are struggling at a crossroads,” she said.
Berg helps her clients map out their goals, one step at a time.
“This is about your soul’s journey as you discover your authentic self, find mind-spirit-soul wellness, and learn how to live a more joy-filled life,” she said. “‘Freedom to Be, Freedom to Become Who I Am’ is another way I like to express it.”
Life Coaching is Not Psychotherapy
Unlike psychotherapy, where therapists help patients heal from past hurts, life coaching involves working with already motivated people on the present and future.
“Life coaching is not therapy,” Berg said, addressing a misperception she hears often.
“Therapy is all about healing – a therapist explores your past and provides recommendations to help you work through issues and move forward,” she said.
“That’s different from a Life Coach, who is all about the here and now and moving forward,” she said. “I work with people to make a difference in their lives, one goal at a time, one step at a time. I guide my clients to create a personalized action plan, then motivate and challenge them to achieve their goals through the realization of that plan. I focus on growth, helping clients to unleash their potential, so they are able to perform at their peak, and live a more joy-filled life.”
Inspired by Hard-Working Parents
Marguerite Berg grew up in the Santa Clarita Valley, daughter of a hard-working heavy equipment truck driver and a nurturing stay-at-home mom who were both quick to help anyone in need and taught their children the value of community service.
Inspired by her big-hearted, open-minded parents to pursue social work and help others as a career, Marguerite earned a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge in 1994.
She went on to earn an M.A. in Education (Elementary Ed emphasis) and another M.A. in Clinical Psychology (with Marriage & Family Therapy emphasis) from Pepperdine University in 1998 and 2008, respectively.
After two decades of working in the social services system, she knew there was more to her life’s purpose of serving others but didn’t know the direction she wanted to take. She discovered the field of Life Coaching in 2007 and knew that was to be her path. However, she didn’t pursue that path until 2014.
She completed her Professional Life Coach Certification program at Erickson College in 2015, then established My Shoes My Journey, opened her practice and launched her website that July.
Along the way, Berg has been active in the Santa Clarita Valley community, part of her life’s mission of service to others. She is a member of Zonta International, Soroptimist International, the Relationship Coach Institute, and the International Coaching Federation. She is an Ambassador for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, and a member and past president of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce, SCV Chapter.
On our recent visit to Berg’s office, kicking back on her comfy couch, we had a chance to find out more about who she is, what she does, and why.
3W: We’d love to hear more about how your mom and dad inspired your life’s work helping others.
Marguerite: My parents had an open-door policy: If someone needed a living space they were welcomed to live with us. We took care of many relatives who were medically or physically challenged. My dad would give the shirt off his back to help someone else.
My parents have taught me to have love and compassion for others and to always know that someone else has a greater need than we do.
They were good role models who inspired me to strive to be of daily service to others in need. That’s why I went into social work, and why I volunteer in my community. I always want to find ways to give back.
3W: What was your path to a career in social work?
Marguerite: After receiving my B.A., I worked at various group homes for emotionally disturbed adolescents. I began doing employee trainings and really enjoyed that, so I decided to get into education and teach children.
I completed my M.A. in Education and worked at a couple of private Christian schools. The challenges of working with children who have behavior problems at school made it clear to me that the need was greater in the family home. So, I pursued an M.A. in Psychology with emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy.
That was followed by several years working with agencies that provided services for children in foster care and wraparound, then working with the Developmentally Disabled population and the homeless population.
3W: A career in the public social services field must have many challenges.
Marguerite: Yes, you are expected to serve others, but also you are hindered by many constraints imposed by “the system.”
Eventually, I came to a crossroads with the social services system and was driven to help others in a different capacity, but didn’t quite know what direction to take.
In 2007, I came across a book on CD by Cheryl Richardson, a Life Coach. After hearing her story and learning about the field of life coaching, I knew I wanted to pursue coaching as a career.
However, various things happening in my life at that time led me to put coaching on the back burner for a few years.
Finally, in 2014, I met Kimberley Barclay, an amazing soul-centered woman who is also a Life Coach. I felt so inspired by her that at that moment I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer. I knew it was time for me to actively pursue life coaching.
3W: How did you then turn that passion into a plan of action, and establish your own practice?
Marguerite: I created a plan and action steps, starting with researching life coaching programs, accredited programs, and programs recognized by the International Coaching Federation.
After discovering Erickson College, I completed its program, my intern hours and the oral exam, and received my Life Coach certification in 2015, during the time I was working with the Developmentally Disabled population.
3W: After opening My Shoes My Journey in July 2015, how long until you were able to exit your day job?
Marguerite: I continued working full-time during the day while growing my business in the evening, and by 2017, I was able to make the transition to dedicating myself fully to my passion as a Life Coach.
3W: What’s an effective Life Coach, in your view?
Marguerite: Effective coaching involves thought, strategies and action. In my personalized sessions, I focus on the here and now and moving forward, establishing well-defined goals, well-thought-out strategies and step-by-step action plans.
An effective life coach poses questions to challenge desired growth and change.
Through coaching, I encourage clients to think deeply, and inspire them to create a plan to achieve their goals. I challenge, motivate and support clients along their journey.
With an open mind, through self-discovery and self-awareness, we focus on growth and change either personally, at work, in relationships, or within families.
Then we focus on their desired goals, and I guide my clients in creating a personalized action plan to achieve their goals, one step at a time.
My desire is for clients to learn to embrace their chosen path and enjoy their journey while reaching their desired goal, while embracing joy and happiness and achieving balanced mind-spirit-soul well-being.
I’m here to motivate and challenge my clients. But I also promote self-empowerment, so if I’m not around, or after our time together has ended, they can be their own source of solutions and resources as they continue on their path.
3W: What’s a personalized coaching session with you like?
Marguerite: A coaching strategy session is an experience from start to finish. My typical strategy session is one hour. It can be less or more depending on the client. I incorporate essential oils and meditation during the session. I also have my clients keep a journal as part of their journey and growth work.
Typical coaching sessions can last anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on the type of coaching and the client’s goal. The work can last anywhere from a minimum of three months to several years depending on the client and their objectives. Three months is the recommended minimum timeframe to create change and growth.
3W: What’s the greatest reward you get from being a Life Coach?
Marguerite: It’s one thing when my clients tell me how happy and grateful they are to finally be on their way to fulfilling their goal. But it’s something else to actually watch them achieve their goals and see how their lives change for the better. That’s my greatest reward.
Laura Troost Found Her Path with My Shoes My Journey: A Testimonial
After working as a Certified Public Accountant for the same employer for 17 years, I was contemplating changing jobs or starting my own practice.
I came to Marguerite Berg to help me decide what to do based on my best interests, versus what everyone else was telling me I should want for my life.
Marguerite guided me through a process to help me articulate my goals and priorities, so I could make my own decision.
She helped me figure out that my goal was to start my own practice. So I finally separated from my old firm, and have just completed my third tax season in my own practice as Laura Troost, CPA.