sucked down a rabbit hole of suburban
responsibility. How, I asked Sibley, can
I get more out of my packed existence?
And we were off.
In a voice as soothing as chamomile
tea, Sibley traced the contours of my
life, asking how I allocate my time and
whether I might consider handing off
some of my responsibilities. He was trying to help me envision the path to more
poise, less stress.
“You might say to some of the people
you interact with: ‘Can we have a re-
structuring conversation? Because I find
I’m juggling a lot of things.’”
Here is what we decided at the end of
my two sessions: I’m a good candidate
for further coaching. Sibley noted that
my resistance to change—an area he
specializes in—was still burning strong.
MY ENCOUNTER WITH ANOTHER, less
buttoned-up coach only tossed fuel on
that stubborn fire.
Laura Berman Fortgang may be New
Jersey’s most high-profile life coach. The
Verona woman is the author of five self-help books with titles like Take Yourself to
the Top. She’s also an Oprah alumna, having doled out advice on the show in 1999.
This year, she began moonlighting
as an entertainer. Her alter ego is Life
Coach Lurlene, an outsize personality sporting leopard-print stretch pants
and a Dolly Parton wig with va-va-voom
cleavage to match. In a one-woman
show she calls Find Your Inner Glitter
with Life Coach Lurlene, Fortgang poses
as a deep-south trailer park guru who’ll
dispense advice to anyone who’ll listen.
“Lurlene’s mission is to save the souls
of celebrities. She gets all her information
from People magazine,” said Fortgang,
who toggles skillfully bet ween a New Jer-
sey accent and a Southern drawl during a
non-coaching phone interview. “She’ll say
to her audience, ‘Look at how good you
have it compared to Kim Kardashian.’”
Fortgang has already paraded the
show from Manhattan to San Francis-
co in Lurlene’s sky-high heels. (She will
appear at 8 PM on November 16 at Stu-
dio Playhouse in Montclair.) She would
seem to be satirizing life coaches. Only
she isn’t, she said.
“I’m sitting on 20 years of experience
that coaching works,” she said, point-
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