Grass Valley resident and life coach Helen Attridge is on a mission to bring people together to discuss how they can bring about change in the world.
Attridge, a native of Northern Ireland who has made Grass Valley her home for the past 12 years, is CEO and training director of the Academy of Coaching and NLP. Her company offers an intensive coaching program that emphasizes creating one’s own “ripple of change” to help people transform their live and the lives of others.
NLP stands for neuro (the brain), linguistic (language), and programming (the organization of information).
“People spend more time learning how to program their iPhone or their TV remote than their brain,” said Attridge.
She believes that NLP coaching helps clients learn to program the software in their own mind, body and spirit.
“The gap between where you are and where you want to be is the story you tell yourself about why you can’t have that,” she said. “NLP helps people rewrite that script by understanding what the beliefs are and why they’re there.”
The Academy of Coaching and NLP, which is accredited by the rigorous International Coach Federation (ICF), provides support that enhances the client’s own talents, resources and vision.
“The coach helps the client create the results he or she wants by facilitating the solution rather than coming up with it,” said Attridge. “Our students use the training to help others transform themselves and the world around them.”
Attridge’s “ripple of change” focus attracts a global clientele from a multitude of different backgrounds, including health professionals, executives, therapists, veteran coaches seeking the prestigious ICF credential and people who are completely new to the field. This past summer’s intensive training in the Bay Area attracted students from many countries, including China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Brazil, Israel, Estonia, France, England, Singapore, and across the U.S.
Attridge, who holds both Irish and American citizenship, left home at 17 to travel, study and work her way around the world.
“I experienced one world and one people, connecting with people at a simple, basic level. I considered myself a global citizen from a very young age,” she said.
Her experiences adapting and connecting across cultures, ages and religions created a foundation of life experience and training that prepared her for the life she is now leading.
Attridge is especially excited about the work that she is doing in China.
“People have made a lot of money in China, but they’re burned out,” said Attridge. “I want to connect them back into the joy of life and to help them grow by using their experience and wisdom to improve and change their communities.
“My company’s trainings in China have really touched me at a core level; the students have a deep desire for growth personally and professionally. I am moved by their strong desire to heal themselves, their families, their work environments, their community and their country,” she added.
In her more than five years teaching in China, Attridge says there is a common theme that strikes a chord with her students. Whether on a professional or personal level, they are seeking to blend traditional values with modern living in a global world.
“I’ve been really moved by how hungry the Chinese are for growth. Very wealthy entrepreneurs want to use their money and talent to make a difference,” she said. “There’s a lot of bad press about China. But the people I meet are inspired and hungry for growth.”
Attridge sees her efforts to train coaches as a stepping stone to global leadership.
“I partner with people to transform the world — whether locally or internationally — making it a healthier, more prosperous and peaceful place,” she says. She hopes that all who go through her Academy of Coaching and NLP will do the same.
“We teach people to really listen,” she said. “Everyone wants to be seen and heard, no matter what age they are or what culture they are from.”
Attridge, who travels extensively and is on her way back to Shanghai in November, loves coming home to Nevada County.
“I have to come back and be among the pine trees,” she said. “In the winter, I work in front of my wood stove. In the summer, from my hammock chair in the garden.”
Her lifestyle is an important part of her work.
“Coaches create a life they want and model that for their clients,” Attridge said. “You can design the life you want.”
Diane Covington is a freelance writer.