People frequently ask what life coaching is and what it can do for them. The best description I have heard is that it is just like athletic coaching, except focusing on decisions and goals related to life overall–career, relationships, fulfillment. Just as elite athletes rely on their relationships with skilled and knowledgeable athletic coaches to maximize their performance, so too can people looking to excel in their lives benefit from a similar interaction with a life coach. Here are a few testimonials from some of my past clients explaining how we worked together and how the coaching process helped them: 

“I recently made the tough decision to move and take a new job. It’s a big leap for me, and a hard decision to make for my family. While I was interviewing with companies and weighing my options, I really needed a sounding board to help me sort through the pros and cons and figure out the right path. I decided to reach out to my friend Val, who is not only a good friend from college, but also a PhD, author, BJJ champ, and certified life coach. She provided exactly the objective, supportive, trained ear I needed to help me work through the decision, without telling me what to do.

“I could not recommend her more highly! Whether you are of a certain age, struggling to find work/life balance or contemplating a big move or change in lifestyle, a couple of chats with Val could be really helpful (and IMO far more useful than a therapist).”



“I first wrote to Valerie to thank her for writing insightful articles on Breaking Muscle because they got me through some very mentally difficult times when I first started training.  At the time, I was the only girl in class, and I found it hard to get certain questions answered by my male coaches and teammates.  While I don’t think there is a large difference between men and women, I do believe that there are feelings of frustration that are more common to women.  We are usually not the stronger or larger opponent, which means we spend a lot of time at the mercy of our training partners. Valerie helped provide encouragement and helped remind me to let go of my ego and not compare myself to others.  She encouraged me to discuss issues I had with my coach and take his advice, and to trust in his judgment.

“Mostly, I appreciated having Valerie to contact because she is a fellow woman, and I knew I wouldn’t feel judged for asking certain questions. I was afraid to open up to my instructors and teammates about fear of being hurt since I thought I would be considered weak. She has helped me realize that not communicating openly and honestly with those I train with is the real weakness. At some times in my training, I have struggled mentally far more than I have physically (and I’ve had 2 rounds of back injuries and several sprains). Having Valerie to personally reach out to has helped put my own BJJ journey in perspective as well as give me much needed support from an incredible and well-respected female. For a person without many female BJJ teammates or mentors, her help has really made all the difference to me and my journey, and I highly recommend it.



I met Valerie Worthington at a women’s BJJ seminar where she mentioned that she was offering life coaching services. At the time, I was in a good place generally speaking: recently bought my own place, loving romantic relationship, friendships and family and fully appreciating my passions for jiu-jitsu and music. However, I had always been someone who wanted to be intentional about contributing to making the world a better place and after many years of work in the labor movement and other community organizations I had recently felt very disconnected and stuck in a service job that I no longer found inspiring. Meeting with Valerie was exactly what I needed to get myself thinking about following my own path and creating a vision for myself with structured accountability. I appreciated that even though Valerie was not someone I was close to beforehand, she was able to get me to think about how to tackle questions and tensions in my path with intention and caring. She really spoke to and acted in such a way that facilitated me coming to my own conclusions. Valerie’s meeting preparation process of stating my goals, reflecting on what I’ve done, what I hadn’t and what I was grateful for was an important grounding process. My life coaching experience with Valerie was about investing in a space that was tailoring my development and growth in a way that was unique from other spaces in my life. She was able to help me think through handling a negotiation around training priorities, thinking about communicating with assertiveness, and establishing clarity about what I want to be working towards. I definitely recommend Valerie to others looking for a thoughtful listener, a dynamic thinker, and an accountable invested coach.



I originally met Valerie within the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community and was quickly drawn to her intelligence and thoughtful nature. So when I heard she became a life coach, (1) it made perfect sense to me, and (2) I knew I wanted to work with her when the opportunity arose. In a coaching environment, Valerie helps you break down your project or issue into manageable pieces or parts, walks you past the clutter or distractions in order to realize your solution or clarity, and then holds you accountable to your plan.  She is an incredibly attentive listener and asks pointed questions. She’s grounded in logic and is able to offer a valuable third-party perspective a situation to calmly and fairly present you with feedback and next steps. I recommend Valerie Worthington’s coaching services without hesitation.



I’ve been lucky enough to work with Valerie within the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community for years now, and her instruction and conceptual awareness is top notch. What sticks with me more than her work on the mat, however, has been her willingness to help me–and countless others, I’ve no doubt–strategize and work through life challenges in professional, educational, and athletic contexts. I’ve come to her numerous times when I’ve felt stuck in an unsatisfying work or training situation, as well as times when I’ve been unsure of what to do with an exciting, but daunting opportunity. In every instance, Val has made me feel heard and understood.  More than that, she has helped me to understand my perception of the problem, then my desired outcome, and lastly what practical, meaningful steps I can do to work toward that goal. If you find yourself in a challenging situation personally or professionally, or even just a little lost in the woods, I recommend Val wholeheartedly for her affirming and step-wise approach.



My session with Val “was extremely helpful, especially [her] clear headed assessment of everything.”