Coaching came naturally to Lauren Zander, a sought-after life coach whose top-tier client list includes executives at Vogue, Sony BMG, and The New York Times. As the co-Founder and Chairman of The Handel Group®, she has provided inspiration, lasting results and wisdom to countless individuals. Through a no-nonsense, heartfelt approach, Lauren helps people pinpoint their overall vision and surrender their limiting psychological or emotional attachments that prevent them from realizing their dreams.
Here, Lauren candidly shares how one of her big dreams was born and how we can achieve our own!
SERENE: Tell us a bit about yourself, such as your background and role at The Handel Group®.
Lauren: I’ve always been a problem solver, a mediator, and an instigator - I was coaching my friends and siblings and colleagues before I even had a name for what I was doing! Life coaching is basically the only job I’ve ever had-even before it was a “real thing”; in the late nineties, the only “coaching” available was executive coaching, in large companies, like advanced HR programs. I was working at one of them, training people and helping them build their businesses, coaching anyone who wanted it. When a former trainee of mine landed a major radio show, I knew that my practice had validity and that I had to take it to the next level. Then, while teaching at MIT, I birthed a big dream, The Handel Method®, and I started chasing that dream with everything I had.
SERENE: We love that The Handel Group® was founded by sisters! How has sisterly love shaped the company?
Lauren: There’s nothing better than working with my family - as the youngest sibling, it was always part of my mission to keep everyone together! Over the past 10 years, it’s been my greatest joy to share a dream with my sisters and bring aboard all of the greatest people we knew. Our whole company is essentially a large, tight-knit family- it’s a testament to the success of the Handel Method® that we have grown organically into such a nurturing, communicative, inspired community. I always like to remind my sisters, “we were not born this way!” It takes a lot of hard work to resolve family issues, communicate clearly, share the same dream and work towards it together. Having a business ethos that is built on what are essentially “strong family values” has created a company culture which is in many ways revolutionary.
SERENE: What are a few of the most popular reasons people choose to hire a life coach?
Lauren: The most popular thing I hear from new clients is, “I’ll have what he’s having!” They’ve seen it work with their own eyes. They’ve witnessed a friend radically change their lives, their careers, even their personalities. Most people have tried other things-therapy, meditation, yo-yo dieting, weekend yoga retreats-and they come to coaching when they’re ready for a real, radical, permanent shift.
SERENE: Please describe the Handel Method® and the unique benefits it offers.
Lauren: The Handel Method® is the course of work I developed to train new coaches to provide a results-based, fast-acting alternative to marriage and family counseling, career and personal development counseling, or other forms of talk therapy. Our coaches don’t just provide a sympathetic ear — they ask questions and pose challenges, they get you to think about the big stuff, and they hold you accountable for the changes you want to make. The Handel Method® is based on accountability to your dreams—we call it Personal Integrity®-and we teach you ways to build it out in every part of your life.
SERENE: Why are your life coaching services empowering for women?
Lauren: Most of our coaches are women. Our company was built by women and our client base is largely female. I think it’s important to mention that as women in 2015, we occupy a different space than our mothers and grandmothers. Divorce is real, self-sufficiency is a must, and most importantly-now more than ever-we have the opportunity to design our lives and careers and legacies in a meaningful, world-changing way. Teaching women to dream boldly, lead confidently and live with integrity…THAT makes the world a better place.
SERENE: Can you please tell us what your Design Your Life Weekend workshops are like? What can one expect and what type of wisdom can someone walk away with?
Lauren: We have a variety of offerings! We have weekly and monthly live and phone programs geared towards different goals- mastering time, dealing with your creative career, designing your health, dating 101. But the Design Your Life Weekend is our flagship workshop we created to introduce people to the Handel Method® overall. It’s kind of a crash course on how to live a brilliant life, how to break old habits and theories, and how to build personal integrity. With total honesty and a little tough love, our coaches lead you to major epiphanies and help you formulate a plan of action so you can walk away feeling inspired and ready to take on your dreams.
SERENE: In what ways do you encourage people to evaluate their own lives and how does this help them realize their dreams?
Lauren: I created the Handel Method® to codify my coaching philosophies over the past 20 years into a simple program. The first step of the program is to divide your life into 12 Areas (relationship to self, career, family, etc) and write extensively about each one - what is your dream for that? Where are you currently? What do you think is coming between you and the dream? This process forces you to take a look at the bigger picture and envision a full, balanced life that you can actually take steps to achieve.
SERENE: What advice would you share with someone seeking a balanced, fulfilling life?
Lauren: Figure out exactly what that means for you, and then do the legwork. So many people go through life without really understanding what they actually want from it, what their dreams really are. You need to take an inventory of every part of your life and get specific - how do you want to look, how do you want to feel? What’s important to you? “Balance” in your life occurs when you have a handle on all the moving parts, and you have a plan for them. Set goals and get focused on the real thing instead of all the unimportant distractions. Racing through your life without a clear vision of what you want-it’s like driving off in your car and not plugging in the GPS coordinates of the destination You’ll wind up lost, in the middle of nowhere, with no gas.
Find out more about The Handel Group® flagship workshop: Design Your Life Weekend in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles.
Lauren Zander is the co-Founder and Chairman of The Handel Group®, an international corporate consulting and private coaching company. Her coaching methodology, The Handel Method®, is taught around the world, including at MIT and Stanford Business School, among other top universities. With nearly two decades of experience and a client list which includes hundreds of individuals, groups, entrepreneurs, couples, families, and executives at Vogue, BASF, Sony BMG, NYU Medical Center, and The New York Times Company, The Handel Group® guides people to the fulfillment of any kind of dream. Lauren has been a featured expert in the New York Times, the BBC, the Joan Hamburg Show-WOR, Forbes Magazine, Women’s Health, the Dr. Oz Show and Marie Claire. She wrote the weekly Businessweek column “Coaches Corner,” presented at TedX Women’s Conference in Amsterdam and contributes regularly to The Huffington Post. Learn more about the Handel Group® at www.handelgroup.com