Please, tell us about Coach Nora, who she is and how her history took her to this point?
My life has offered me the opportunity to have three careers: I was a systemic family therapist in my country, Argentina for twenty years; then getting at Syracuse U. I completed my degree on conflict resolution and became a conflict expert, (my focus being the Falklands/Malvinas War), and now putting the two fields of psychology and conflict resolution together, I write and coach about life conflicts and how to learn from them and continue growing up into adulthood.
I have seen all kinds of conflicts, from my own family ones to large scale, national ones, so I had always the same questions in my mind:
- What is the emotional core of interpersonal conflict?
- What frustration makes people feel so much frustration and hate as to attack others, and how can you reconcile former enemies into a respectful relationship?
My life mission now is to help people grow up from a emotionally challenging childhood into happy and purposeful people who can change their own world and mine.
- You are doing a type of coaching, that you call conflict coaching. What do you mean by that?
I look at the type of conflicts a person has, and can describe the map of interpersonal interaction with the world this person has learned while growing up. And I use a model that allows to connect this present interaction with the kind of attachment learned in the past…when you see the whole map, is easy to accept that you are doing relationships using tools that are outdated, because they were useful in childhood, but now they are limiting you. That is key for the person to move on, and be willing to learn how to interact as an adult.
Attachment is what we call the bond created by the original relationship between the baby or the toddler with his family. The main caregiver will create a bond that carries her style, personality and motherhood vision. So, you can get a more or less secure attachment, and the quality of that mindset (allowing you to see the world “is my oyster,” or “the world is scary and I need to defend myself”) will determine your future success.
- Why security is important?
When we are babies, security means life or death. Is someone there who takes care of your needs, then you are very lucky, because you survive. If the other person there ignores your needs for food, warmth, sleep and comfort, you can die. Or grow up frustrated and resentful because nobody cared, and you felt abandoned by the people who should be caring for you. H. Harlow began doing studies with monkeys in the ’50s and from then on, we know what happens with babies suffering maternal deprivation.
- And this bond can affect us in our adult years?
This early attachment style gives us the mental model of the world that we will use for the rest of our lives…Did you had a secure mother? the world is your oyster, and you trust people and circumstances to be helpful and positive.
Did you have an anxious mother, ever insecure of what to do with you? then you experiment the world as unstable, not constant and believe you need to be prepared for when disaster happens. Disaster is equal to mother’s abandonment, and you are always in “survival” mode.
And if you got a mother that wanted to do some other projects with her time, and felt tied down by a crying infant, you got an avoidant mother, as a result you will know what it is not to trust anybody who offers help, and try to solve all your problems by yourself…
From here, learning from brain’s neuroplasticity, we know that we all develop brain paths, or neural circuits that fire spontaneously in the direction of the attachment model. We look at this early training engraved in our brains and firing spontaneously, its benefits and pitfalls and then create a new model able to deliver positive and secure interactions.
- So you mean that a person who is highly independent has had this avoidant mother?
We are not born self-sufficient, but connected with others…if the child shows a strong impulse to do everything by himself, just see that there are several experiences of abandonment and frustration of basic needs underneath. Funny that we celebrate our kids being “self-sufficient” or “independent from an early age” without seeing that this could be a survival reaction to a previous abandonment….We have made of the survival need a virtue!
- What can a person do to change his original attachment style ?
This a process of re educating herself and her responses…learn to see that what we perceive as “danger of abandonment” forcing us to fight or escape, belongs to the past. Now as grown ups we can learn to trust that other people can really bond to us and not abandon us.
- How do you do your coaching?
I started coaching when I realized that the some people need help to be able to see their situation from a different perspective. An external view, that could also help them put a plan together to get from their current situation to a better place..
That is why most of my books come also with a free coaching offer over the phone or using skype, so we can discuss how to apply what it’s in the book to their situation. During this free coaching session, usually they can reach out and ask questions, and I help them see the bigger picture: a map of their relationships and how their needs are or are not being solved in them.
The nice thing about this coaching style, that is effective because it empowers people fast. Most people are really surprised when they see their situation change so much in such short time.
- And then?
Probably I use a survey or test, to see where is the person in his/her ability to recognize that something in herself is not working. I mean, the first thing you need is to stop blaming others for your unhappiness, and look at yourself with the question: What is wrong with me, that I get into this unhappy situations frequently?
With those results, I can help him/her map the childhood situation; extract the main mandates that now rule his connections with others at all levels: couple, work, social life. When we have clarified the mandates received and unconsciously recreated all those years, the person can see himself as not the prisoner of an rigid and fixed set of behaviors, and can design her own life.
- Do you have a set of exercises?
Yes, they are designed around the client’s personal story. Some include the same behaviors the person has been avoiding all his life, and how not to escape from those opportunities to add something new to their lives.
- Well, it looks like you tackle an old problem in a very direct way….
It’s the only way to get results….have the map of what you have been trained to see, feel and be in front of you, and then break that mold with creative behaviors…Having fun along the process: recovering your individuality and creativity is exhilarating.
- How changes are implemented?
We have a set of steps for clients to follow up with, and we review obstacles to that plan by phone or email. Is not a solitary process, but a lot of hand holding up until the person recognizes by herself what is their repetitive behavior, detach from it and do differently.
- How long to see results?
Almost immediately. When you have this “aha” moment, and identify what you are doing that makes no sense for your happiness, but reproduces an old mandate that now is an useless pattern, there is a feeling of excitement and freedom. Even when they can get relapses, now they know where they are facing an old mandate. The heavy lifting work begins when we need to replace negative behaviors with new ones…
- Are women issues different to men issues ?
Yes, of course…the set of human needs differ. So with men I focus on the lack of respect that makes them so angry, sullen and resentful at their wives (without being able to explain what exactly she does that hurts so deeply!), and help them identify the source of their frustration.
With women, we look very soon at family experiences that force them to comply with self-destructive mandates, and so tolerate a poor self-esteem, for years! I do know first hand the heavy weight that patriarchal ideology has on women, and is liberating for my clients to identify the self-sabotage they are accepting in order to feel accepted and included. There is so much energy and value in a woman that accepts and respects herself!
- How can someone get in touch with you?
For listeners of this podcast interested in getting fast answers to their questions, we offer this link, to access their free phone session with me:
If you are motivated to have a better, healthier marital relationship go to:
Or you can select one of my Kindle “Healthy Relationship” books:
Or you can learn about my coaching practice here: