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Ep. 71 – Conversation with Doreen Yaffa

In this episode Jeff interviews Doreen about how she got into coaching, her style of coaching, and her focus on helping women to create their best lives after divorce.


Doreen: Hi, my beautiful friends, and how are you? Hope you’re having a good day, and if you’re not, things will get better. I promise. I know divorce is tough, but you’re gonna make it there. You’re gonna get past it, and you’re gonna get onto your best life. So today my husband asked me if he could interview me so that you, my listeners, our listeners get to know me a little better and why I guess I do what I do.

So I said yes, reluctantly I might add. Don’t like the spotlight on me too much. So I guess if we’re ready, let’s get started.

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

Hey Jeff. How are ya?

Jeff: I’m doing fantastic. How are you?

Doreen: I’m good. I’m good. What’s going on? We’re in the middle of the holidays.

Jeff: Another day in Paradise. It’s beautiful outside and we have some great, uh, things coming up this weekend. So I want to do interview you today cuz I feel that you have a very interesting story and I know our listeners are probably gonna agree with me when they find out a little bit more about you.

Doreen: Okay. And you know, if you go to my, I think it’s my first episode, which started off as life after divorce coach. Oh, I’m sorry. Let me go back as,  your amazing divorce when I started this a while ago, I talk a little bit about the history and why I got into coaching and all of that great stuff, so they can always go back there too.

Jeff: Yeah. And we have a lot more listeners since then that are probably believe very curious.

Doreen: Okay. Well, I will answer whatever questions you want.

Jeff: All right. Well, tell us, how did you get into. How did you become a lawyer? Or why did you become a lawyer?

Doreen: I guess at a very young age, I just always thought that I wanted to do something with my life as far as a career that could sustain time, if that makes sense.

Okay. You know, in other words, lawyers can practice law until the day that they pass. Right. You know, it’s one of those careers that you can do that. So I thought, listen, I really like being analytical, I like strategy. I feel that I’m really good at arguments.

Jeff: I’ll agree with that one.

Doreen: So I got into it. Yeah. And I just navigated towards family law. I think because my history of coming from a divorce family, and so I think I navigated towards family law as a result of that. It was either, at that time I was thinking either family law or entertainment law, and I knew that if I did entertainment law, living in Florida at that time, you know, we’re talking 25 plus years ago, that I would probably have to move to LA or New York if I really wanted to be serious.

Now, of course we know Miami is thriving when it comes to the entertainment world. So family laws where I ended up. Yeah, and never really looked back. Just love practicing law and still do it to this day.

Jeff: You know, a lot of times in your marketing you use the term board certified. What does that mean?

Doreen: Okay. Yeah. I’ve been board certified in marital and family law since 2001. What that means is that I have taken on an extra exam, basically to become qualified to practice in Florida as a specialty. So I’m considered an expert, which there aren’t a lot of us. There’s about 250, lawyers that are board certified in Florida.

So, in the family law practice. So, you have to practice for five years, you have to have a certain amount of trials, litigation experience, and then you have to take an exam. So, yeah, so I became board certified in 2001 and every five years you have to reapply and the committee determines whether or not you are eligible to continue with your certification. And I have to this day.

Jeff: Well, that’s great. You know, as your husband I’ve heard, you know, you talk to clients or discuss things just in strategy and you always seem to light up. I’ve mentioned this to you many times. You always seem to light up when you’re helping a client go through a tough time. And so I was wondering how did you segue from an attorney into life coaching.

Doreen: Yeah, so I think this segue was kind of a as I say today, an organic approach. I would say I became certified as a life coach in 2000. I think it was 2018. I am not good with years, so I apologize. But 2018, 2019, I became certified as a life coach.

How that happened is I was looking for something for myself. I had felt that, or at that time I felt that I had accomplished a lot in life. My kids were doing well, we were remarried. My practice is thriving, but something was missing. And I’m sure a lot of listeners can  relate to that. Like there’s just this emptiness inside.

As a matter of fact, I was just talking to one of my daughters about that she’s feeling very like gray, blah, and that’s how I was feeling. And so I remember that I was in Colorado. I had the girls with me, we were on a girls’ trip. My girls were upstairs sleeping, and I was downstairs in the lobby at, in snow Mass.

It was early and I didn’t wanna wake them up. I think we were sharing, you know, a room like, in other words it was two double beds. And anyhow, I went downstairs, couldn’t sleep, and started to like, just research about, you know, feeling lost, kind of these types of things. And I ended up landing on the life coach school, which is where I became certified. I started listening to their podcast and that was it.

And then what I realized is that what I was learning as a life coach applied tremendously to my clients, you know to have the ability to control and understand your thoughts so that you could create the best life that you wanted and that you could foresee for yourself. I said, this is a perfect, perfect combination for my clients. And coming outta divorce is tough and sometimes it takes a slap in the face or an unfortunate situation such as divorce, death, illness, things like this in order to kind of get you to realize that you gotta change something in your life. And you have the control over it.

Relying on somebody else to make you happy, relying on somebody else to show you the way, relying on somebody else to guide you is not going to work. Right. So you have to rely on yourself. And I thought this is a great tool for my clients.

Jeff: Okay. That’s excellent. You know, in the last episode, you had asked me about coaching men.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: How do you feel that the difference between coaching men and coaching women plays into what you do?

Doreen: Right. So, I think that, you know, and this is generally, it’s not for everybody, right? It’s just generally, I think women are more open-minded to the thought process in today’s world as we sit here now to coaching.

I think that women coming together, in an environment, I started off with workshops that I did once a month. You know, this is before the pandemic. This is before we did everything by, you know, mostly by Zoom and things like this. I used to have people come to my office, the women, it was a women’s group, and once a month I would have a topic, let’s just say like the manual or setting boundaries or discovering yourself after divorce.

And we would just talk, being in a room with women who have been through the same experience and sharing their heartaches and their goals and their accomplishments is really empowering. And when you are with women who have been through divorce and at different stages, some just going through divorce, some contemplating divorce, some past divorce for years, it’s the experience makes and listening to everyone makes, you know, or gets you to understand that you’re not alone. You know, this is something that 50% generally of the population goes through is divorce. So yeah, that’s how it came together.

Jeff: And I’m sure that some of the things that you coach them on would be beneficial to anybody, whether you’re going through a divorce or not.

Doreen: Oh, for sure. I mean all of our teachings with regard to coaching, you know, I think they should require this, like in highschool. Yeah. You know, because I look at our kids, I look at, you know, they’re in college and one already graduated, but they really lack life skills, life coaching skills, you know, how to deal with the pressures in society and what they’re thinking about themselves and their self-esteem and social media and the haters out there.

It’s just, I think it’s so valuable and we can put our resources into many things. You know, we can use it, we can use our dollars and our time to create a life we want, or we can use our dollars and our time just to buy things and put a bandaid on it and feel good for a minute. And so I think the investment that one makes in life coaching is you couldn’t ask for a better return on your money.

Jeff: Gotcha. Now, is there a certain, I wanna say type of woman, but a certain woman that you prefer to coach?

Doreen: Look, I’m open to coaching anybody who really wants it. The first thing for me is that they truly come there with the intention to give a hundred percent. If they’re coming in half, you know, you know what?

If they’re really not committed to the process and I need to vet that, like I need to vet that from the beginning, then it’s just not a good fit, you know, because my goal is to take on clients who really want to put the time and effort in, and I’m gonna hold them accountable for it. But I’ve started to turn my practice in life coaching into what I can, I think, best serve the type of woman, which is more of the professional, you know, lawyers, accountants, whatever profession, real estate, whatever you happen to be in an entrepreneur businesswomen because when you’re going through divorce and post-divorce and you are dealing also with your profession and your business, that’s a whole different animal. And so I just relate to them because of course, I’m an entrepreneur and a businesswoman.

Jeff: I know that there’s client attorney confidentiality, however, is there any example you can give us of a client that you coached that you really were able to help her?

Doreen: Well, I would, I would say that all of my clients have benefited some more than others. But I think that, you know, there’s a couple in particular, there was one woman that I was coaching, this was a very sad situation, which she had been the victim of domestic violence for a very long time at the hands of her husband.

And so we were dealing both with, you know, that issue meaning therapy because she had post-traumatic stress. And so dealing in compliment with the therapist, that would probably be one of my, you know, one of the things that I feel best about is that she was able to first become, get safe, get out of the divorce, you know, and be safe and physically safe.

And then to work on her emotional power took time. So that’s one of the ones that I mean, I have stories and situations that she, not stories, I mean, actual circumstances, mean facts that happened to her that no one should ever have to go to. So coaching can be for anyone, you know, in those circumstances, when I’m dealing with somebody that has such an emotional history and when you’re dealing with something like abuse. Yeah, I’m not a therapist. Okay. So I work in compliment with someone who is actually qualified because we’re working together. The therapist working on the back issues and how to deal with what happened to her in the past. It could be from childhood, it could be from adolescence, it could be like, in this case, domestic abuse.

And then me working on future goals. And that’s where life coaches, we really focus on the future. But in order to have a client who I’m coaching in their best position to move forward and to grow, sometimes we have to first deal with the back stuff. Right

Jeff: Right. Yes. Can you give me an example of, you know, I know most of our listeners have ever discussed in the past the model and how we go through the coaching, but can you give us an example of how you use the model to help a client?

Doreen: Well, okay, so the model is a circumstance, and then there’s a thought, a feeling, an action and result, right? It depends on how the person, my client, presents, if that makes sense.

So I use the model. I don’t just go in and start, I teach the general philosophy about the model because it’s something that you need to know in order to understand our coaching and style. But I don’t emphasize the model right away. It’s a learning process. It’s something that takes time.

So I use it working on really identifying where the client is. For example, the circumstance is divorced, you’re getting divorced, so that’s a fact. Right? And then dealing with their thoughts about the divorce, their thoughts about their ex, their thoughts about their children, their thoughts about being single.

So I deal with their thoughts and how those thoughts are serving or not serving them. We always know in coaching if someone’s life is a bit chaotic based on your results. So for the listeners out there, if you feel, if you have the thought process that the results that you have in your life are not what you want, then you’re a candidate for coaching.

Jeff: Gotcha. Can you tell us a little bit about some, well, let’s say something that the listeners do not know or maybe surprised to hear about Doreen.

Doreen: Well, I think that a lot of the listeners probably don’t know my background in that, you know, they know that my mom was a single mom. They know that I had a sister.

They know that my parents divorced. They know that, you know, I, or they may not know my mom moved from Massachusetts here to Florida. But what they probably don’t know is that I’m self-made. You know, I left my house with $50 in my pocket and I went and basically put myself through school. My mom couldn’t afford a penny.

She worked two jobs raising my sister and I, and it was really tough. So I’m what they call a self-made person. I don’t come with a silver spoon in my mouth. I’ve had to work really hard for everything that I have and it was tough and I’ve been through a lot with regard to that. I wouldn’t change it for the world because I think it really makes me who I am. And I also wanna emphasize that the challenges and failures and roadblocks and difficulties and stressors that you have, such as getting through divorce, are going to make you stronger. They’re going to make you a better person. Sometimes when adversity strikes me again, like something happens, let’s say, I don’t know, an example maybe there’s something going on in one of my cases, my legal cases and the judge rules against us, which would be rare, by the way. No, but let’s say, you know, adversity. Adversity on some level, right? I’m like, bring it on. Because when you’ve been through so much and you become stronger and you get to the other side.

It really makes you just more resilient. So if I have a case, for example, and I’m working with a client and a family case, and there’s some roadblocks, it’s like, okay, we’ll figure this out. We got this. You know, it makes me stronger. It’s made me stronger.

Jeff: And that strength and resilience, how does that make you a better coach?

Doreen: Well, I think because one of the things is we’re going to work hard together, you know? In other words I think my personality and my coaching style, if you’re looking for someone who’s warm and fuzzy, I am sweet and kind, but I’m also going to be really on you. There’s this combination, I think, based on my history of you can do hard things and I believe that all of you out there can do hard things, what happened? And so I think that my hard knocks life kind of gives me that insight that many other coaches may not have. Coupled with my understanding and kindness. So it’s kind of like, I’m gonna be tough on you, but then I’m gonna be really sweet on you. It’s, I think that’s my best, one of my better, you know, assets when it comes to coaching.

Jeff: And I think that’s one thing that they don’t know about you is that you are very kind, you’re very sweet, and you can be very tough as well. What a good combination?

Doreen: I’m one of those personalities where there aren’t a lot of excuses in my book, you know, like excuses to me are, there’s no room for that.

Like, and when you start looking at your life and what you want, you know, are you blaming other people for your failures, for the results that you have? I don’t, you know, we gotta dig into that. We gotta look at that. We gotta see where your results are and why you’re not accomplishing what you want.

And so I think that having that kind of tough love situation with my clients from time to time is something that helps ’em to grow. You know, I’m gonna challenge you. I’m going to really, you know, challenge you with a kind heart. But because I really want to see my clients go from where they are to amazing.

And I know they can. I’ve seen it happen with my clients. I mean, I can’t, you know, I can’t even count the number of times in my fingers that, or, or more antos, um, that I’ve seen people and the results that they get mostly my women clients that I’m dealing with. Right?

Jeff: Right. Well, your firm is very successful. You have other businesses that you’re working on. What’s next for Doreen Yaffa?

Doreen: Well, what’s next is we’re gonna continue with our coaching and my family law practice, I’m positioning it to where I can spend more time coaching. Looking forward to creating some programs, more affordable programs. So, while we do one-on-one coaching right now, it’s not for everybody.

Meaning that I think that you should always afford it because, you know, like I said, you gotta put the time and the money. And you could spend your money on other things, or you can spend it on your future and your thoughts. What better thing, what better use of money?

Jeff: And I’d rather look at it as an investment versus spending money. It’s an investment in yourself when you agree.

Doreen: Oh, absolutely. It’s the best investment that you can put your money into.

Jeff: Well, great. Well, I want to thank you so much for giving a little bit of an eye-opening vision of what Doreen Yaffa is made of and who she is. And I know it’s a little bit of a shorter episode but I’m sure it’s probably one of the most interesting.

Doreen: Well, I don’t know about Interesting. But listen, I’d love to talk to anybody more and certainly I’m what they call an open book.

Jeff: So how do they get ahold of you?

Doreen: They know how to reach me.

Jeff: They know how to reach you.

Doreen: You go to our website. But you know, if you wanna reach me, you certainly can. And even though I don’t have any coaching spots available, cause I only take on a certain number of women at one given time, so I can really dedicate my time and efforts to them.

I don’t have any spaces available now, but there is a wait list. Yes. So if y’all wanna come over and talk to me, I’d be happy to talk to you. Put you on the wait list. I believe that I’ll have a couple spots opening in February.

Jeff: And I’m available now.

Doreen: You are, you are available.

Jeff: I have a few spots open myself. Well, thank you again.

Doreen: You’re welcome. Listen, listeners, I hope that you think better or more about coaching and see if it’s for you. Try it on for size. Do a complimentary consult. You know, whether with me or Jeff or someone else. But looking at the resources that you have available to help you get past the divorce and onto your best life is important.

You know, don’t try to go this journey alone, okay? Don’t live in isolation. There is help out there and there’s some tremendous resources for you. And I know, I absolutely know because I’ve done it. I’ve myself, I’ve gotten past divorce. And onto the other side, and I know you can too. And I’ve seen it happen with my clients, so there is hope at the end of the road.

Jeff: So well anyway, have an amazing day. Thank you again and let’s finish it up.

Doreen: All right, everybody, listen, love yourself. Be kind to people and remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jeff: Talk to you soon.

Doreen: Bye.

Jeff: You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

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