Coaching program helps turn breakups into breakthroughs


A serendipitous run-in on the subway became crucial to one heartsick woman’s journey of getting over her breakup.

“It had been a couple of months,” says Jennifer, who didn’t want her real name used. “But I was still not ‘over it.’ I was struggling with wanting to still be with that person and thinking about ways to get support for myself.”

She contacted Brandy Sommer Wood, whom she’d met on the subway, for coaching in how to find her way through the fog of self-doubt her previous relationship had created. Sommer Wood’s varied careers and a decade-long relationship took her around the world with her then fiancé. During her journeys, she discovered her true calling.

“When I talked to people, I found they didn’t have a lot of life balance,” says the 41-year-old owner of the coaching business called Vitality Life Coach. “I felt I had a passion for helping people, to ask them the right questions to give them a direction.”


After breaking up with her fiancé in 2008, she enrolled online in the International Coach Academy, Australia, to study for a professional coaching certificate. The theme of relationships, hurtful ones, damaging ones and painful ones was common in her conversations with people wherever she went. So now she runs a unique niche coaching operation called Your Break Up Break Through.

Rachel, who also did not want her real name used, found the coaching service through Kijiji.

“I was feeling confused and lost, and not sure of who I am and what to do,” she says. “I remember feeling sad and upset and depressed. I found her on one of the search engines and I reached out to let her know what I was going through.”

Rachel used one of the coaching programs through, which are offered online or over the phone.

“During my college time someone approached me to coach them about their sexuality,” she explains about why she moved toward coaching just women.

“It was only men contacting me, and I felt I had to change it to women because there are issues with transference.”

In therapy and coaching terms, transference refers to the possibility that clients may develop feelings toward their therapist or coach.

Sommer Wood says use of the online platform helps her avoid the issue of transference. Each client has to go through a screening process, which involves a conversation with the coach inquiring about their state of mind and how far they have progressed in their breakup.

This initial interview also helps determine if they need a coach or a therapist. Usually, she accepts clients six months post-breakup, but she says exceptions can always be made.

“It’s a six-week process for coaching and extra for image consultancy,” she says. “It can be done over Skype or phone, whichever is more convenient, with each session being an hour long.”

She has developed special coaching material for students. There are also group sessions available in webinar form.

For both Jennifer and Rachel, the process was successful, with Sommer Wood’s constant support and coaching acting as a female support system outside of the usual friends circle. For Rachel, the embarrassment caused by the termination of her relationship demanded she be guided by a person objective to her situation. That is one of the reasons Sommer Wood and Rachel still keep in touch even after coaching has officially ended.

“She was a good outlet for my feelings,” says Rachel. “I remember feeling a little relieved each time. It gave me the boost in confidence in myself. I know she really cared. She was a godsend and still to this day I feel like she cares. She was there every time I needed to reach out. And I’m forever grateful for that.”