As a life coach, Yana Stockman of Duluth said she specializes in helping clients manage transitions.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

The 31-year-old has gone through some transitions of her own.

The Ukrainian native already had a master's degree in psychology and was certified as a life coach when she came across a post-graduate program at the University of Maine, she said.

After a brief orientation period on the East Coast, she and three other international post-grad students were assigned to Northwood Children's Services in Duluth, a place she'd never heard of, with weather she'd never imagined.

Stockman grew up in a temperate climate on the Black Sea. She and the other post-grads arrived in Duluth on Super Bowl Sunday in 2011.

"Would you believe, I landed and it was 12 inches of (new) snow," Stockman said recently, a lilting Eastern European inflection in her voice. "Four students from Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and myself, and we were just amazed how big of a state it is, how huge of a lake and how much snow, and here we are just signing a contract for two years to be here."

As it turned out, she was the only one of the four to stick it out for two years. She went on after that to live and work in Spain and then in India.

Meeting by accident

She returned to Duluth in 2013 for another transition, prompted by an incident during her first stint here. Driving in downtown Duluth, she ran into a car driven by a personal injury lawyer.

No one was hurt, and no real damage was done. But there was the inconvenience of a traffic mishap.

"He was like, 'How could you make this up to me?'" she related.

The attorney, Louis Stockman, suggested she make it up by accepting a dinner invitation. She did, they became a couple, and five years ago - with Yana back in Duluth - they married.

"And I started my new business as a ... transition life coach, because I transitioned myself from one continent to another, and started relationships, career, business from the ground," she said. "And this is what I do: I navigate people that are going through personal and professional life transitions."

Renee Graves, administrator at Heartland PCA, a direct home health agency, said that at 39 she had completed her "before-40" list - she had finished graduate school, landed an ideal job and reached many of her personal goals.

"I was looking for new goals but didn't really know how to articulate them," she said.

Her connection with Yana Stockman came by chance, Graves said. She won a raffle prize at an Empowering Women's Network meeting that included a box of dark chocolates and a coaching session with Stockman.

The timing was good, Graves said, because she was scheduled for a 90-minute presentation of her graduate work at a national medical conference in Chicago. She was confident about her work, Graves said, but the thought of presenting it to doctors and clinic administrators was intimidating.

The free one-hour session became a free two-hour session, Graves said.

"She was able to walk me through a visualization technique that was just amazing, the impact that it had on me," Graves said. "It gave me tools that I absolutely brought to Chicago with me to help me feel more empowered."

Appreciating the perspective she got from Stockman, Graves signed on for additional sessions.

Minimalist approach

The first session is always free, Stockman said. She also donates her time for group teaching sessions with Duluth Community Education and at the Northland Country Club. For clients, the hourly rate ranges from $80 for those signed for 12 months to $110 for those signed for three months.

Stockman's coaching is tailored to the client, but in general she encourages a minimalist approach to life, she said.

In that aspect, too, her own journey played a part, she said. She arrived in the U.S. with one bag containing 24 pounds. She found she didn't really need all of the things to which she had become accustomed.

But she had entered a culture that was much more stuff-oriented than her native Ukraine. At home, Stockman said, almost everyone lived in apartments. Here, the majority live in houses.

"The houses have bigger areas to fill in," Stockman said. "That's what people do. They fill their space with stuff."

Transition life coach Yana Stockman of Duluth listens while working with a client. Clint Austin / News Tribune
Transition life coach Yana Stockman of Duluth listens while working with a client. Clint Austin / News Tribune
Instead, she encourages clients to focus on basic needs - the need to be loved, the need for safety and protection.

Robert Sidenberg III, principal of the video production company NorthFire Group, said he appreciates Stockman's minimalist approach.

Sidenberg, who moved to Duluth from Minneapolis three years ago, flies to both coasts for his work, he said.

"It can be exhausting and draining," he said. "And so her philosophies and ideas of simplifying tend to help with all of that."

Sidenberg, 41, met Stockman through a mutual acquaintance and agreed to exchange his marketing and video help for her life coaching. He has had four or five sessions, he said.

"I respected and trusted her almost immediately," he said. "You definitely get a sense immediately from her of professionalism and dedication and discipline."

To learn more

Learn more about transition life coach Yana Stockman at:

• Phone: (770) 742-6224

• Email: yanastockman@gmail.com

• Online: yanastockman.com