Coming out. We all have to do it at least once in our lives, whether it’s to our family and friends, our workmates or the neighbourhood busybody who keeps asking why we haven’t met the right girl yet. And sometimes it’s great. Sometimes we’re embraced and celebrated. Other times it’s a shit storm of El Nino proportions. Either way, it’s essential to have a plan — or if you don’t have a plan, rest assured that Brian Madigan the Get Naked Guru does.
For the past eight years, Madigan has been working as a life coach, helping clients to strategize and create the lives they want to live. Hitherto, his clients were largely women in their middle years, facing issues like empty-nest syndrome, divorce or retirement.
“It was very rewarding work,” Madigan says. “But it was time to do something different. I’m a gay man, and my expertise is with the gay community. I’ve always been concerned with how I can reach out and speak to gay men, bi men and men still in the closet.”
So Madigan switched gears with a program he calls Naked Gay Men, a symbolic shedding of the hang-ups that can keep gay and bisexual men from leading full and rewarding lives.
Madigan’s previous experience in corporate IT gives him special insight into the challenges of a corporate environment; conversations about personal sexuality are difficult enough with friends and family, but things can get pretty awkward when dealing with co-workers, subordinates or your boss.
“In a corporate environment it’s more political,” Madigan says. “We need to understand possible impacts on chances for promotion or how your staff with look at you. For some people it’s just a wish that they could be a little more open with their boss or their team.
“There’s a lot of planning that needs to happen, particularly if someone is completely in the closet. We need to be careful that he is coming out to people he can trust.”
The process is sometimes a slow one, but Madigan works with his clients to craft an approach that encompasses not only personal and professional relationships, but the relationship they have with their own sexuality.
“Regardless of where a client wants to focus, it has to be about them looking more deeply inside themselves, developing a relationship with themselves and understanding their deeper underlying values. We figure out how they want to live their life and who they really are.”
As clients work with him to create their own personal program, Madigan helps them assess the level of “outness” they want to achieve, as well as resolving self-sabotaging behaviours that may stand in their way. There’s meditation, breathing exercises and lots of homework. If it sounds a bit like therapy, that’s because it is.
“Things can get intense,” Madigan says. “Sometimes a client is in conflict with who they were taught to be by their parents in their early lives. Once we start digging into those deeper values they start seeing themselves in a different way. That gives them a very different perspective on what they want to do.”
Madigan works through Skype and telephone, feeling this lends a greater degree of flexibility for business people or those living outside of his immediate area. He’s currently offering a three-month beta program for new clients, along with his usual six or 12–month program. There’s also a one-hour introductory coaching call to create a Get Naked Action plan that they can work on themselves, with another coach or with Madigan himself.
And while coming out is one of his specialties, Madigan also offers support with achieving other professional and personal goals — even finding Mr Right.
“Getting naked with yourself means really diving into it. It can be about family, work, the existing circle of friends or getting on the love train. All you have to do is come to terms with all the pieces of yourself.”