Doug Fraley

Philosophical Coach

Helping you see and change your story

I write, coach and teach about personal growth and self-exploration.

My Story

I draw on and share 36 years of study, leadership and mentoring. Although I’ve enjoyed much success, my accidents, failures and disappointments contribute at least as much to my offering as a coach.

Early years

I grew up in a stable, loving household in rural Ohio. Looking back, and getting to know other families through my life, I now realise my home was not ‘normal’. In fact, my childhood notion of ‘normal’ applies to so few real families that it is mainly a fiction. Almost every family I’ve come across is ‘messed up’ according to one or more of my childish rules of normality, and that includes mine. Yet, I love my parents, siblings and extended relatives all the more as I learn of their individual and our shared frailties.

I’ve had a great interest in philosophy, psychology, comparative mythology and spirituality since my university years. Although I’ve done formal courses in philosophy and psychology, my academic study was mainly the fuel for my life-long learning through reading and practical application.

Although I don’t think you should choose a coach based on a resume of achievements, I’ll mention mine here before putting them in context.


Academics always came naturally to me. An ‘A’ student in high school, I was accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated with a B.S. in Economics. In my senior year at West Point, I won a Rhodes Scholarship to continue my studies at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Before heading abroad, I completed the Army’s most gruelling leadership training – Ranger School. As a Rhodes Scholar, I pressed pause on my military career to earn an M.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.


My professional life has been a succession of mini careers with great institutions. My twenties were in Army uniform, from infantry platoon leader through theatre-level strategic planner. McKinsey & Company, a management consultancy, was home to my thirties. There, I helped clients with business problems, then transitioned to helping McKinsey’s consultants with their direction, performance and career navigation. My forties started at Google then moved into the non-profit world, where I co-founded two youth organisations and helped the UK Cabinet Office grow and manage a coming-of-age and social integration programme for the country’s 16- and 17-year-olds.

These LinkedIn achievements came in the context of playing my part in a wonderful family of my own, raising three fantastic boys. I’ve maintained an active physical life through cycling, yoga and skiing. Meanwhile, music has been a constant companion, mainly through singing at the piano.

Yet, no human life has only ups. I am divorced. Having reached a £50m annual turnover, the charity I co-founded nearly folded in its eleventh year. As these examples show, I’ve had lows. These and other challenging experiences helped me learn more about myself than did my high points.


Now, through my fifties, I’ve transitioned from helping organisations to focusing on individuals. At the same time, the scope of my aims has broadened from addressing ‘surface level’ issues to include helping with their deepest questions. This is what I call spiritual enquiry.

I hope I can help you!

My Values & Beliefs

The list below is by no means an inventory of my virtues! Instead, each entry is both an aspiration and a component of what I view as a rich life.


Real growth prioritises present experience over yesterday’s knowledge. It places openness above security, valuing what is true over the satisfaction of our preferences. Combined with courage, it explores the value & workability of discomfort.


If we are completely honest with ourselves, we can integrate personal aspects that have been hidden. This is how we reassemble ourselves as whole human beings. Eventually, it helps us recognise our place in life.


Nature, as an intelligent process, warrants our trust. This helps us accept painful, confused or deflating experiences as legitimate and valid. We learn to listen to the heart and gut alongside the head.


Life is best lived with joyful irony. Through this, we willingly play our personal roles in life’s story without taking those roles too seriously. A smile and light heart make it harder to mistake the map (words, concepts) for the landscape (reality).

Coaching – Learn More

Spiritual Mentorship – Learn More


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