Why Is A Private Investigator Akin To A Life Coach???

Bruce Graham


When potential clients contact a Private Investigator about Family Law issues, more often than not they are in extreme pain. They have given everything they know to give, sometimes for decades, to their primary love interest – the one they stood before God and their community and promised to – Love, Honor, and Cherish – “Now and Forever.”  And despite their best efforts they failed.  They justifiably feel wounded, betrayed, and uncertain as to how to move forward with their own lives, let alone how to deal with the impact on their children, and other family members.

Anyone who has been through this will tell you that despite best efforts to “protect the children”, all kids experience some form of anger, humiliation and/or rejection. Effectively, their hearts have been torn in two because the two adults they love the most cannot get along.  Life as we knew it just died – and that sucks.

As well put-together as some people appear on the outside when entering the divorce process, they are only masking the enormous distrust going on in the inside – distrust of themselves and of others. Can anyone blame them?

With the break-up of a relationship comes psychic trauma. The nature of the injury runs the gamut from emotional (always), to physical (sometimes), and financial (oftentimes). At a minimum, these folks desperately want to be listened to, understood, and to be “made whole” again.  At that time the first job of any helping professional, be it a Private Investigator or a Life Coach, is to establish sufficient rapport to be able to effectively guide them beyond the murkiness in their space so as to arrive at terra firma again, as quickly and as safely as possible. Together we must figure out:

1. Who they are at their core
2. What they want
3. How best to get them there

Once I have that background of profound rapport where they trust that I understand them and what they want, we can then begin to explore “WHAT” we will be doing together.  Typically, my emotionally-charged Family Law clients are seeking one or more of the following:

• Ammunition to ensure a fair division of assets
• Ammunition to protect their children as best they can
• Ammunition to prove the break up “was your fault.”

Once the objective is determined we need to deal with “What is your budget?”  In all my years as a PI, unlike my experience as a Life Coach, I have never heard anyone with a Family Law issue respond with a thought-out budget for investigation. The typical response is, “What does something like this cost?”  It is not unusual for an already-wounded client to hear this as if he or she is nothing more than a “pay check” to the Investigator.

Akin to any helping professional who supports clients coming to them in severe pain, investigators tend to have caring hearts. There is a natural pull to want to be the “hero” and save the day. Yet there are hard dollar costs involved with investigations, as well as Time, Mileage, Overhead, and the cost one pays for Professional Expertise.

Experience has taught that honest and authentic communications “without any attachment to the outcome” provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance the working relationship. With compassion the PI conveys:  “I appreciate the stress and pain you are currently experiencing. I want you to be free of that as quickly and completely as possible.” To accomplish that I am going to present you with:

• Your options
• Their related costs
• The probability of success of each

I will answer all your questions and then ask you to choose which, if any, option(s) best suit you. My intention is to empower you to make an informed decision. Should you choose to not retain my services, I am okay with that too. Does that sound fair?

Ideally, in the act of being empowered to choose the client experiences themselves back in the driver’s seat. With this renewed sense of power we arrive at a satisfactory budget and now begin to implement the plan as a With today’s technologies investigators have a myriad of tools and “toys” available to develop all sorts of information. Some are legal, others are legal only under certain conditions, and there are those that are flat-out illegal. A few common tools are:

• Video cameras and moving surveillance
• Monitoring e-mail messages, chat room discussions, and internet
• Tracking a spouses vehicle
• Performing asset searches
• Using electronic eavesdropping detection

My personal commitment when acting as an Investigator or as a Life Coach is “first, do no harm.” If a client requests a service that I believe will bring harm to them, I counsel them about the danger of that option and work to re-direct them to something more suitable. 99% of the time this is effective. (You would be astounded by what some seemingly “normal” people request.) Because we are often dealing with the dark side of humanity, the work of a PI often takes us to some interesting and unusual places.

I invite you to join me Monday 3/17 at 8pm CT (9pm ET, 7pm MT) to hear how these dynamics played out in some real life set of circumstances in the online webinar, “A Private Eye’s Unique Perspective On Relationships.”   Learn the issues clients were dealing with, the actions they chose, the outcomes that were produced, and the difference each made in each life. If you or someone you know is dealing with infidelity and contemplating the need for a PI (or for a Life Coach), you won’t want to miss this discussion. There will be plenty of time for Q & A so bring your questions!

By Bruce Graham
Private Investigator
Life Coach

Going on a Date with Someone New?


Do yourself a favor — do some detective work on your own!

Here’s how! Dating is a process where a two people meet, go somewhere socially and get to know each other. Sounds benign right?  Not exactly. This is the day and age of crazy $%#*&@. Strange things can and do happen all the time. Hackers make their living breaking into computer systems, identity theft – one of the newer and more serious crimes – is as common as peanut butter and jelly. And, with the internet being used to source anything from arm candy to a full-fledged relationship – who knows what you’re in for. Chicago’s NorthShoreInsider.com met with Bruce Graham, a licensed private detective and owner of ETS Investigative services. While Bruce and his team have historically been used by lawyers for assistance in the areas of skiptracing, civil litigation, personal injury, marital surveillance, and criminal defense work, more recently Bruce’s practice has been growing with regard to primarily women asking for information about men they’re dating. Here’s the topline on how to play Sherlock Holmes at home while you’re dating:

  1. Adopt a “Wits About You” Attitude: Don’t worry about being a little extra cautious and seeming a bit paranoid. Use the same good judgment with yourself that you would with your child going to a new person’s house. Find out the vitals – name, home address and home phone number, date of birth and where your date works.
  2. Google your date. This might sound obvious – but you’d be absolutely amazed at what you can find. Also check out My Space and/or Facebook– these sites are just as popular, if not more so, with the over 35 crowd as they are with the college-set and twenty-somethings.
  3. Take Your Own Wheels. While chivalry is not dead – save it for down the road when you feel more secure. Always have your own transportation and extra cash in the event you get a funny feeling about your date – or just have had enough.
  4. Dig a little bit. If your date is a professional check out any of the associations he/she would belong to. Ask a friend in that industry if they can help you find out about your date.
  5. …Where Everybody Knows Your Name. Not literally but pretty close. Plan to meet where you are recognized. Or call ahead and share your situation with the Maitre D. A bartender, hostess or waiter who knows you can put your date on notice. That alone offers you a degree of added safety.
  6. Red Flags. If any of these signs show up on your date proceed with caution. Evasiveness – not answering your questions and deflecting information. Not being able to reach him or her by phone or text, or not being where they said they’d be. What they told you is NOT adding up.

Whether you’re new to the dating world or re-entering it, these practical tips can help you or someone you know reduce concern or avoid future heartache – leaving more opportunity for a good time. And, if you are at all suspicious about someone you’re involved with, check them out – why wait? If you need assistance, contact: Bruce D. Graham, LPD, MSW Vice President, www.internationaltrace.com Life Coach – The Distinguished Coach Mobile 847 401-3438

Ask for It Upfront!

What Do You Wantn - SmallAsking for what you are looking for upfront is an act of honoring yourself and your own needs when it comes to finding the love of your life.  On many of the FREE Conscious Dating Group Coaching Calls, there is often concern from the participants that if they are upfront about what is important to them, they will upset the other person and I say, “That’s OK.  You now have clarity that this person doesn’t value the same thing(s) you do and you haven’t wasted your time with this person…and you haven’t wasted their time either.”  Sometimes, we get into relationships where we date a person for a few months before we ask these important questions.  Why?

For example, one participant at a speed dating event saw one of my Top Ten Speed Dating Tips and decided to implement that tip during his 15 mini-dates that very night.  While I was there supporting the participants, one woman came up to me very upset that a gentleman had asked her about her political views.  Later on, that same gentleman came to me and stated that he had asked about political views and had upset a few women.  I asked him how important political views were to him, and he stated that it was very important; that he couldn’t be with someone who didn’t share his political views.

While a question like that may upset someone, guess what?  You have your answer!  Many times, because we are too afraid to upset someone, we delay talking about an important value/subject like this and you’ve wasted valuable time and energy with someone who likely wasn’t compatible for you.

Your REQUIREMENTS in a relationship are things that are non-negotiable such as religion, politics, non-drinker, etc.; either that person agrees with your requirement or they don’t.  A requirement is something that is black or white; unlike NEEDS, which are different from REQUIREMENTS, there are no shades of gray in between.  Either they are Jewish, a democrat, and a non-drinker or they aren’t.  Once you know your requirements, it is time to find someone who meets ALL OF YOUR REQUIREMENTS or move on when they don’t because even just one of your requirements not being met will eventually lead to an unsolvable problem in the relationship.  Wouldn’t you want to find out if this might be a problem upfront rather than months or years later?

Listen to a previously recorded Conscious Dating Group Coaching Support Call

Register to participate in the next Conscious Dating Group Coaching Support Call
(Third Monday of every month at 8:30 pm EST, 7:30 CST, 6:30 MST, 5:30 PST)

Vows…..The Kind You Can Keep

I Promise

I’ve never been married.  While I’ve always wanted to be married or in an extremely committed relationship; it simply hasn’t turned out that way…yet!

About 6 years ago, my mother came across a book that she wanted to make sure I had read:  Lies at The Alter, by Robin L. Smith.  She wanted me to have a more realistic perspective regarding marriage and vows or, as she used to say, “Do as I say, not as I Do.”  She was doing her best to make sure I avoided the mistakes/mis-perceptions she had made in life.

In a nutshell, the book describes how the traditional vows and promises we make are nearly impossible for us to keep.  For instance:



TRADITION VOW #1:  For richer, for poorer…
TRUTH #1:  As she states in her book, ” The major lie couples tell themselves about money is that it isn’t an issue at all.”

TRADITIONAL VOW #2:  In sickness and in health…
TRUTH #1:  “Few couples take the time (or wish to take the risk) to clearly define the implication of this vow before their marriage.”  Does this include weight?  Will you stay with me if I let my health go or does this only apply to diseases?

There is so much great truth in that book that I read so long ago.  So much that it made me decide that when I get married or seriously commit my life with someone, we would write our own vows creating a marriage or commitment that was clear, real and honest for the two of us.  Since my significant other hasn’t magically appeared in my living room yet, I have been focusing a lot of time and energy on dating; something I had put on the back burner for the last 4 years while I was focused on building my business.

Recently, while I was laying around holding the couch down  (yes…in my living room where Mr. Right still has not magically appeared) going in and out of consciousness while watching too much OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), I thought to myself, perhaps Mr. Wonderful hasn’t appeared because I’ve been blocking myself.  Maybe I need to make myself clear on what I am willing to commit to?  So, I began to write my vows as I see them now.  This is a very rough draft and, when Mr. Wonderful jumps into my life, we can clarify these together.


1.  I vow to make our relationship my top priority after my relationship with myself.  (After all, if I am not clear for myself, how can I be available to truly contribute to the relationship?)

2.  I vow to do my absolute best to be truthful with myself and my feelings so that I can be truthful with you.

3.  I vow to do my best to communicate my expectations and needs so that you have an opportunity to meet them.

4.  I vow to do my best in asking you about and meeting your needs and expectations, and to support you so that you always feel loved and that I’ve got your backside.

5.  I vow to do my best to be there to simply listen, be understanding, and compassionate to where you are and what you need in that moment rather than offer-up my knowledge and wisdom to solve a problem you are not looking to have solved.

6.  I vow to do my best to not judge you or fight to be right.  (And not keep score.)

7.  I vow to do my best to respect you and honor your wishes, even when I may disagree.

8.  I vow to do my best to take ownership of my own happiness and don’t expect you to carry the burden or responsibility of making me happy.

9.  I vow to do my best to be positive & grateful and celebrate things big and small with you.

10.  I vow to love you in the best way I know how and in the ways that make you feel loved.


Has this got you thinking?

What do you vow?

Be bold….share your marriage wisdom with others, or your own vows in the comments below!

Or, simply share this link with a friend…

Conscious Dating for Singles

The more I coach my clients, the more it becomes evident to me that everything we do in life boils down to our emotions (whether or not we are conscious of them and how we navigate them) and our relationships (whether or not we are making conscious choices in our relationships too).

So it was no coincidence when I won the book, Conscious Dating, at a coaching conference I attended in June.  When I opened the book and began reading its contents, it made so much sense to me.  It was a book that would have been incredibly fantastic to have in my twenties when I was learning about myself and what I wanted/didn’t want in a relationship.  In fact, I enjoyed the information in this book so much that I decided to become a Relationship Coach for Singles.  Part of the certification process for this means that I have to experience the program just as my clients would, and coach my clients through the same exercises  I have experienced, which includes:

1.  Relationship Readiness Assessment
2.  Getting clear about the various areas of my life and what areas I would like to improve upon
3.  Uncovering my beliefs and self-limiting beliefs about myself, dating, and relationships, and how to eliminate the negative ones.
4.  Creating a Life Purpose and Life Vision for my life including what I want to Do, Be, and Have.
5.  Uncovering my relationship history and patterns
6.  Understanding what I have to offer to my ideal relationship and where I might need to step up to the plate!
7.  Determine my relationship Requirements (non-negotiable), Needs (can compromise), and Wants (would be nice to have).
8.  Screening, sorting, and testing potential candidates to see if they meet my Requirements, Needs, and Wants.
9.  Deciding what my boundaries are when dating and the different types or levels of relationship I am ready for.

The program was perfectly aligned with my value of walking the walk so that I can talk the talk!  If you are single and wish you had some of these tools to navigate the increasingly frustrating dating scene then check out the New Conscious Dating Program LifeQuest Alliance is offering!  It is perfect for the single who is ready to do something radically different!