‘The Waltons’: One Star is a ‘Life Coach’ Today, Explained What Her Job is Like

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

“The Waltons” always taught family values and kernels of wisdom for life. But one of the cast members later grew up to become a life coach.

Mary McDonough played Erin Walton on “The Waltons” from 1972 until 1981. But after the show ended, McDonough found a second career as a life coach. In an interview with the Hallmark Channel in 2014, McDonough discussed her career and how she helps others.

“So now today I’m a certified life coach and I work with people all the time about their goals, about their dreams, about being fulfilled, and having balance in their lives,” McDonough said.

So what exactly is a life coach? McDonough explained how the profession differs from that of a therapist. For one, a life coach doesn’t try to fix a person’s life. But instead, they help their clients focus on and pursue certain goals and dreams. “The Waltons” star compared it to a sports coach, minus probably the inspirational half-time speeches.

“The fundamental difference is we don’t deal with the past as much,” she continued. “We address it. It’s very therapeutic but it’s not therapy. We focus on what you want, and I never tell my clients what they should do. You have all the answers and you’re not broken. So the coaching doesn’t fix you, it just helps you find your answers. You have a coach like you would with someone at the gym. You have a coach to work with on your life, what matters to you, and we go forward.”

‘The Waltons’ Star Was Inspired by Issues

Mary McDonough was inspired by issues she experienced on “The Waltons” set. The child of a crew member used to bully the actor and also make her feel inferior. That created insecurities within McDonough that she spent years resolving.

“I was ten and horrified and I took it into my heart and I thought ‘Oh no. oh no. all of the kids know how to do this and I don’t and there’s something wrong with me’ and it just fed into my sense of trying to be perfect, and I never told anybody,” she said.

“But all of those problems she faced in her youth eventually led her to her current career path. McDonough even took some of those old fashion lessons the show taught to heart and decided she wanted to help others.”

“Having grown up and working through all these different issues, don’t get me wrong growing up on the show was a great gift as well. But I just personalized them and tried to strive for perfection and tried to be pretty. And through all the issues I went through, it really informed who I became as a person. Not only the stories from the show but also about helping people.”