Selecting a Personal Development Coach
by Sheila Julson
In 2016, the International Coach Federation, the largest professional coaching organization in the United States, reported that the number of worldwide coaches has grown to 53,300—up from 47,500 in 2012. As more people seek coaching services as a solution to getting unstuck in life and unlocking his or her potential, how does one choose a personal coach? Natural Awakenings caught up with four coaches in the Austin area to talk about their coaching styles and get advice for those seeking coaching services.
Jenna Opperman, of Such Wild Becoming Coaching, offers Co-Active, or personal coaching, which covers all aspects of life. Her background in teaching and therapy gives her the tools to specialize in trauma-informed coaching. “Typically, my clients are experiencing some powerful life transitions, such as an illness or a death in family,” she says.
Opperman’s coaching style isn’t ‘rah-rah’ motivational, but forward thinking, encouraging clients to consider where they are now, and what they are experiencing emotionally and physically. She incorporates mindfulness and vision work into her coaching. She notes that unlike counseling/therapy, in which clients are always looking in the rearview mirror reflecting on past events, coaching is forward motivated. “You’re looking out the front window while the coach asks vital questions about where you would like to go, and how to get there,” she explains.
Opperman offers complimentary 20-minute chemistry sessions to potential clients to see if they are a good match for one another. She encourages people searching for a coach to ask if they feel heard by the coach; if the coach is accurately mirroring what the client is saying; and if the coach has something unique to offer. “It’s like dating,” Opperman says. “You could go on 100 first dates and only connect with one or two people—and that’s okay. It’s important that you are also asking questions of your coach, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.”
Such Wild Becoming Coaching
As a registered nurse of 50 years, Heather Joyce Wolfe blends her background in health care, along with spiritual and energy work, to offer Polarity Therapy through her coaching service, Back to Source. Her whole body healing and coaching focuses on the body, mind and spirit. Wolfe, who was born and raised in Ireland, combines a spiritual Celtic background, traditional coach training, and a sense of humor to help her clients find what they’re looking for in life.
“Everybody finds their own path through Polarity Therapy,” Wolfe says. “Polarity has a spiritual component, and that’s what makes my coaching a little different.” She works primarily with women and offers individual or group sessions. Wolfe’s sessions last approximately two hours, in which she incorporates a nutritional assessment, consultation and energy healing such as CranioSacral therapy, quantum touch, sound healing and qigong. She believes in giving clients freedom and choice throughout the coach-client relationship.
When searching for a coach, Wolfe encourages people to ask themselves what they really want, what needs healing, and what their personal goals are. Because coaching is not covered by insurance plans, Wolfe notes it’s also important for people to consider how much time and money they’re able and willing to commit. “And also, choose a person you feel drawn to,” she emphasizes. “We have an inner compass, so ask questions and research websites to see what resonates.”
Back to Source
Noelle Davis, of Brave New Love Coaching, is a relationship coach certified in Conscious Uncoupling. She helps professionals that are struggling with letting go and moving forward from a painful breakup or divorce. “Conscious Uncoupling is a method that helps you do just that,” Davis says. “It helps you become free emotionally, and to create healthy closure so you are at peace in your heart and mind and open to finding new happiness in love. It’s sort of a map, and I’m the guide to moving from grieving to happiness.” Davis is also a Calling in “The One” Coach and Facilitator, in which she guides singles on how to become magnetic to a loving partner.
Davis helps clients use their pain as a catalyst for waking up out of old disempowering patterns and beliefs, and becoming more mature, wise and empowered individuals. “I’m here to help my clients learn to respond to life in ways that are generative of the exciting future they are committed to creating,” she affirms.
Coaching is very future-focused, Davis explains, with an emphasis on inquiry, goal setting and planning, and coaches take on the role of being a good accountability partner. “Choosing a coach is an important decision, and you really want to resonate with the person,” she advises. “Are they listening to you? Do they understand your needs and desires? Do they have the skills to partner with you in closing the gap to where you want to be? Those are all things to consider.”
Brave New Love Coaching
Kristi Farmer is a Certified Teacher Practitioner for Marconic Ascension Energy, which is a multidimensional energy healing modality. As a Marconic Ascension Guide, she specializes in supporting transformation during chaotic times by helping clients work through clearing deep patterns of old constructs that can keep them feeling trapped. She provides tools to support clients through their pain and suffering, while bringing forth clarity through pure connection that can help them find the momentum to discover all that they need to create from within.
“As we align with our truth and open to our pure state of intuitive connection to our higher selves, we can access all that we are. Intuition is our guiding system, and we all have one,” explains Farmer, who works to bring forth and activate what is within each individual through pure connection and awareness. “I stream from my higher self and offer a ‘protected container’ that allows for whatever topic to be met with both of our higher guided aspects in connection with pure source energy.”
Because everyone is at different points in their journeys, Farmer emphasizes that the only ingredient needed when searching for a personal or life coach is readiness and an open heart, which can unlock unlimited possibilities.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.